Showing posts with label Dhaulagiri. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dhaulagiri. Show all posts

Himalaya Spring 2017: First Summits of the Season, Fixing Ropes on Everest, and Ueli Laid to Rest

It continues to be a busy time in the Himalaya, where teams are now squarely focused on finishing up their acclimatization efforts and planning summit bids. While it will likely be another week or so before the push gets underway on Everest, elsewhere in Nepal the first 8000 meter summits of the year have been recorded, even as plans are in place to finish fixing ropes on the highest mountain on the planet.

Last Sunday, five climbers managed to top out on Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world at 8167 meters (26,794 ft.). That team consisted of Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Nga Tashi Sherpa, Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, Liu Yong Zhong and Dong Hong Juan, all of whom stood on top at 12:20 PM local time on April 30. The weather was reportedly good, and other teams on that mountain are now preparing to follow suit, including Spaniard Carlos Soria, who is looking to bag his 13th 8000-meter peak.

On Everest, the rope fixing team has headed back up the mountain and now plans to complete its work tomorrow, May 6. That means that the route will be complete all the way to the summit, allowing the commercial teams to finally launch their summit bids. Ultimately, it will be the weather that decides when that happens, with the earliest window looking like it could come sometime next week. Meanwhile, another rope fixing team is looking to complete its work on Lhotse on May 8 or 9 as well, clearing the way for teams heading up that mountain too. Once this job is done, we'll definitely be in the calm before the storm, as once the weather clears for a long enough period, the rush to the top will truly be under way.

Finally, The Himalayan Times is reporting that Ueli Steck was laid to rest in the Khumbu Region of Nepal yesterday. The remains of the climber, who perished in a tragic accident earlier in the week, were taken to Tengboche monastery where they were cremated. At least nine Buddhist monks oversaw the proceedings, which included a sermon that lasted for three hours prior to completing the ceremony.

In addition to the monks, Ueli's wife Nicole was present, as were his parents, and several close friends. Only those who were part of this close circle were allowed to participate and visit the scene where he was finally laid to rest. A second ceremony will be held in Switzerland for friends and family, as well as the general public, as well.

That's all for today. Next week should be an interesting one for the teams. It looks like the summit season should be upon us at long last.

Himalaya Spring 2017: ExWeb Provides Yet More Expeditions of Note

Yesterday I posted an article sharing some of the more interesting expeditions that will be taking place in the Himalaya this season, most notably on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. Later in the day I also shared the reveal of the Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition that will send Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger on an epic high-altidue odyssey unlike anything that has ever been done before. Today, we have another list of interesting climbs set for this spring courtesy of Explorer's Web.

ExWeb's round up includes some of the expeditions that I've already posted about, including Ueli Steck's ambitious Everest-Lhotse Traverse. But, it also includes brief looks at a lot more projects that I haven't mentioned yet. For instance, the article has an overview of everyone who is attempting Everest without bottled oxygen this year, including names like Ralf Dujmovits, Ferran Latore, Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards. Ballinger and Richards are back once again to share their antics on social media, which was closely followed last season as well. The article also mentions that Nobukazu Kuriki will be back on Everest this spring as well, this time making an attempt on the North Side without O's. Kuriki is famous for his solo attempts on Everest in the fall where he has sometimes run into trouble in the past.

The story also mentions that Min Bahadur will be back on Everest this spring as well as he looks to set a new record for the oldest person to summit the mountain. If successful, he'll have reached the top at the ripe-young age of 85.

Elsewhere, Peter Hamor is looking for his 14th – and final – 8000 meter peak without supplemental oxygen as he takes on Dhaulagiri this spring. Carlos Soria will also be on that mountain searching for his 13th eight-thousander at the age of 78. They'll be joined by several other teams as well. Italian climbers Nives Meroi and Romano Benet are returning to the Himalaya too. They're already Base Camp on Annapurna and looking to nab their final 8000-meter mountain as well.

Finally, a four-person team made of Polish climbers is already in pace on Makalu and making steady progress. According to ExWeb they reached Camp 1 at 6400 meters (20,997 ft) on April 4. The plan is to acclimatize and summit that mountain first before moving over to Lhotse later in the season.

As you can see, we'll have plenty of action to follow all spring long. There are probably even a few big expeditions that have yet to be revealed. One thing is for sure, it'll certainly be an interesting season as usual.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Kuriki Retreats – for Now

I'm hours away from getting on a plane for Spain, but before I set out I wanted to post one more quick update on the progress of Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki. Yesterday, when we checked in he had reached his high camp on Everest and was preparing to make a summit bid today. But now, we've learned that he has turned back and is descending the mountain, although he isn't quite ready to go home just yet.

Apparently, Nobu reached as high as 7400 meters (24,278 ft) before turning back. He was feeling strong and ready for the challenge of topping out on the world's highest peak, but encountered deep snow along the route that made it very difficult to make any progress. Exhausted from his efforts, he decided to turn back, and is now safely back down to 5800 meters (19,028 ft) and will descend back to ABC after he has rested there.

According to his Facebook page, Kuriki isn't giving up on his dream of a solo summit without oxygen however. He'll now rest up and regain his strength, while waiting for another solid weather window. After that, he'll weigh his options and hopefully have another go at the summit. That is likely to take place sometime next week at the earliest. Thankfully, he is said to be in good health, feeling strong, and in positive spirits. Perhaps we'll see him stand on top yet this season.

Finally, we do have an update from the Altitude Junkies today as well. After encountering heavy snow on the summit push last week, the team pulled the plug on their expedition and have now returned to Kathmandu. The group had hoped to summit on October 1, but a surprise storm dumped a meter of snow on the mountain, creating unstable conditions. After assessing the danger of avalanches, the team decided that it was in the best interest and safety of everyone if they left the mountain. Helicopters picked them up a few days back and with the entire squad now safe in the Nepali capital, they're all preparing to head home.

That's it for now. I'll keep an eye on any developments while I'm away. More updates soon.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Japanese Climber Begins Solo Summit Bid on Everest

While most of the big commercial teams are now winding down their expeditions for the autumn in the Himalaya, there are still some very interesting climbs to that are still ongoing. Not the least of these is Nobukazu Kuriki's attempt at a solo – without oxygen no less – along the North Side of Everest. Yesterday, we received word that the Japanese alpinist has now set off on his attempt at the summit, a place that has eluded him on five separate occasions in the past.

