Climbing continues around the word and especially in Nepal but before we get to the climbs, I want to remember two climbers we lost recently.
Fred Beckey: “The Bob Dylan of Mountain Climbing:
Fred was the definition of a dirt bagger – mostly living out of his car, he never married or had children – climbing was his life. He passed away in Seattle at age 94 on October 30.
He was shunned for an Everest climb early in his career so he turned to first ascents through the US Pacific Northwest and into Canada, and boy did he. He climbed, spoke and wrote books. Anyone who knew him fell in love with his passion.
The New York Times had a good overview of his life but I appreciated the video they posted of an interview with him in 2008 at age 85. Climbers take note of his thoughts around 3:30 in.
The Dirtbag Movie chronicled his exploits, another must see (trailer only) including his “soft place in his heart for tall dirty blonds”:
Another loss was 92 year-old New Zealand mountaineer, Norman Hardie. He was in the first team to climb Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, lying between Nepal and India. He was a peer of Hillary’s, joining him on several expeditions, including one to Antarctica to make the first ascent of Mt Herschel.
Shivling – New Impressive Route in India
Planet Mountain is reporting a new route in the Indian Himalayan on Shivling by Simon Gietl and Vittorio Messini.
Shivling at 21,647’/6598m is in the Gangotri Group of peaks in western Garhwal Himalaya, about 200 miles north-northeast of New Delhi and 300 miles northwest of Annapurna in Nepal. With it’s pyramidal shape, it is often compared to Alpamayo, the Matterhorn and Ama Dablam for pure beauty.
Planet Mountain posted this report with some excellent photos – Please click to see them.:
First ascended in 1974 via the West Ridge by a Hindu-Tibetan team led by Hukam Singh which included Ang Tharhay, Pemba Tharkay, Laxman Singh and Pasang Sherpa, over the years a handful of difficult routes have been added to this 6543m pyramid. One of these is the North Pillar, climbed by South Tyrol’s Christoph Hainz and Hans Kammerlander in 1993, while Shiva’s Line was forged by Germany’s Thomas Huber and Switzerland’s Iwan Wolf in 2000 and recognised the prestigious 10th Piolet d’or the following year.
Italy’s Simon Gietl and Austria’s Vittorio Messini have now established an interesting new route that winds its way up between these two routes to join up with the 1980 Japanese route (Fujita-Kubo-Yamamoto).
Gietl and Messini travelled to the Himalayas at the end of September. Abundant snowfalls in the Garwhal made approaching the mountain hard work, but also resulted in a line of snow and ice to the left of Shiva’s Line. After climbing a 50° gully and stashing gear at 5500m, the mountain guides returned to the base camp at 4300m to rest, then over two days they climbed up to 5900m and fixed ropes on the steepest sections before descending to base camp and resting once again.
On 9 October the two left base camp for their summit bid. After spending a night at 5500m they climbed up the fixed ropes and at circa 6000m they joined the North Pillar climbed by Hainz and Kammerlander, where they bivied a second time. The original idea was to climb the steep headwall tackled by Shiva’s Line, but due to the biting cold they headed off right and later joined the Japanese route. Shortly after midday on 11 October they reached the summit, then descended via the line of ascent. After spending a third night on the mountain, at 6000m, they descended to base camp the next day. The new route is called Shiva’s Ice, is 1500m high in total, deals with difficulties up to WI5, M6, and is similar to the Colton McIntyre route on the Grandes Jorasses, but at 6,000 meters.
Messini told planetmountain.com “Our first plan was to repeat Shiva’s Line, but it was too cold and there was too much snow. We then noticed that a line had come into condition to the left and we thought we’d be much faster climbing up this snow and ice than on the snow-covered slabs. We hadn’t even hoped of climbing a new route, it just came about due to conditions we encountered on the mountain.”
Lhotse – Quiet
South Korean, Sung-Taek Hong and Spanish climber Jorge Egocheaga are attempting Lhotse’s South Face. They posted an update saying they had established Camp 3 (7,800m) on Oct 17th and Camp 4 (8,250m) on Oct 18th but there has been no word since then. They had posted having problems with their satellite equipment thus not to expect many updates.
They had planned a summit attempt at the end of October after suffering avalanches and rock fall that injured two Sherpas earlier last month.
The only time this route has been climbed was in October 1990 by Russian climbers Serguey Bershov and Vladimir Karataev according to the Himalayan Database. Sung has attempted it in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Annapurna – Quiet
Slovenian duo Luka Stražar and Nejc Marčič are trying to ascend the normal route on the West Face of Annapurna in alpine style. They arrived in Nepal mid-September. They have reported reaching 6000 meters. They are posting occasional updates on Facebook but there have been no recent updates.
Manaslu – A Lot of Snow
… yesterday (Wednesday, November 1) trying to reach our place for the first high camp. But soon we are practically no chance lost in the snow. We are really stuck and eventually reversed.
