Friday, May 20, 2011
Himalaya 2011: More Summits On Everest And Kangchanjunga
As expected, a second wave of summits has begun on the South Side of Everest, where teams have gone up this morning despite higher winds. The trend is expected to continue into the weekend, as other teams are currently poised to make their bids as the winds die down later in the day.
The Himex team put eight of their clients, along with three guides and ten Sherpas, on the summit this today, after setting out at about 12:30 AM local time. Apparently, the team moved efficiently and with good speed, and over took other expeditions at the Balcony. There was a traffic jam at that point, so the ever-industrious Himex Sherpa's circumvented the ropes that were in place, and short roped their clients over that portion. They were soon on their way to the top, leaving slower teams behind. Amongst the summiteers today were David Tait, who has now stood on top of Everest on four different occasions. Well done to all!
The final IMG team is in place at Camp 3 and waiting to move up as well. That's where we heard from Alan Arnette this morning, who says that the winds are expected to dissipate, allowing the teams currently in a holding pattern to make their summit bids tomorrow. If all goes according to schedule, they'll be at the top around or shortly after dawn.
Meanwhile, on the North Side, rope fixing is suppose to be finished today, which will finally allow teams to reach the summit. A number of teams, including the 7 Summits Club, have already set out for Advanced Base Camp in hopes of being in position to go up as soon as possible. Kenneth Koh, who is climbing with Project Himalaya, Tweeted that he and the rest of the team are heading up today as well, and they hope to summit sometime around the 27th of the month, which would be a week from today, weather permitting. I hope for their sake, that the window stays open for them, as it seems to be a narrow one from the Tibetan side of the mountain.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of activity on Kangchanjunga today as well. The third highest peak on the planet at 8586 meters (28,169 ft), sees far fewer climbers than Everest, and is a formidable climb in its own right. On his Twitter feed, Alex Gavan reports that 50 people went up today in one of the biggest summit pushes Kang has ever seen. At this point, we're not sure how many made it but we do know that Alexey Bolotov reached the top, as did Christian Stangl, who reportedly is suffering from some frostbite. A French team consisting of three climbers also topped out, but from the reports, it seems that bad weather and cold turned back a good portion of the climbers. Alex is recovering from a stomach bug himself and hopes to go back up soon, weather permitting.
It seems it will be another very busy weekend in the Himalaya, with summit attempts coming on a number of peaks. Wish everyone well and keep your fingers crossed that everyone gets down safely.