According to Kuriki's support team, he will climb along the Hornbein Couloir route in his attempt to reach the summit. There is some speculation that he will make that approach along what is known as the Supercouloir Route, which is a combination of a route opened by a Japanese team back in 1980 and the Hornbein. If all goes according to plan, he should potentially top out sometime in the next couple of days.

Kuriki himself has been updating his Facebook page with updates as he goes. His most recent post indicates that he has reached his high camp and will set off for the summit possibly late Friday or early Saturday morning local Nepali time. Weather conditions are reportedly quite good, and while there has been a lot of snow deposited along the route, Nobu appears to be making good time on his way up.

If you are familiar with Kuriki's previous attempts on Everest, you probably already know what a successful summit would mean to him. As already mentioned, he has made five previous attempts at a solo summit on the mountain, one of which ended in disaster. In 2012, the Japanese climber became stranded high on the South Side in Nepal, and had to be helped down by a rescue team. While he was stuck at altitude, he suffered severe frostbite to his fingers and toes. He ended up having nine of his fingers amputated, and yet he continues to return to the mountain on a regular basis to test his strength and determination. Hopefully this time his efforts will pay off. Hopefully he'll also get up and down safely.

Over on Dhaulagiri we're still waiting on word from the Altitude Junkies about their plans. The team has hoped to summit that mountain this past weekend, but turned back after finding unexpectedly deep snow at Camp 2. They had returned to Base Camp, where they were pondering their next move, but since that time there has been now word on their decision. It is possible they are waiting out the weather and hoping to launch another summit attempt in the next few days, but they could also be preparing to clean up BC and head home. For now, we'll just have to wait to see what happens.

That's it for today. I'll be keeping a close eye on Kuriki's progress and will post updates as we hear more.

Himalaya Fall 2016: More Summits on Cho Oyu and Manaslu, a Double Summit, and Death on Shisha

As expected, there was a lot of news out of the Himalaya this past weekend, where good weather allowed a number of teams to summit their respective mountains. It now appears as if most of the commercial teams are winding down their activities, and it has been a very successful couple of days.

We'll start on Manaslu, where The Himalayan Times now reports that 150 climbers summited over a two day period. 100 of those topped out last Friday, while another 50 completed their climbs on Saturday. Amongst them were the Seven Summit Treks team, which has the largest squad on the mountain this autumn. No small feat considered there were 17 total teams there this year. By all accounts, it was a well scheduled and orderly ascent and descent, with most of the teams now back in Base Camp and preparing to head back to Kathmandu.

Over on Cho Oyu we already knew that the Adventure Consultants had topped out at the end of last week, and the IMG team wasn't far behind. They summited yesterday, putting another 19 climbers on top, and bringing the total close to 40 on the Tibetan side of the mountain. The Adventure Consultants are packed and heading out for KTM today, but the IMG squad will likely rest a bit in BC and begin heading for home later this week.

Speaking of Cho Oyu, one climber performed an impressive feat on that mountain this weekend. Australian Rolfe Oostra managed to summit last Friday, then return to the top again the following day, pulling off a rare double-summit of the 6th highest peak on the planet. An experienced mountain guide, Oostra first went up the peak with two of his staff members, then guided two clients up the following day. That is quite a display of strength and fortitude to say the least.

The news wasn't quite so good on Dhaulagiri. After a few days of radio silence, the Altitude Junkies checked in over the weekend to report that they had aborted their summit bid. The plan was to top out on October 1, but once they reached Camp 1 they discovered very deep snow along the route. In fact, it was roughly a meter (3 ft) deep in parts, making it very tough going. The team has now returned to BC and is discussing what to do next. With more snow in the forecast, the expedition could be over without an opportunity to summit. We'll learn more soon.

Finally, some sad news from Shishapangma, where the Times is reporting that a Sherpa named Pemba who was climbing with the RMI team was struck and killed by an avalanche. The accident took place just below Camp 3 on the mountain as the Sherpa team was moving up with gear and supplies. No one else was injured, and all are safely back in BC at the moment. Our condolences to Pemba's friends and family.

That's all for today. More news as it warranted.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Summits Cho Oyu and Manaslu, Himex Cancels Expedition

As expected, the end of the week has brought a flurry of activity to the Himalaya, where the fall climbing season continues to unfold at a busy pace. A few days back poor weather conditions had stalled out most summit attempts, but just a few days later a number of teams are now finding success, with more to follow suit soon.

We'll start with news from Manaslu, where The Himalayan Times reports that at least 60 people topped out today. Of those, 25 are said to be foreign climbers while the remaining 35 are Sherpas and guides. The Seven Summit Treks squad is one of the teams that is operating on that mountain at the moment, and their latest update indicates that more than 80 climbers from their group alone have topped out today amidst good weather. With more than 151 climbers issued permits for Manaslu this fall, others are sure to follow.

Sadly, the Himex team will not be amongst them. Expedition leader Russel Brice made the move to cancel the entire expedition two days back after the team was turned around between Camp 3 and 4 due to very deep snow along the route. With a narrow weather window only open today and tomorrow, he felt that it was too risky to go for the summit, especially since there were several avalanches taking place over the course of the past few days. The entire squad will depart for Kathmandu tomorrow.

Over on Cho Oyu the Adventure Consultants report a successful summit bid as well. Heavy snow on that mountain caused several teams to turn back from C3 yesterday, but three members of the AC team – including two Sherpas – waited in Camp 2, then went directly for the summit from there. They report absolute calm and quiet on top of the mountain, which has emboldened several other members of the group to make a second summit bid later today.

Other teams on Cho Oyu have been waiting out the weather. For instance, the IMG squad says that they "pumped the breaks" on a summit bid with their clients waiting at Camp 1. Reports of sketchy conditions between C2 and C3 have slowed progress for now, but with the news that things are improving, they'll likely be back on the move today as well. Look for more summits over the weekend.

It has been a few days since the Altitude Junkies posted any news from Dhaulagiri, but that might be a good thing. The last we heard, the weather was dicey but a summit window was expected to open at the end of the week, giving them safe access to the top. If all goes according to plan, the team should summit tomorrow. Look for an update after that.

That's all for now. More news soon.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Summit Pushes Begin, No Liaison Officers on Manaslu, Climber Missing After Avalanche

As the fall climbing season continues to unfold in the Himalaya, there isn't a lot of new news to report today, although what we do have is certainly interesting. As the weather improves, teams are about to go back on the move with summits in sight, while we also learn that the more things change in Nepal, the more they stay the same.

