Spring 2013 | Makalu | Base Camp in Bad Weather

Makalu (8485) is the fifth highest mountain in the world. This blog report is about current expeditions on Makalu. Previously, I have posted updates on Everest, Kangchenjunga and Lhotse. Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma updates shall be presented soon.

Polish Expedition to Makalu 2013: Kinga Baranowska and Rafal Fronia set out for the fifth highest peak in the world, on 5th April. After a cancelled flight due to bad weather on 10th, the duo reached Tumlingtar (1060m) from Kathmandu on 12th and started the long trek to Makalu BC at 5700m (one of the highest BCs in Himalayas). Through the intermediate stops of Tashigaon (2200 m), Dobato (3850m) and Yangle Karka (3640m), they reached Hillary Base Camp at 4800m on 18th and spent a couple of days acclimatizing at the altitude. The tough trek eventually ended on 22nd when they reached Makalu BC. Apart from distance and altitude gain, bad weather, rain and snow made the trek further difficult.
Kinga reports that currently there are only two teams at Makalu Base Camp. We can expect that at least a couple of more teams will be arriving at BC soon. The Polish duo intends to climb North-West Ridge, without supplementary oxygen.

kinga & Rafal at Airport; source

Astrek's International Expedition: The Asian Trekking Expedition with members from India (Arjun Vajpai, Krushnaa Patel), Belgium (Dominique Dejose), USA (Will Cross, Tonya Clement), Colombia (Fernando González Rubio) and Georgia (Gia Tortladze) also reached the Makalu Base Camp (5700m), yesterday (22nd April). They reported the similar conditions during the trek as stated by Poles. Probably, the same caused delay in arrival of some members.
Arjun is the youngest Indian to summit Everest, Manaslu and Lhotse. Still in his teens, Arjun is amongst the finest climbers of India. Krushnaa too summited Everest at the age of 19. Fernando González Rubio is the most famous climber from Colombia. He already has several 8000er summits under his belt and is all set for 14x8000ers without oxygen. Team is probably climbing via standard route.

Makalu; Image source:Wikipedia

Swiss Makalu Expedition 2013: The Swiss team is making a bold attempt on Makalu this spring. They aim, "the ascent of the West-Pillar in true Alpine Style i-e no bottled oxygen, no high altitude Sherpas, no continuous supply-chain of camps and gear." The last update about team's location was posted by Stephen Siegrist from Kathmandu when they were getting ready for flight to Tumlingta on 12th. If everything went as per plan, the team would have reached Makalu BC by now and are busy in setting up Base Camp. But in case of delay caused by a cancelled flight or bad weather during trek, they would be reaching the BC soon.
Swiss team also included Michi Warthl, who is the youngest person to climb K2 (at the age of 24) and has made several difficult climbs. Other members Hans Mitterer, David Göttler and Danie Bartsch are also hardcore climbers.

Don Bowie's Solo Attempt: Canada born American climber with several 8000er summits and many prestigious climbing awards, Don Bowie is attempting Makalu this spring, alone. He would be sharing BC and permit with a 15 member team but would solo climb above BC. Bowie didn't have any plans to trek and acclimatize before BC, but rather wanted to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla and then heli-flight to Hillary BC.
He arrived at Hillary BC on 17th and his latest satellite position is Makalu BC at 5700m (posted yesterday - 22nd April). Further news about team with whom he's sharing BC are not known, yet.

Don Bowie; Image:Summitpost

Samuli Mansikka's Solo Attempt: Alike Don Bowie, Samuli Mansikka wants to climb Solo but he too would be sharing BC and logistics with an international team. Samuli has just reached Hillary BC, a while back. He faced difficult weather during BC trek. Finnish climber would be attempting Makalu without Sherpa support and without bottled oxygen. He intends to climb NW-Ridge (the standard route).

Gavin Vickers
Australian climber Gavin Vickers, who was amongst the first climbers to reach Makalu this season, tweeted a few days back that he has returned from 5 days on the mountain. It was his second trip on the mountain. Previously he reached 6600m and sat up C1 there. Gavin is part of a larger expedition but further details about expedition are not known yet.

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