Spring 2015 | The Climbing Season is 'Almost' Over

“We do not want to be the reason why Nepalese helpers, cooks and climbing Sherpa continue to be held here and not let go home to see their families. A continuation of the expedition would not seem right to us under the circumstances, even a possible summit success would feel stale and void. We would feel no joy about it,” Alix von Melle and Luis Stitzinger wrote after announcing end of their Everest Northside Expedition.

“The factors and reasons were many – primarily the morality and ethics of continuing a climb when so much devastation has occurred in the country and the respect for and wishes of our Sherpa, some of whose families have been affected,” commented Adrian Hayes from Makalu ABC. He and all other teams on the mountain have decided not to proceed further with climbing this season.

There is no joy in climbing when Nepal has been hit by sorrow and sufferings of this scale. Majority of climbers share this sentiment and hence, have decided to cancel their expeditions. Except a few teams on Everest Southside, almost all the climbers have started the return journey. While many mountaineers will depart to their home countries, some will stay in Nepal to facilitate rescue and relief operation.

Marco Confortola and the team have left Dhaulagiri BC and are currently at Dorban (2500m). “In this small village, there are only local people and they are all fine. There is obvious damage caused by the earthquake, but to the things, not to people.” Updated the Italian climber’s home-team.

All seven teams on Makalu made the unanimous decision of concluding the climbing activities, in a Base Camp meeting yesterday morning. Climbers will be starting the retreat from ABC today. Several climbers are eager to help the local community with food and medication while trekking out from the region.

Tibet: Everest North, Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma
After temporarily halting mountaineering activities, the China Tibet Mountaineering Association has now cancelled all expeditions on 8000m peaks for this season. Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma teams had already begun the return journey, whereas Everest climbers will also be leaving BC soon. It’s a difficult situation for them. The road connecting Tibet with Nepal has been destroyed. The teams don’t have arrangements to transport their equipment through China. It appears that most of the climbers will be flying back from Lhasa.

As per Chinese officials climbing has to be ceased due to “danger of falling rocks and avalanches” after earthquake.

Annapurna and Manaslu
Mountaineers on Annapurna and Manaslu remained safe during earthquake. But Annapurna climbers are unable to leave the Base Camp. “He (Al Hancock) and around 50 other people are currently awaiting a helicopter to pick them up from base camp. They are down to only rice, tea and water, but Al is in high spirits as he awaits rescue, which should arrive by April 30th.” Updated the home team of Canadian climber yesterday. Climbing season on Annapurna is already over.

American climber Alex Barber says, he will trekking out of BC today to join an NGO affiliated with the UN and participate in rescue and relief operation.

Lhotse and Everest Southside
Majority of Everest Southside and Lhotse teams have already cancelled their expeditions and on the way back. Some of them are staying in villages along the trek between EBC and Lukla.

Himex is apprently only team that is still interested in continuing the climb, “Our Himex team will stay at Everest BC for the next few days and we will then decide if we will continue or not. Talking to Phurba he tells me that the Sherpas are ready to go back to BC and to assess the conditions in a few days time and will then make a collective decision. This morning when I was at the airport I had a meeting with the NMA and the Minister of MoT and he gave us permission to fly loads to C1, but only after the helicopters come free from rescue operations which we of course totally agree with.”

Finally Alan Arnette, who is currently in Namche Bazar, updated about the situation in Khumbu valley, “As I trekked out, I saw little real damage to the upper Khumbu villages.” He further added that “closer to Namche, there were a few, tiny sections of damage to the trails but all were fully passable.

Everest Base Camp; the site of major climbing disaster this season. Nineteen casualties are reported after an avalanche hit the BC.
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