First off, now that the weather forecast has begun to improve teams on both Cho Oyu and Dhaulagiri are gearing up for their summit bids. Earlier today, the Adventure Consultants launched their push to the top of Cho Oyu and safely arrived at Camp 1 where they were enjoying a break and airing out their gear in preparation for heading to C2 tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Altitude Junkies – the only team on Dhaulagiri – has announced their schedule as well. The team will leave Base Camp for C1 tomorrow with an eye on topping out on Saturday, October 1 weather permitting.

Other teams are no doubt getting ready to do the same on Manaslu and Shishapangma too. I'll be keeping a close eye on their progress to see how things unfold.

Meanwhile, we have another story from The Himalayan Times that remind us once again just how inept the Nepali government truly is. As you may or may not know, all climbing expeditions that take place in that country are assigned a liaison officer with them that serves as a regulatory advisor and a communications conduit to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. This is a role that should be taken very seriously, as the "LO" is expected to play a part in organizing rescue operations and coordinating with medical and search and rescue staff back in Kathmandu. Unfortunately, in the past most LO's never bother to go to Base Camp with their expeditions, who are charged a fee that pays for his services.

Historically speaking, most expeditions to the big mountains never even see their liaison officer at all. This became a major issue on Everest in 2014 and 2015 when massive avalanches claimed the lives of 16 and 22 people respectively. The lack of LO's in BC made it more challenging to coordinate search and rescue operations, and helped to expose this problem, which had been a well-known secret in mountaineering circles for a very long time.

You would think that in the wake of those two disasters on Everest that things would change, but apparently that hasn't been the case. In the Times article linked to above, it is reported that none of the 18 liaison officers assigned to Manaslu this year have reported to Base Camp. Yep, that's right. There are currently 18 teams on the mountain with 151 clients and an additional 209 guides, porters, and BC staff. But there are zero liaison officers there.

It should be noted that each of those teams was charged $2000 to pay for an LO to be in camp, and yet they still aren't there. Nepal has a lot of work to do in terms of cleaning up its reputation and promoting mountaineering within its borders, but just getting its assigned staff to report for duty, and enforcing the regulations that it has set in place would be a good start. God forbid another accident would occur on Manaslu this year and there wouldn't be a single LO there to help lend a hand. Lets hope it doesn't come to that, and lets hope that the Ministry of Tourism gets its act together soon.

Finally, there is sad news from Himlung Himal, a 7126 meter (23,379 ft) mountain in western Nepal. Earlier today it was announced that a climber is missing following an avalanche on that peak. Mingmar Sherpa was working with a small team that is attempting to climb the mountain when he group was hit by a small, but powerful avalanche that caused minor injuries to the others, and left him missing.

At this time, Mingmar Sherpa's fate is unknown, but it is likely that he was knocked down the mountain and lost his life in the process. Search efforts are still underway however, with teams concentrating on the area between Camp 1 and 2, as that is were the expedition was when the avalanche hit. Hopefully this will have a happy ending, but it seldom does in these cases.

That's all for today. More soon.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Bad Weather Delays Summit Bids, Sad News From Manaslu

When last we checked in with the big commercial teams in the Himalaya this fall most were in the process of wrapping up their acclimatization efforts and had started planning their summit bids. Some were even expected to top out on their respective mountains by the end of last week. But as usual, mother nature had other plans, with bad weather hitting the region and delaying any attempts to reach summit on several of the big peaks. But, the forecast calls for improved conditions in the days ahead, and details are starting to emerge on a new schedule.

Over on Cho Oyu, the Adventure Consultants report heavy snow over the past few days. But yesterday, the storm finally broke, and it now appears that they will have five solid days of good weather ahead which should serve as summit window. No word on exactly when they'll depart Base Camp, but it would seem that the team is ready to go and may leave as early as today. That means they should reach the summit over the next few days provided the forecast is accurate and the weather holds. The entire squad is rested, acclimatized and ready to go.

On Manaslu, the teams have pretty much wrapped up their acclimatization rotations and are now preparing to summit as well. That includes the Seven Summits Trek squad and the contingent of Himex climbers too. Interestingly enough, it appears that the teams haven't finished fixing ropes to Camp 4 yet, and there is some dispute over how that process is being handled. Typically, the Himex team – which is amongst the most experienced on the mountain – takes the lead, but with Seven Summits becoming more prominent, their Sherpas have played a role too. Unfortunately, they apparently got lost in whiteout conditions last week and installed ropes to the wrong location – something that has annoyed Himex boss Russel Brice. You can read about that here. Otherwise, the teams seem to be well acclimated and ready to go once the weather improves.

There was some sad news from the Manaslu region last week when it was reported that a landslide claimed the lives of three Nepali citizens and a Spanish traveler trekking in that part of Nepal. Amongst the dead was Dorjee Lama Sherpa, who was a mountain guide that had summited Everest eight times. He also served last the president of the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association as well. My condolences to the friends and family of those who were killed.

The Altitude Junkies have checked in from Dhaulagiri, where they report mostly dry conditions. This has caused some problems of their own, including cracked and melting glaciers and challenges with fixing ropes. The team ordered six ladders to be delivered from Kathmandu, which will allow them to safely cross over large crevasses that have opened up along the route, but until those ladders are put into place, the team can't move forward with any summit plans. Hopefully that will happen soon.

Shishapangma is seeing its usual share of visitors this fall, and progress is being made there as well. High winds forced the RMI team to retreat back to BC a day early however, but otherwise everything is going about as smoothly as possible. No summit bids in sight at the moment though.

Finally,  Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki continues his solo Everest expedition, although there have been few updates. He has been acclimatizing as expected, but heavy snows on Everest are making things difficult. This is his sixth attempt at a solo summit in the fall. Hopefully things will go his way this year.

That's it for now. Expect more news later in the week once summit bids truly get underway. Both Cho Oyu and Manaslu should see teams on top in a few days time.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Manaslu the Most Popular Peak of the Season

The numbers are in for the fall climbing season in Nepal, and Manaslu is far and away the most popular peak in the country. Over the weekend, the Nepali Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation released some statistics for the number of permits issued to foreign climbers, and as usual those numbers share some interesting insights.