… the whole mountain, the top, rather steep flanks that Serac zones – all completely covered by an endless white. As are sure about two feet of fresh snow. Concern on the two climbers especially the steep slopes. They have everyone between 30 and 40 degrees inclination, so the typical avalanche slopes. From a church steeple in South Tyrol, the snow slides easily off, unlike, for example, from a house roof with little inclination. And we’re just not here in South Tyrol on a church steeple
Two weeks ago, the mountain safe as was “mown lawn”, because there was very little snow and we would certainly have had the best opportunities.
Manaslu is usually climbed in late September and early October to avoid the deep snow.
Summits on Nepal’s Trekking Peaks
Ama Dablam (6,812m/22,349 ft) and Cholatse (6,440m/21,130ft) are seeing great success thus season along with the other trekking peaks of Island, Lobuche and Mera.
This is the latest from the Adventure Consultants team:
The team reached the summit of Ama Dablam this morning between 0850 and 1000.
We left Camp 2 at 2am yesterday, balancing along the edges and around the blocks that make up the Yellow Tower. After a short traverse we were met by the Grey Tower, a steep and shattered rock obstacle standing in the way of reaching the summit. Much effort later we topped the Tower and faced Mushroom Ridge. A delicate snaking snow ridge demanding full concentration, good footwork and slick rope skills. The top of the ridge leads to the flat ground beneath the Dablam (hanging ice serac) and the final summit slopes. 400 metres of steep relentless snow and ice.
Having passed other groups, some of whom had set out 7 hours before us, we were left to break trail up these final slopes. A brightening sky gave way to a beautiful sunrise, with some promise of warming temperatures. The sun finally reached us at 8am, not long before we crested the final rise to stand on the summit of Ama Dablam.
Multiple other teams also reports summits on Ama.
Cholatse is becoming very popular as an alternate to the crowded Ama Dablam. Phil Crampton, Altitude Junkies, reports his team had summits this week. This was his previous update:
We arrived at base camp on the 27th and the Sherpas got to the task of completing the fixed ropes. There were two small teams on Cholatse before we arrived at base camp and we are very grateful for all the work they did fixing ropes. Both the Junkies and the Jagged Globe team supplied rope and hardware to these previous teams and they did a great job, but unfortunately soft snow on the summit ridge left them unable to reach the summit.
One Sherpa each from the Junkies and Jagged continued the rope fixing from the previous high point on the 25th and got to 100 vertical meters of the summit before returning to base camp.
Today our Sherpas and team members made the climb to high camp once again where they will spend the night before leaving for the summit around 3am tomorrow morning. Kami Sherpa and myself will leave base camp at midnight and climb directly to the fixed rope highpoint where we will continue to fix the last 100 meters to make the route safe for all the team members and Sherpas following.
Cholatse is not to dismissed as some of the Junkies turn back due to fatigue.
One of the 7 Summits, Carstensz is known for the week long grueling hike to base camp through a hot, humid leach infested jungle. Usually teams hire local tribesmen to carry loads but not everything goes as planned.
When I summited in 2011, we had to pay a $3000 bribe to stay alive because we hired a helicopter!
7 Summits Club has a similar experience this month but found a way and made perhaps one of the faster summits of all time!
They first reported:
Rainy greetings from Papua! We are again in Timika. In short, we flew to Sugapa, and then are unable to overcome obstacles in the form of representatives of the tribe of Moni on the way to the jungle. Some time groups of tourists weren’t there, and, perhaps, some time, still will not. We spent the night in a police station and in the morning were evacuated at the first opportunity. We’ll go the other routes planned tomorrow to fly to the base camp under a Pyramid Carstenz by helicopter.
Artem Rostovtsev, a guide of the 7 Summits Club: Hi, 7 summits! This is Artem Rostovtsev from Papua. We are in the base camp under Carstensz. Now exactly 2:20 local time, remember this time! Today the day began in Timika. In the morning we had a breakfast at the hotel, then arrived at the airport. We waited for our departure of the helicopter, waited for a long time… then flew. According to the forecast we knew that today is the last day of good weather … and we decided to climb to the top immediately …
Not to stand in the night, not get wet in the rain. The result: at 2:20 we reached the summit and descended. And now we celebrate our success. Everyone is feeling great. The Chinese delegation, which is here, came… congratulated us ….
There was no helicopter today, but tomorrow we hope to fly in Timika. Bye! Artem Rostovtsev
If you go to Carstensz, plan on the unexpected – more time, more hassle and tough weather with constant rain. Also, do not trespass onto the mine or you will spend a few nights in a sheet metal hut wishing you had heeded the advice everyone told you back home.
Congratulations to the summiteers and best of luck to all remaining.
Memories are Everything