Everest & Himalaya wrap-up: Sun on the peaks, blood on the streets

Posted: Apr 20, 2006 04:04 pm EDT

(MountEverest.net) Whilst climbers focus all their hopes on better weather, the streets of Kathmandu are spilled with blood. About 150,000 demonstrators defied the Governments imposed curfew and marched through the capital city today, demanding a return to Democracy. The army is repelling protesters with violence, causing at least three dead.

Roland Hunter of UK MountainCompany is in Kathmandu waiting for his Everest North Col climbers. He reports that the day long curfew ended at 8 pm, and all is now quiet in Thamel, with a few bars and restaurants open.

At the base of the mountains, the weather is finally improving today. Skies are clear, but the slopes are packed with fresh snow, increasing the risk of avalanche. People stuck in C1 and C2 on Everest South side are coming down, while some climbers are going for C1 today. The storm also affected Everests north side, where it's still cold and windy. A common issue also reported by many expeditions on the north side is problems with cargo. A number of climbers have been in BC for days, waiting for their gear to arrive.

In the News

Nepal: Bloody Thursday

As expected, the Kings government established a curfew in Kathmandu and other towns to prevent people to attend to the demonstrations scheduled today by the Seven Party Alliance.

In Kathmandu, tens of thousands of people defied the curfew orders and organized demonstrations against the government. Police charged against demonstrators, and at least three people were killed more than 50 were seriously injured. 150,000 demonstrators were reported on Ring road (read previous story on MountEverest.net.)

DCXP climbers are stuck in Lukla - they report the local airlines were on strike today. Nepals Tourism Board has fleeted a special bus service for tourists arriving at KTM airport to take them into town, since transport companies are also following the strike.

Everest West

West ridge team: Aprils weather

Nima our Sirdar told us that April was a bad month for weather. However, he said winds not snow would be the problem, reports the team.

It all started off so positively. Venns team finished off the remaining section to establish Camp Two. Yesterday, he managed to pioneer a route through the seracs to the base of the rock pyramid thus leaving straightforward ground to Camp Three. Daves B & W deployed themselves to Camp One to assist Dicks team with a Load Carry to Two. Then came the weather forecast last night a trough over western Nepal. A night and day of snow followed, with no prospect of improvement until Thursday. The teams beat a retreat to Tilmans and the next period of waiting began.

Everest North

7Summits/7Summits-club: Altitude taking its toll

We left Xigar the morning of the 18th, reported Harry Kikstra. "Thick clouds were ahead and soon we were driving through blizzard-like conditions. We arrived safely in BC though."

"Some members were feeling bad; Thomas kept throwing up, Milan did not lose his headache and Barbara was feeling generally bad. Andrey managed to 'fix' Thomas quite quickly and he is a lot better now (20th April) and out for a hike. But though Barbara seemed to be better yesterday (19th), she felt worse today and we have decided to send her down. She was planned to go to ABC, with Milan and Sergey. These 2 will get out in Taschi Dzom, to recover as they were both feeling bad. The small village is 1000m lower and generally 1 or 2 days here make a world of difference. So we will see them again in 2 days.

Tomorrow the first team will head up to intermediate camp, and the rest will follow one day after. Meanwhile it has stopped snowing and the weather is really nice now.

Scott on Everest (Adventure Peaks): In ABC

We arrived at ABC on April17 so our tents are now at 6,300m, reports Scott. It took two days to get here from BC and it has been tough going. It's been snowing since we arrived and around 50mm fell overnight.

We'll be here for the next week or so acclimatizing before we return back to BC for recovery. During the time here we aim to climb a local peak called Lhakpa Ri (just over 7,000m) and then move up to the North Col for a night's sleep (7,010m). A Sherpa team has already been up and fixed secure ropes to it however.

N. Irish / English: Meeting Noel

After another night of snow the team decided that it would be better to stay at base camp for another night. Camp visits are also becoming a frequent event and this morning we had a visit from Patrick and Rowena from the Everest Max team. Next was Noel Hanna, Noels is Bannbridge in N.I and is climbing with a Russian team (7Summits/7Sumits-club). He only arrived into base camp yesterday.

Castilla-La Mancha: No way up for now

The Spanish team hoped to climb up to the North Col by the weekend, but the constant snow fall kept them on standby in ABC. Theyre even considering to return to the Chinese BC until conditions improve.

Everest Peace Project: Cold dispatching

It is our third day at Everest base camp and it is so cold here I am typing with my gloves. I just feel sorry for the people who are stuck higher on the mountain. Fortunately, the snow has stopped, but the wind never does...