According to The Himalayan Times, Nepal has issued 277 climbing permits for the fall. Those permits are spread out over 19 different peaks within the country. Of those 277 climbers, 151 have are attempting Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world at 8163 meters (26,781 ft). For some, it will be a testing ground before moving on to Everest in the future, while others are there to add an 8000-meter peak to their resume. In all, there are 16 teams heading to the mountain this fall.

Sherpa teams have finished installed the fixed ropes up to Camp 3 on Manaslu over the past few days, which means the teams on that mountain – including Seven Summit Treks and Himex – will be wrapping up their acclimatization efforts there soon and will begin thinking about summit bids. That could happen as early as next week. Traditionally, the summit push comes in the final week of September or early October, depending on weather conditions.

The Himalayan Times also reports that Amadablam, Saribung and the Putha Hiuchuli are some of the other peaks that have been issued permits this year as climbers look for other challenges in the region that aren't 8000-meters or taller in height. For instance, 39 climbers have obtained permits for Himlung Himal as well, a peak that is 7126 meters (23,379 ft) in height, and a good introduction to Himalayan climbing.

All told, it seems that Nepali officials are happy and impressed with the number of expeditions that have come to the region this year. In addition to the all of the climbers in Nepal, more than a dozen teams have also traveled to Tibet, most to take on Shishapangma or Cho Oyu. While Everest is seeing very little traffic – just a single climber at the moment – business is good elsewhere.

Speaking of Cho Oyu, the weather has been good over the past couple of days, allowing the Adventure Consultants to climb up to Camp 2 as they continue to acclimate as well. They will return to ABC tomorrow for a brief rest before starting another rotation later in the week. That's where the IMG is currently residing as they prepare to head back up the slopes as well.

Over on Dhaulagiri, the Altitude Junkies also report good weather, with nary a cloud in the sky. That made for warm conditions while scaling the glacier, but it allows them to climb up to Camp 2 over the weekend as well. Their Sherpa teams are hurriedly attempting to fix the ropes, while high altitude porters shuttle gear up to the higher camps. If everything goes as scheduled, and the weather continues to cooperate, they'll make their summit push between September 25-30, wrapping up the season on that mountain.

That's all for today. More news as it comes in. The season is proceeding along as expected, with few major issues so far. There are lot of expeditions that are just getting underway though, so there should be a lot to share int he days ahead.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Commercial Teams Planning Summit Attempts, Nobu Alone on Everest

With Kilian Jornet announcing his departure from Everest yesterday, I felt it was time to take a look around at the other expeditions currently going on in the Himalaya to check the status of their progress. In some cases, teams are already starting to look ahead to summit bids, which could come as early as late next week in some cases.

First off, now that Jornet has left Everest, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki is the only one on that mountain this fall. He reports that he has now climbed up to 7000 meters (22,965 ft) and his acclimatization process is moving along about as well as can be expected. From the reports we've heard from the mountain, that won't be the challenge for him this year. Instead, it will be the deep snow that seems to be piling up on Tibet's North Side. Kilian mentioned the heavy snows as the main reason for his departure from the mountain, but for Nobu it is just another challenge to overcome as he attempts to climb solo, unsupported, and in alpine style without oxygen. For now, he'll just have to continue acclimating and waiting for his opportunity to push higher.

Alan Arnette is reporting that two climbers are taking an interesting approach to attempting a summit on Cho Oyu. Adrian Ballinger, who owns Alpenglow Expeditions, and his partner Emily Harrington are currently training in Tahoe, and are sleeping in altitude tents as they acclimatize as much as possible before they head to the Himalaya. Once they've wrapped up their preparation, they'll head to Tibet and try to climb the mountain in just two weeks total time. This holds true with the company's philosophy for climbing faster by preparing more ahead of time, which is used on other peaks too. A strategy that has come under fire from mountaineering purists from time to time.

Speaking of Cho Oyu, that continue to be a popular mountain this fall. There are currently no less than six commercial teams there, Base Camp has been a bit crowded this season. Most of those squads have now wrapped up their first round of rotations, with the next coming in a few days when they'll move up the slope to Camp 2.

On Manaslu, the Seven Summits Treks Team is proceeding on a quick schedule. The team is currently in the process of wrapping up its final acclimatization rotation after spending the night at C3. Sherpas from that team are working on fixing ropes to the top, and the large group of clients they brought with them are now preparing for a summit push. It has been rainy on the mountain, but there hasn't been a lot of snow. That bodes well for a potential weather window in another week or so.

Over on Dhaulagiri, the Altitude Junkies have started their acclimatization with a move up to Camp 1. They report several days of rain, but good weather moving into the picture now. Their Sherpa teams are now fixing ropes between C2 and C3, which they hope to wrap up in the next day or two. The team is feeling good, and are now eyeing a summit push on Sept. 25 or 26 depending on weather and wind conditions.

An RMI-led expedition reported to BC on Shishpangma a few days back, after driving to the mountain. They have already moved up to Camp 1, where they are finding conditions on the mountain to be quite good at this stage. It is early in the acclimatization process, but everything looks good so far.

As you can see, it is getting to be quite a busy season in the Himalaya. While not much is happening on Everest, there is a lot going on around the rest of the region. Of course, none of the big commercial teams are trying anything new this year, there are some smaller squads who will be pushing the envelope on some unclimbed peaks. We'll be keeping an eye on those expeditions moving forward too, and bring updates on the entire season as it unfolds. Stay tuned.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Kilian Jornet Updates His Progress on Everest

There is no doubt that the expedition that most people are following closely in the Himalaya this fall is Kilian Jornet's attempt to set a new speed record on Mt. Everest. The Spanish ultra-runner left his home for the North Side of the mountain a few weeks back, and while we know that he has been busy working on his acclimatization process in preparation for an eventual crack at the summit, there has been very little word on his progress. But late last week we finally got an update, and while it is brief, it does provide some insight into what is happening at the moment.

Last Thursday, Kilian posted the following message to his Summits of My Life Facebook page. It appears to be a screenshot of a text message sent by phone to his support team that is keeping all of us updated on his current progress. The message reads in Spanish: 
"Bones!! Info Everest: Estem sqguint amb l'aclimatacio. Esta tot molt carregat de neu, xo tot ok!"
Which roughly translates to:
"Good !! Everest Info: We are continuing with acclimatization. This all heavily loaded with snow, x all ok!" 
This small dispatch tells us quite a bit surprisingly enough. For instance, it reaffirms what we already knew that Kilian is proceeding with his acclimatization, which could potentially take another couple of weeks to complete. But, it also tells us a bit about the conditions on the mountain, as it sounds like there is quite a bit of snow there already this fall. That could have a dramatic impact on his eventual attempt at the speed record, although weather conditions can change rapidly, potentially clearing some of that snow out of his way.

