Spring 2017: C1/C2 Ready on 8000m Peaks, Teams Continue Acclimatization

Majority of climbers have reached the mountains and have started acclimatization and route-fixing. The season is progressing smoothly, perhaps a little slower than usual. Nonetheless, with C2 ready and teams pushing forward, they should be ready for summit attempts by the start of May.

Annapurna NW Face Team on Tilicho 
Louis Rousseau, Rick Allen, Adam Bielecki and Felix Berg reached Base Camp, adjacent to beautiful Tilicho Lake, on April 19th. They went up the mountain (Tilicho Peak) a couple of days later. However, bad weather forced them to retreat to BC.

The team intends to summit Tilicho for acclimatization before climbing Annapurna NW Face in alpine (or light) style.
Adam Bielecki with Elizabeth Hawley before starting their Annapurna NW Face expedition. Courtesy: Louis Rousseau

Annapurna Normal Route
Difficult climbing conditions are reported from Annapurna, this year. Spanish team of Alberto Zerain and Jonatan Garcia wanted to climb Dutch route. However, a wide crevasse opened up in upper sections of the route, making it unachievable. The duo, thus, decided to join the other expeditions on less safe French route.

On April 19th, a series of avalanches came down the mountain, causing loss of material and minor scars to Chilean and Norwegian climbers staying in C2. Afterwards, the teams rested in BC for a few days. Spaniards along with Nives Meroi and Romano Bennet went up again, yesterday (April 24th). The plan is to slowly progress up the mountain.

"We want to sleep two nights here (C2) and then, if the weather goes along, we will try to do two more nights in C3 and one in C4. From there, we will see," says the Spanish team. "We are gradually increasing [the altitude] to give our body time to acclimate in a single climb. We do so, because the route is very dangerous and the fewer times we pass through the delicate parts, the better."

Shisha Pangma South Face
David Göttler and Herve Barmasse are done with paperwork and visa issuance. They started the trek to Base Camp, yesterday.
Getting visas and permits issued was a bit tricky. But that's done, as David Gottler and Herve Barmasse star trek towards BC. Courtesy: David Gottler

Makalu: 7000m
Polish team, who had previously set up C2 and reached 7000m, wanted to establish C3 in current window. However, bad weather forced them to turn back from 7000m on April 20th. Meanwhile, all teams stayed in Base Camp for a few days. The ascent resumed yesterday, as Thomas Lammle set up C2. Meanwhile, Altitude Junkies commercial expedition have just reached ABC.

Dhaulagiri C2
It’s relatively a busier season on Dhaulagiri with over 60 foreign climbers. Route has been fixed till C2 and climbers have started the acclimatization. Multiple teams will push to reach C3 in current weather window.
Towards C1 and C2 on Dhaulagiri. Courtesy: Carlos Soria

Kangchenjunga Bad Weather
Weather has been quite intermittent on Kangchenjunga, thus far. A hurricane-like windstorm destroyed multiple Base Camp tents as soon as climbers arrived there. Whereas heavy afternoon snow has been reported in past few days. Nonetheless, route has been opened till C2, and climbers are going up for acclimatization during short weather breaks.

“The reports say it will take at least 3-4 days more for the weather to clear out and allow us to move further. But couldn't let myself sit here, so took a little risk and went until the first hump, about 1 hour away from the base camp, hit the first ice clips and came back. And it started snowing once again.” Arjun Vajpai wrote yesterday.
Kangchenjunga: A hurricane-like windstorm destroyed multiple Base Camp tents as soon as climbers arrived there. Courtesy: Sophie Lavaud

Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu climbers are currently trekking towards BC. AP expedition leader Di Gilbert wrote that they should be in ABC by Tuesday (today).

Kilian Jornet, who is attempting Everest speed record (from Northside), will be acclimatizing on Cho Oyu. Spanish climber says that he selected the mountain for acclimatization due to less technical difficulties. He hopes to summit Cho Oyu early and move to Everest BC by mid-May.

Everest season is progressing quite smoothly. Climbers have started acclimatization on both sides of mountain. Ueli Steck spent a couple of nights in C2 for acclimatization. Vladimir Strba – the Slovak SW Face climber - has reached BC. On other side of mountain, Nobukazu Kuriki is currently in BC as well.
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