Spring 2014 | The Climbing Season Kicks Off

We are now formally into spring season and the climbers have already started reaching Kathmandu for pre-monsoon climbing. Everest and Lhotse will be busy mountains, expeditions to Annapurna and Makalu have also been announced, whereas Kanchenjunga will also be the centre of attention, this spring.

Kangchenjunga North
Denis Urubko, Alex Txikon, Adam Bielecki and Artjom Braun will attempt a new route on Kangchenjunga Northwest Face in alpine style. The project is conceived by Denis Urubko. Last year, Denis and Alexey Bolotov were on Everest hoping to climb a new route on SW Face in alpine style. However the new line couldn’t be attempted due to Alexey’s unfortunate death.

In Spring 2013, Alex Txikon attempted Nuptse and summited Lhotse, whereas Kangchenjunga will be Adam Bielecki’s first major expedition since first winter ascent of Broad Peak. Russian Artjom Braun is a friend of Denis.

As per initial information, it appears that team will acclimatize on British 1979 route and use the same for descent. The planned new line is estimated in blue.

Red: 1979 British route. Blue: Proposed new route

Kangchenjunga SW Face
In spring 2013, fifteen climbers reached the summit of Kangchenjunga via SW Face, but unfortunately five of them died on descent. However, Spaniard Carlos Soria was one of those climbers who estimated the risk and decided to turn back from 8300m. The 75 years old climber is back in Nepal to re-attempt the mountain. If successful, it will be his 11th 8000er.

Finnish Samuli Mansikka was amongst the few Makalu summiteers in 2013. He was solo and climbed to the top on May 22nd, when majority of commercial expeditions turned back. Mansikka intended to attempt Kangchenjunga Northwest Face, however, due to logistics issue he switched to normal route on SW Face.

Italian expedition consisting of Marco Confortola, Marco Camandona, Favre Emrik, Cazzanelli François, and Nicolini Franco will also be working on Kangchenjunga’s SW face.

Chinese Liang Zhang will be leading an expedition to Annapurna I. Mingma Gyalje Sherpa will be guiding the team up the mountain. Yongzhong Liu, Norwegian Tore Sunde Rasmussen and Macedonian Zdravko Dejanovikj are other members of the expedition.

Several climbers will be attempting Makalu this year. Chris Jensen Burke and Lakpa Sherpa successfully climbed four eight-thousanders in 2013. Their Makalu expedition will start in less than two weeks.

The German couple, Alix von Melle and Luis Stitzinger, will also be on Makalu this spring. They summited Shishapangma last year, which was the sixth eight-thousander for both.

The members of an international Makalu expedition have also started reaching Kathmandu. Indian climbers, Krushnaa Patil and Arjun Vajpai who were unsuccessful on the mountain last year, are part of this team.

Ms Hawley’s assistant Billi Bierling will also be reattempting Makalu. Her previous attempt was in autumn 2012.

Anna Pfaff is well known for new routes on lower peaks; however, this time she will be attempting the fourth highest mountain on earth. She will be climbing the normal route but “I will be climbing solo with minimal support. This will be my second attempt on an 8,000 meter peak. I climbed on Cho-Oyu in 2011, completely unsupported and without oxygen.”

British mountaineer and writer, Mark Horrell, will be leaving for Kathmandu in a couple of days. He will be climbing Lhotse with four other climbers. Mark has previously summited Manaslu in 2011 and Everest (from North) in 2012.

A Polish-Croatian expedition, consisting of four Poles and four Croats will also be on Lhotse this season.

On Everest, there will be many expeditions . However, Horia Colibasanu and Peter Hamor will be amongst those few climbers who will not be using bottled oxygen.

In another interesting adventure, American wing-suit jumper Joby Ogwyn intends to launch from the summit of Mount Everest. The event will be live telecasted on Discovery channel. While the affair itself may appear too mainstream - someone doing something ‘silly’ on world’s highest mountain - Joby Ogwyn is a seasoned climber, “a new line (variant) on Makalu with the Spaniards and Inaki in 2004; one year later with Simone Moro on Batura II (at 7.762m then the highest unclimbed peak); Everest speed climb, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, attempts on K2 and Broad Peak”, Tina Sjogren summarized his mountaineering accomplishments.

Read more about Joby’s journey from mountaineering to BASE jumping and wingsuit-ing in this Exweb interview.
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