While that isn't a lot to go on, it is about the only update we've had over the past couple of weeks, so it is nice to hear something. Hopefully we'll learn more about Kilian's progress and potential schedule soon.

Meanwhile, over on Cho Oyu the Adventure Consultants report that they held their puja ceremony today. This is a ritual during which a Buddhist Lama visits Base Camp and performs a ritual that not only asks permission from the mountain to allow the climbers to go up its slopes, but blesses those climbers and their gear to help keep them safe. Himalayan tradition states that the puja be performed prior to the start of actual climbing operations, so with this detail out of the way, the team will make its first foray up the slopes towards Camp 1 tomorrow.

The Altitude Junkies have checked in from Dhaulagiri, where they arrived in BC last Thursday. If everything has gone according to plan, they should have held their puja today as well, and will now begin fixing the ropes up the slopes. The most recent dispatch from the team says that they will be attempting a different route for that part of the climb due to the dry conditions there. Reportedly, the weather has been very good so far, with just light rain in the evenings. The AJ squad is the only one on the mountain so far, and they report that their BGAN Internet station is not working properly, so updates may be short and sporadic for the length of the expedition.

Finally, the Seven Summits Trek team departed Kathmandu and began their trek to BC on Manaslu yesterday. The expedition's dispatches indicate that the group of Sherpas charged with fixing ropes to the summit are already on the mountain, and should have the route set up to Camp 3 before the climbers arrive.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Season in Full Swing as Teams Move to Manaslu, Cho Oyu, and Lhotse

The fall climbing season in the Himalaya is now full steam ahead as teams continue to gather in Kathmandu and make their way out to their respective mountains. We have already discussed Kilian Jornet's speed record attempt on Everest multiple times and checked in with Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki a couple of times as well. Both of those men should now be in Base Camp on the North Side of the mountain, and have started their acclimatization process as well. But elsewhere in the region other teams are getting settled too, and now it appears that it should be quite an interesting few months in Nepal and Tibet.

On Lhotse, South Korean climber Sung-Taek Hong is back on the mountain for the fourth time in as many years, and his fifth attempt overall. He'll be having a go at Everest's neighbor in the coming weeks as he attempts to go solo and in alpine style to the summit. Last year he made four individual summit pushes, reaching as high as 8200 meters (26,902 ft) but couldn't top out due to poor weather and deep snow on the route. He's hoping to have more luck this year.

Meanwhile, the Base Camp on Cho Oyu is starting to get crowded as commercial teams have arrived there in the past few days. Most of the squads, which include the Adventure Consultants and IMG, are still getting settled as they begin to get acclimatized. Soon, they'll start their first rotations up the mountain as they start to get accustomed to the altitude.

Interestingly enough, climber/journalist Billi Bierling is on Cho Oyu this fall and she reports that the road leading to BC has been extended further into the region. So now, what was once a quiet and peaceful place, has trucks rolling through all night long, causing the setting in camp to be very different. It is likely something the climbers will get use to in time, but for now it is a bit different.

Another popular climbing destination this fall is Manaslu, where the commercial teams started to arrive more than a week ago. It is a very crowded Base Camp as Alan Arnette reports that the Seven Summits Treks squad is more than 130 people, while large western guide company Himex is also there as well. Alan says that the most successful year on the mountain came back in 2011, when there were 140 total summits. This year, one company nearly has that many clients alone.

Cho Oyu and Manaslu are both very popular warm-up climbs for Everest. They are both fairly straight forward climbs for an 8000 meter peak, and are considered good places to get experience before going higher. Some of the climbers that are on these two peaks right now will almost certainly return to the Himalaya in the spring to have a go at Everest too.

The Altitude Junkies are now en route to Dhaulagiri, where it appears they'll be the only team on the mountain this fall. Flight delays and logistical challenges have caused a bit of a later start, but all is good and everyone has started the acclimatization process while driving to BC. They should get there in another couple of days.

That's it for today. We'll have more updates as the teams continue to get settled and the climbing operations begin.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Busy Season Ahead in Nepal

It looks like the fall climbing season in Nepal will be a busy one. After seeing a resurgence of climbers on Everest and other 8000 meter peaks this past spring, it now appears that the trend will continue with a slate of climbs scheduled for the fall as well. And with the official start of the season just a few days away, scores of mountaineers are now arriving in country.

According to this story from The Himalayan Times Manaslu will be the favorite target for the climbing teams this autumn. About 100 foreign climbers have received permits to attempt the 8163 meter (26,781 ft) peak, with the first 40 mountaineers departing from Kathmandu yesterday. They'll spend a few days trekking before reaching Base Camp, but should get there sometime late next week, just as the fall season – which traditionally runs from September to November – starts to get underway.

Other mountains that will be seeing some traffic this fall include Dhaulagiri and Lhotse, as well as non-8000 meter peaks Ama Dablam, Himlung and Putha Hiuchuli. Those mountains won't have nearly as many men and women on their slopes however, as Manaslu remains the big draw.

As has become typical for this time of year, there are no reported attempts on Everest from the South Side at this time. That could change as more climbers apply for their permits, but as of now Spanish ultrarunner Kilian Jornet and Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki are the only ones who will challenge the world's highest peak this season. Both will make their ascent from the North Side.

According to the story from the Times, some of these groups will be quite large. For instance, Seven Summits Treks will lead four groups consisting of 60 climbers on Manaslu themselves, which may be as much as half of the number of foreign climbers heading to Nepal this autumn.

Following the tragic earthquake last spring, it was good to see mountaineers returning to Nepal this year. By most accounts, the spring climbing season was a highly successful one, and the fall looks to continue that success. Of course, all of these expeditions employ Sherpa guides and high altitude porters, which brings much needed cash to the economy of Nepal as well. We'll of course be keeping a close eye on the proceedings there, and will report any news moving forward.

Gadd luck to everyone heading into the mountains. Stay safe!