Gagarin engineer Korshunov: Soviet stories

The Russian team is still waiting for their loads to reach BC. The wait is made easier by Boris Korshunov, who entertains the team by telling funny stories about old times mountaineering.

Everestmax: No peer pressure

It has been snowing for the past couple of days and we now have a covering of 6" on the ground with drifts reaching several feet, reorted team member Sarah. Everyone is coming back to Base Camp from various points on the mountain for a bit of r'n'r and the snow will probably stop us moving very far for a couple of days at least.

We are lucky as a team in that there is not the peer pressure you find in some other teams. If you're not feeling well then you can just say and no one will huff or puff and make you feel like you're holding them up.

Ken Stalter (SummitClimb): From BC

Ken says it is snowing hard at Chinese Base Camp. "I expect that the teams that have moved up to Advanced Base Camp are really getting hammered with snow and wind." The SummitClimb team is the only group that has been to the North Col, according to Ken, and is now having some planned rest and recovery days at base camp.

DCXP/Project-Himalaya: Lukla planes on strike

All the team is still here in Lukla, reported Scott arlier today. All day today there was a strike that has grounded all local aircraft. We have chartered a Russian helicopter so we are waiting till they can fly, probably tomorrow morning. Still a lot going on in Kathmandu, but from most reports, we should get through with no problems.

Everest South

Adventure Consultants: Much warmer

The clouds cleared last night and have left us today with enough solar radiation to power all of Kathmandu, reported Steve, with the Canadian team, today. We've been for an early morning stroll and are now hiding from the sun.

Whilst AC members are walking around BC, the teams Sherpas have returned from C2, where they were stranded. They said there is a lot of snow up there while some other teams have been pushing up to camp 1 today. We have decided to stay put and let the snow settle, reported guide Dean Staples.

Falvit Polish team: Safely back

After three days stuck in C1 short on gas and food the Polish team finally were able to return to BC today.

Malaysia/Singapore Friendship: Sharing camp and problems with Poles

Vincent reported from C1 yesterday, Although we have food, we are running out of cooking gas. It's still snowing and the last time I measured, the snow is about 1 meter deep.

We were not the only ones that are stuck at camp 1. Earlier, 3 climbers from the Polish team came over to our site to check things out. We found out that we have the same problem, running out of gas to cook. They have suggested that we trek down to basecamp irrespective of the weather tomorrow. The journey would be easier and safer with more people. The polish team consists of 5 men and 1 woman. There is an increased frequency of avalanches now as there's more snow in the area.

As the weather has improved the climbers might have returned to BC with the Poles today.


Norbert Joos: Delayed plans

The Swiss guided team led by Norbert Joos reached BC on April 13. They are holding further ascent for better weather.

Ivan Vallejo: Arrival in BC

Ecuadorian Iván Vallejo and Colombian Fernando González-Rubio reached BC (5500m at the SE side of Kangchenjunga) on April14. The place was covered in snow the pair had to work hard to set up camp. Joos and the Basque team for Yalung Kang (led by Juan Oiarzabal) were already there.

Both Ivan and Fernando, and the Swiss, held puja Tuesday. Both teams hold their ascent for better weather.

Portuguese: 7 climbers, 2 strategies

Slihtly behind Ivan and Norberts team arrived the Portuguese, Ralfs team and Andrew Lock. Once in BC, the climbers split up in two groups, according to a Portuguese journalist traveling with Joao Garcia and Antonio Coelho:

Joao, Antonio and Australian Anrew Locke will go for a classic climb, in Himalayan style. They plan to be ready for a summit bid by the end of May. The second group, comprised of Ralf Dujmovits, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Hirotaka Takeuchi, and Veikka Gustafsson, will go alpine style. Thus they are acclimatizing on some nearby peaks. From these neighboring summits they will be able as well to study the routes and conditions on Kangchenjunga.


Kazakhs: Breaking trail

Hesitant to hire a chopper to BC, Maxut and Vassilyi are approaching the mountain on snow-covered paths. The two Kazakhs are marching in front of the porters, breaking trail in deep snow.

Camilo Lopez: "Lonely in a BC like this"

"The heli flight was great - it only took 45 minutes to get here from Kathmandu," reports Camilo from Dhaula's BC.

It had snowed all night long and during the night I could hear the avalanches roaring down beside my camp. It is worrying, but I was so sleepy I didn't care that much.

The Colombian climber seems to be camped independantly from the other teams, and the place looks quite deserted compared to the crowded K2 back in 2004: This base camp is different from the base camps of the other peaks I have climbed in the Himalayas. There are only four expeditions and a total of about 25 people here. You can really feel lonely in a BC like this one, but fortunately, I can talk to my family through my sat phone.