Himalaya Spring 2016: 200 Climbers Head For Everest Summit

While we've seen a steady string of summits on Everest over the past week, today looks like it will be the busies day of the season by far. According to reports, more than 200 climbers are now on the move with the intention of topping out today. That means we can expect long lines and traffic jams at key points of the mountain, but with the weather reported very good, it should be an incredibly successful day on the world's highest peak. 

The Himalayan Times reports in the link above that more than 150 climbers have already been successful in their bids to top out on Everest, with a number of others still pushing to the summit. Their number indicate that 41 foreign climbers and 58 Nepali guides had gone up yesterday, with another 87 foreigners and 110 Nepalis setting their sites on the summit today. After two years of no summits on the mountain, it is safe to say that Everest is back open for business.

No matter how many people summit today, it won't bring an end to the steady stream of climbers that are on the move. More teams have now moving up to Camp 3 and Camp 4 as they get ready to make their final summit push over the next couple of days. 

Meanwhile, on the North Side of the mountain the teams are moving up to take advantage of the current weather window as well. They are still waiting for the ropes to be fixed to the summit, which hopefully will be done today, allowing teams to go to the top at long last.

Sad news from Lhotse as well today, where it was revealed that a Sherpa guide has fallen to his death. Reportedly he was part of the team that was working to fix ropes to the summit on that mountain, and slipped and fell above Camp 2. The guide was helping to take a seven-member commercial squad to the summit at the time. Our condolences to the Sherpa's friends and family. 

Over on Dhaulagiri, Chris Jensen Burke checked in with the news that her expedition to that mountain is now over. After successfully summiting Annapurna a few weeks back, the Aussie climber had hoped to pull off a Himalayan double-header this season, but alas it wasn't meant to be. After making a summit bid earlier in the week, climbers there were turned back by high winds and deep snow near the top. She'll now head home, even as other teams move into place for possible summits over the next few days. 

Elsewhere in the Himalaya other teams are on the move too. With good weather conditions across the region, it now looks like the current summit window is one that numerous teams will take advantage of. The monsoon is looming near the end of May, but for now, things are calm and safe. Hopefully they'll stay that way as all of the teams get up and down their respective mountains successfully. 

Himalaya Spring 2016: Notable Climbs for the Season Ahead

The 2016 climbing season in the Himalaya is inching ever closer, and by the end of the month scores of mountaineers will begin descending on Kathmandu in anticipation to the start of their expeditions. Many of those climbers will be headed to Everest of course, while others will visit Annapurna, Shishapangma, Makalu, and a variety of other peaks. Most of those climbs will be along well established routes on those mountains, but some will be attempting unique ascents that could be groundbreaking. Here's a rundown of some of the more notable attempts for the season ahead.

One of the more interesting expeditions to keep an eye on this spring will be Ueli Steck and David Göttler's attempt of a new route on Shishapangma. According to ExWeb, they'll be trying a new direct route that Ueli spotted while in Nepal last year. They'll set off at the end of the month.

ExWeb is also reporting that Slovakian climber Peter Hamor, along with Horia Colibasanu, will be attempting an alpine style ascent of Manaslu along a new route after they've finished acclimatizing along the traditional route.

Yesterday on Facebook, popular Everest blogger and accomplished climber Alan Arnette announced that he'll be returning to Lhotse again this spring. Alan's climb on that mountain was cut short last year when the earthquake struck Nepal on April 25. As usual, he'll be climbing in support of the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.

Kilian Jornet is going back to Everest this spring to have another go at the speed record. He'll be climbing from the North Side, and will most likely make a late season attempt, letting all of the traffic get out of the way. Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards will also be on that side of the mountain, with the hopes of potentially making a ski descent as well.

My friend Don Mann will be attempting to summit Everest from the South Side this spring. He'll be climbing to help several charities that support U.S. Navy SEALs and their families, as well as raise awareness of veterans. You can follow his climb with daily updates on Don will leave for Kathmandu in two weeks.

It looks like a number of climbers are already en route to Annapurna to attempt an early season summit on that mountain. This helps to lessen the threat of avalanches on that peak, which is notorious for such problems. The strategy worked well last year, with 13 people reaching the top early in April, more than a month ahead of the schedule for summits on Everest. This year, Carlos Soria, Chris Jensen Burke, Alex Gavan, and Tunç Findik all hope to take advantage of this approach and top out on Annapurna. Soria and Jensen Burke are already in Base Camp on the mountain, while others are still trekking there now. And after he is done here, Carlos plans to head to Dhaulagiri next.

Other interesting climbs include teams returning to Makalu after being shutdown due to the earthquake last year, as well as Spanish climber Juanito Oiarzabel attempting Dhaulagiri. As ExWeb indicates, he became the 6th person to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks back in 1999, but now he's hoping to do them all again. We'll be watching that expedition closely.

This is just a taste of what is to come. Stay tuned for more as we learn about other expeditions taking place in the Himalaya this spring.

Himalaya Fall 2015: It's Over On Everest and Dhaulagiri

The fall 2015 Himalayan climbing season continues to unfold, even while I was off connecting with other outdoor bloggers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. As most of you probably know by now, Nobukazu Kuriki has ended his attempt to scale Mt. Everest, and while he is now heading home, others are still pursuing their summit dreams.

Last week, Japanese climber Kuriki managed to put himself into position to make yet another attempt on scaling the highest peak in the world completely alone and without oxygen. After a slow, and measure ascent, the final push to the top began last Wednesday, October 8. According to his dispatches, Kuriki managed to climb as high 8200 meters (26,902 ft) before turning back. Once again, the weather was not very cooperative, as high winds and deep snow prevented him from moving up the mountain. After turning around, he was back in Base Camp by Friday.

This second attempt on the summit has taken its toll on the Japanese climber. He reported yesterday via Facebook that he has been quite sick over the past few days, and has even struggled to eat. We already knew that this second push would be the last, but that has now been confirmed. Kuriki has taken a helicopter back Kathmandu, and has already returned home to Japan – ending his fifth attempt to climb Everest.

The end of Kuriki's expedition marks a milestone in climbing on Everest. Thanks to the spring earthquake in Nepal, there hasn't been any summits of the mountain at all this year. The last time that happened was back in 1974. Even last year, when the season was interrupted by the loss of 16 porters on the mountain, there were summits from the North Side and a single summit from the South. But this year there have been none. Hopefully, 2016 will prove to be a safer and more successful year.

Meanwhile, another team is also calling it quits on Dhaulagiri as well. French climbers Patrick Wagnon and Yannick Graziani launched their summit bid on that mountain late last week, and had hoped to top out today. But once again weather has kept them from reaching their objective, as Yannick reports 30 cm (11.8 inches) of fresh snow has fallen on the mountain, baking it difficult to progress upwards, and adding to the danger significantly. So, the duo has decided the summit is out of reach this year, and are now descending back to BC before heading home.

ExWeb is reporting that a Korean team is attempting to climb Lhotse this fall. The squad arrived in Kathmandu back on Sept. 21, and had hoped to fly to Lukla on Sept. 23, but had to wait until the 28th due to bad weather. They were then planning on spending 10 days acclimatizing during the trek up the Khumbu Valley before starting their rotations on the mountain. That means that they should be in BC by now, and have camp well established. Considering that the route up Lhotse follows the same path as Everest for much of the way, it'll be interesting to see how they fare.

Finally, Ueli Steck is enjoying his return to the Himalaya. While he waits for climbing partner Colin Hayley to return from the valley following a bout of illness, the Swiss climber has continued with his acclimatization efforts by bagging the North Face of Cholatse. He should be back in BC on Nuptse now however, and hopefully Colin has rejoined him so they can begin the actual expedition they came to Nepal to complete.

That's all for today. I'll keep an eye on these remaining expeditions and post news as it is warranted.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Kuriki Moves Up on Everest, Summit Bid Incoming?

There isn't a lot of new news to report from the Himalaya today, but I did want to post about a couple of ongoing expeditions that are still unfolding there. Most namely, the attempt on Everest by solo-Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki.

Yesterday we knew that Kuriki was moving up the mountain and had reached Camp 3, where he rested for another day before planning to move up to Camp 4 today. According to his website, that is where he should be now, in C4 and preparing for a summit push. The question now is, will that summit push come tomorrow or on Thursday.

According to his plans that were revealed prior to moving up the mountain, the 33-year old climber had intended to reach Camp 4 by Sunday. He then hoped to spend yesterday breaking trail before descending back to C4 for a rest. That means he had originally hoped to be making the attempt on the summit today. Obviously he is now off that schedule, which begs the question of whether or not he has encountered worse than expected conditions, or if he is moving slower than planned.

Either way, we should know within the next day or two whether or not he finds success on the mountain. After today, he'll be in striking distance of the summit, and it will all come down to his physical condition and whether or not the route to the top is safe and accessible. For now, we'll just have to sit tight and wait for more news to break.

Over on Dhaulagiri another expedition is waiting for its chance to summit as well. The team is led by French climber Yannick Graziani, who reports that the squad is currently in Base Camp and watching the weather closely. They are now acclimatized and ready to go, but they'll need a four day window for their summit push. At the moment, they are considering when they should move up from BC to ABC to put themselves in position to launch their summit bid. Right now, there isn't a suitable window in the forecast, but they are watching the skies intently with the hope that they'll get positive news soon. So far, heavy rains and high winds have thwarted their efforts.

Finally, Ueli Steck continues to wait for his climbing mate Colin Haley to recover from illness. The two are preparing to take on the very difficult Babanov route on Nuptse, and while Ueli says he is feeling strong and ready to go, Coin was forced to descend to the Khumbu Valley to recover. Hopefully he'll be back on his feet and ready to go soon.

While the fall climbing season is far from over, most of the commercial squads have now left the Himalaya for the season. Manaslu saw the bulk of their attention this year, and last week numerous teams found major success on that mountain. Now, most have packed up and departed, which means moving forward there won't be as much news to share. The remaining teams are doing very interesting climbs however, so there is still plenty of action to follow.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Lots of Summits on Manaslu, Kuriki in Camp 2 on Everest

It was a banner day on Manaslu yesterday where all of the hard work and patience from the past few weeks has finally paid off. Meanwhile, over on Everest, the second summit push is underway.

According to the Himalayan Times, more than 73 climbers have now summited Manaslu, which is a dramatic leap in numbers since we reported on the first successful summits of the year yesterday. On Wednesday, 15 members of the Seven Summits Treks team topped out in good conditions, and yesterday several more squads followed suit. A total of 58 people reached the top yesterday, of those 38 were foreign climbers while 20 were Sherpas working in support of the commercial teams.

This success comes after a number of large teams – including Altitude Junkies, Adventure Consultants, and Himalayan Experience – abandoned the mountain last weekend when conditions were not quite so conducive to climbing. These summits mark the first success on an 8000 meter peak in Nepal since the earthquake back in April.

Meanwhile, over on Everest the second summit push has started. According to various reports, Nobukazu Kuriki has left Base Camp on the world's highest peak and has started back up the hill. He is expected to reach Camp 2 today and is eyeing a final push to the top next Tuesday, October 6.

Unlike his summit bid last week, the Japanese climbers is going up alone this time. A support crew followed him to C2 on his first attempt, but almost everything he needs for the ascent is already in place. He is climbing without the use of supplemental oxygen, which makes things more challenging at the higher altitudes, but after reaching  7700 meters (25,262 ft) he should be more acclimated to conditions this time around.

Yesterday, Kuriki shared some information about his route on Facebook and it seems he will stay off the Lhotse Face as much as possible to avoid avalanches. Also, when he reaches Camp 4 he intends to spend a day breaking trail, before descending back to his campsite for a rest before heading up to the summit. Hopefully this time conditions will be better and he'll actually get a crack at the top.

Finally, over on Dhaulagiri a team of climbers led by French mountaineer Yannick Graziani is working on their acclimatization rotations, although the weather is once again not being very cooperative. According to a dispatch sent out yesterday, the team reached 6100 meters (20,013 ft) but are now forced to camp on a very small ridge. Hopefully they'll get a chance to climb higher soon, as the 8167 meter (26, 794 ft) peak won't be an easy one to summit this fall.

That's all for now. We'll be watching Everest closely over the next few days. Hopefully we'll get word of Kuriki's success early next week.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Kuriki Ends Everest Expedition, Teams Turned Back on Manaslu

As expected, it was a busy weekend in the Himalaya, where a number of teams had hoped to make summit bids on their respective mountains. But weather conditions there continue to be unpredictable, and success has remained elusive.