Spaniards: Snowy birthday the Dutch arrive

April 22 was David Villegas birthday and, as a celebration, it snowed for 22 hours non-stop, reported the team. However, this morning we woke up to a mountain covered in white, shining under a blue sky impressive. By 7:00 am a chopper came in , bringing the Dutch climbers were all here now. Right afterwards we celebrated the puja. Tomorrow we will remain in BC though, waiting for all that snow to settle down.


Polish: Snow in ABC

Anna and Jerzi reached Makalus BC in a chopper last weekend. Since then, theyve moved up to ABC. Yesterday it started snowing heavily.


International team: Up to C1 snow permitting

Denis Urubko and Serguey Samoilov are leaving BC today towards C1 - and beyond, if possible. Serguey Bogomolov confirmed the sky cleared up today, and that the team is going up. However, he is not positive about reaching C1 and above: I'm not so sure we can make it; theres too much fresh snow, he said.

Links to teams on Everest North:
Russian Climb | UK Army 's West ridge expedition | Ecuadorians w/o Limits (Spanish) | Tomas Olsson's Blog | Swedish Everest NFace Sky-ski team | Everestmax | Brazilians Vitor and Rodrigo w/o O2 (Portuguese) | Pepe Andrés Blanco (Spanish) | Mark Inglis' Legs on Everest | News on Andalucia Everest (Spanish)| Bill Driggs & Anne Parmenter's Aspen Aerogels team | Northern Ireland-England | Mark Squirrel | Terres de lEbre (Catalan) | Comarques Gironines | Adventure Peaks| Scott on Everest| Everest Peace Project| DCXP | Project Himalaya | S. Woolums' Adventures Intl | Abramovs 7 Summits Club | Harry Kikstras 7 Summits | Thomas Webers SightOnEverest | World Wide Vikings | Lorenzo Garianos blog| Turkish Everest expedition | News on Bahrainis - The Gulf Times | Dr. Ken Stalters Climb for Child Leukemia | Malaysian Treverest website | Spanish Castilla-La Mancha expedition

Links to teams on Everest South:
Polish-Russian Traverse (Polish) | Martyna Wojciechowska (Polish) | Khoo Swee Chiow | Malaysia/Singapore EverestFriendship | Paul and Fiona Adler | South Africans | Schools around the world | John Turner | Will Cross | Indias BSF | Romeo Garduces GMA 7 expedition blog | National Philippines FPMEE team | News on the Philippine National team in Studio23 TV | Mallorca a Dalt de Tot | Alpine Ascents | Jagged Globe | Dr. Botha | Adventure Consultants | IMG | Mountain Link| BaseCampMD

Links to teams on other Himalayan 8000ers:
Ralf's Amical (German) | Andrew Lock | Ivan Vallejo | Norbert Joos Kangchenjunga dispatches (German) | Joao Kangchenjungas blog | Simone Moro | Mario Merelli | Norwegian Lhotse | Chilean Lhotse | Tunc Findic (Turkish) | Italian Makalu team (Italian) | Italian D. Nardis Makalu dispatches (Italian) | Czerwinska & Natkanskis Makalu Entre.Pl Xpedition | Valeri Babanov | Iñaki Ochoa (Spanish) | Nives Meroi (Italian) | Carlos Pauner (Spanish) | Palencia team Dhaulgiri | Iranians on Dhaulagiri | Dutch Dhaulagiri expedition | Friendship Beyond Borders | DCXP | Jagged Globe| Silvio Mondinelli| Jarle Traa (Norwegian)


DCXP climbers are stuck in Lukla. They hope to leave tomorrow in a hired Russian chopper. Live image over Contact 4.0 of team members in Lukla, courtesy of DCXP / Project Himalaya (click to enlarge).
About 150,000 demonstrators defied the Governments imposed curfew and marched through town, demanding a return to Democracy the army repelling protesters with violence, causing at least three dead. Image courtesy of Mercantile Communications Ltd. / Nepal News (click to enlarge).

All of Himalaya Everest was covered in white, while the streets of Kathmandu were stained in red. Live image of Everest north side over Contact 4.0, courtesy of Everest Peace Project (click to enlarge).

Dhaulagiri BC is covered in snow as well. In the image, Nuria (climbing with Carlos Soria) and Mercedes (Palencia team member) shovel snow around their tents in Dhaula BC. Image courtesy of Palencia expedition (click to enlarge).
One by one, teams have reached Kangchenjunga's BC in a long hard trek through deep snow. Image of climbers en route to Kang courtesy of Norbert Joos (click to enlarge).

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