We'll start todays update with news from Everest. Last week, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki moved up the Lhotse Face in an attempt to get himself into position for a summit push this past weekend. But Kuriki was forced to abandon that attempt at an altitude of around 7700 meters (25,262 feet), turning back due to deep snow on the route up the mountain. He said that the snow slowed his progress greatly, and would not have allowed him time to safely get up and down from the summit. So, he wisely chose to turn around.

You may recall that Kuriki has attempted Everest in the past, and his last expedition in 2012 ended in disaster. The young Japanese climber became stranded at altitude and had to be assisted down by a team of Sherpas. This resulted in him losing parts of nine of his fingers due to frostbite. I'm sure memories of that difficult climb still remain, and he didn't want to chance another dangerous push to higher altitudes.

It now appears that the first attempt to summit Everest following the April 25 earthquake has come to an end. All indications are that Kuriki, who was climbing without supplemental oxygen, has decided to go home. We'll now have to wait until the spring of 2016 for regular climbing operations to resume.

Meanwhile, a number of teams climbing Manaslu had set this weekend for their summit bids too, but once again poor weather put a halt to those efforts. Heavy snow fell on the mountain over the past few days, making it difficult to make any kind of progress above Camp 4. The Altitude Junkies and Himex teams were leading the way, with their Sherpas fixing lines for everyone else to follow. But the conditions were so poor higher up on the mountain that they were forced to abandon those efforts, and in the process ending any chance of reaching the top – at least for now.

Both of those squads have now decided to call it quits and head home for the season. The danger of avalanches has grown quite high, and deep snow is making it a challenge to break trail. With both Himex and the Altitude Junkies departing the mountain, the remaining teams will have to find a way to install the ropes. There aren't many teams left with the resources to pull that off, so we will likely see other teams leaving too. For instance, the Adventure Consultants said they will pull out and head home, as have the Amical Alpin team.

While the summit push was underway this weekend, one of the Sherpas from Himex fell into a crevasse after a snow bridge he was crossing collapsed. He was rescued and flown back to Kathamdnu, where he is now resting comfortably. His injuries are not life threatening, and he should be back on his feet soon.

Over on Makalu things are starting to look up. The Alpenglow team has received the green light for a go at the summit, as a weather window is expected to open over the next few days. They set off for Camp 2 yesterday, are expected to move up to C3 today, and go higher tomorrow. If everything unfolds as expected, they could make a summit push as early as Wednesday. After that, they hope to make the first full ski descent of the mountain. Stand by for updates on their progress.

Finally, Alan Arnette has posted that a small team of climbers is on the move on Dhaulagiri. The squad has gone as high as 7000 meters as part of their acclimatization rotations, but it looks like they're heading back to Base Camp for now. The team appears to be the only one on the mountain this fall. We'll watch for future updates on their progress as well.

Himalaya Spring 2015: Puja Ceremonies and a Collapse in the Icefall

There as been another setback on Everest that is keeping the climbers in Base Camp today, despite the need to start their acclimatization rotations soon. Earlier in the week it was bad weather that prevented them from getting on the move, but now it is a collapse in the Khumbu Icefall that has delayed the start of the first rotations up the mountain.

Alan Arnette reports that more than 80 Sherpas were in the Icefall this morning as they continued their work to shuttle gear up to Camps 1 and 2. But the collapse of the ice along the route caused all of them to turn back. Apparently there was a traverse over a large crevasse that required four ladders to complete, and the entire thing came crumbling down. The Khumbu Ice Doctors will now have to search for an alternate route through the dangerous Icefall. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the collapse.

This is not uncommon, and is large part of why crossing through the Icefall is so dangerous. This portion of the mountain is incredibly unsteady, and the Ice Docs work all season long to keep the route safe and open. This sounds like it was a major collapse however, so it could take a day or two for them to find a new path. You may recall that this route was described as safer and shorter than the ones used in the past, and hopefully that won't change following this incident.

Alan also says that his team had its Puja ceremony a few days back. The Puja is an important step for any climbing expedition, as no one can start up the mountain until it is finished. During the Puja, a Buddhist monk brings the climbers and Sherpas together to ask permission from the mountain gods to safely pass up Everest, or what ever other mountain they are climbing. Traditionally, the monk will also bless their gear and ask the gods to keep the climbers safe. While it is taken very seriously by everyone, it is also a time to celebrate and have too.

With the Puja over, the teams are then ready to start the climb, but the unusually heavy snowfall continued on Everest over the past couple of days, preventing anyone from going higher than Base Camp. None of the commercial teams have passed through the Icefall as of yet, and no one other than the Sherpas have been up to Camp 1 or 2. Hopefully that will change shortly, as it is now time to begin acclimatizing for sure. In fact, some of the squads have actually gone off to other mountains to begin their acclimatization process. For instance, American climber Jim Davidson has moved over to Lobuche East where he'll go as high as 6118 meters (20,075 ft) on the summit. He hopes to wrap up that climb today, and head back to Everest BC.

Over on Annapurna, the teams continue to play the waiting game. The weather has remained bad there too, not allowing teams to make their summit pushes. Heavy snows have blanketed the upper slopes of the mountain in powder, making it extremely unsafe. Avalanches are common on Annapurna even in the best of conditions, but with so much snow falling on the mountain, breaking trail is incredibly difficult, and the risks of avalanche too high. For now, everyone must bide their time, and wait for things to improve.

ExWeb has posted a round-up of news from other 8000 meter peaks, and much of the news is the same. Poor weather continues across the Himalaya, including on Manaslu where Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger had hoped to make a spring attempt after their winter climb was thwarted. According to reports, the duo returned to the mountain in early April only to discover that more snow had fallen in their absence and they couldn't even locate their cached gear under all of the powder. They elected to pull the plug on the expedition altogether, and have now returned home.

The same story is being reported on Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, and Dhaulagiri, where ExWeb says a team of trekkers ran into serious trouble a few days back. Heavy snows caught the unprepared team off guard, and they were forced to take shelter in Base Camp where a climbing team offered them assistance. Apparently, whiteout conditions continue there now, making it very difficult for anyone to go anywhere.

Finally, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary since the massive avalanche claimed the lives of 16 porters on Everest. I'm sure it will be a solemn occasion on the mountain as the Sherpas and western climbers all think about that day. Many of the people on the mountain this spring were there last year too, so I expect there will be some memorial services and ceremonies held. I have no doubt that those who lost their lives will be on the minds of the climbers the next few days.