Home > Expeditions & Adventures > ExplorersWeb Week in Review The Pioneers Checkpoint

ExplorersWeb Week in Review The Pioneers Checkpoint

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

A jammed week ended in a nailbiting weekend and it’s not over yet. China closed Tibet and climbers are refused entry. Those already there went out on a summit push sparked by a weather window forecast. The Everest Hornbein trio narrowly escaped a double-avalanche, Satopanth climbers had an earthquake, Korean Kim Jae-soo was hit by avalanche on Annapurna, and there was a fatality on Cho Oyu.

News are still expected from several pushing teams, including ski-mountaineers. Others such as Andrew Lock are just headed up, hoping to avoid the treacherous summit-ridge on Shisha.

In other news; a huge Antarctica tech roundup and list of SP expeditions, Big Walls heads-up, a new clue on Mallory & Irvine, a Sahara camel crossing, a sail through Pirate waters, escape from the Patagonia icecap and Henk de Velde headed for Paul Theroux “The Happy Islands” on PNG.

Fall season’s first: Cho Oyu summits and fatality Basques Estitxu Salinas (in her first 8000m+ experience) and Roberto Rojo “Gorri” (on his fourth 8000er), joined by a fellow Basque and a female climber from Asturias broke the trail to the summit Tuesday in a marathon ascent through deep snow. The rest of the mountain followed through the end of the week. US Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s husband Clifton Maloney, 71, passed while resting in a high camp shortly after summiting Friday. Secretary of State Clinton spoke to NY’s Democratic Congresswoman Maloney on the phone over the weekend, saying: ’We’re doing everything to bring him home,’ according to New York Daily News.

Everest summit push scare The three Basques reported very high wind and lousy conditions on the normal route, “we sank up to our knees in fresh snow and found dangerous wind-slabs in some places,” they reported. Not so great news for a Japanese expedition reportedly attempting Everest via the North Col route. But it was about to get worse on the Japanese Couloir for the trio Saturday night. The weather window closed as fast as it had arrived, and two avalanches swept their bivouac at 7,200 meters. The climbers crawled out of the debris and awaited dawn sheltered behind a rocky outcrop. “We stood since 3:00 am on a 40cm ledge, kicking the wall to avoid frostbite,” Mikel Zabalza recalled. By morning they rappelled down for eight hours. “It was a very close call,” said Juan Vallejo. “Maybe Everest will give us another chance in a few days time,” said Alberto Iñurrategi.

China bans entry into Tibet On September 22, the Tibetan Tourist Board announced that they will not be issuing any more permits to foreigners until 8th Oct. Initially, the announcement was made only to travel agents in Lhasa but AP later confirmed that the ban was in effect, reportedly due an Oct. 1 communist celebration in Beijing.

Cho Oyu’s SW Face “The Chinese have closed the Tibetan border from 24th September till 8th October,” Simone Moro also confirmed from Nepal. “Again, all visitors are refused to enter Tibet until October 8th (that is, if the Chinese don’t change their mind and extend the ban) – whatever they had planned and paid for.” Sponsored by The North Face, Simone and Herve Barmasse are to attempt Cho Oyu’s SW face while Emilio Previtali is to attempt a snowboard descent, climbing with Lizzy Hawker and Tamara Lunger on the normal route. The crew is continuing acclimatization in Khumbu and/or holding for further news.

Makalu Ueli Steck summited Makalu over the normal route Thursday. Robert Bösch turned back at approximately 7900 meters.

Manaslu Altitude Junkies summited Manaslu this weekend. News is also expected from the ski-mountaineers, such as the Chileans and Dream Guides. “Monday (today) is summit day – They’ll be leaving camp 4 at 2am local time and hope to summit around 9am,” Guy reported.

Dhaulagiri Only four climbers are on the peak: Two Italians and Chileans Rodrigo Fica and Andres Guzman who managed to arrive BC after all their porters bailed on them. “There are no commercial expeditions or Sherpas here, there will be no open trail and no fixed ropes for us,” the Chileans pointed out.

Shisha Pangma north side Climbers on summit push encountered a heavily corniced and treacherous summit ridge when bad weather came in. Oiarzabal, Tolo Calafat, Mario Panzeri, Nick Rice and a Sherpa fixed 400 meter of Kevlar rope on the ridge but the snow still turned out too unstable. “At least, I have topped-out a secondary 8000er I’d never summited before,” said Juanito about reaching the Central summit, “I don’t know about my mates – but I am done, and heading back home.” Having being stopped at the very same traverse before, Andrew Lock’s plan is to attempt to traverse from camp 3 to another ridge on the north face which cuts out the central summit and provides direct access to the main summit. “However, it is long, crevassed and difficult climbing, so we know we’ll have our work cut out for us,” Lock reported. “If all goes well, we’re hoping to summit on 2 October.”

Annapurna – avalanche “Korean Kim Jae-soo was hit by an avalanche between C1 and C2 on Annapurna last Friday,” ExWeb’s Korea correspondent Kyu Dam Lee reported. “He sustained some injuries in his arm, but otherwise is ready to go on with the climb.” “Oh Eun-sun is currently acclimatizing between BC and C1.

India’s Garhwal Himalaya: Satopanth summit and earthquake Chris, Italo and FTA’s HAPs Raj and Raj summited 7,075m Satopanth on Sep 21. An earthquake struck on descent as the climbers were traversing a steep ice face. “Chris describes the entire summit ridge shaking and serac cleaving off from the summit,” FTA’s home team stated. “We have confirmed that there was indeed a 6.1 magnitude earthquake on that very day in Bhutan and a 4.8 magnitude aftershock was felt in Uttaranchal where Satopanth lies. After further research is seems that our team was climbing less than 40km from the epicenter.”

Gauri Shankar Recent Piolet d’Or winner and GI summiteer Kazuya Hiraide will lead a Japanese expedition to Gauri Shankar (7,134m), aiming for a new route on Rolwaling peak.

8000+ environment watch Alberto Iñurrategi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo reported a great deal of trash in Everest north side ABC. “There is no control by the Chinese authorities – and the place is becoming a high-altitude garbage dump,” they said. Edurne Pasaban & Co cleaned up Shisha south side BC,”we picked over 200 kilograms of trash in a couple of hours,” Edurne said. The Chilean Ski team joined an invitation by Russell’s group to clean up Manaslu BC’s surroundings. “That way we hope to show the way to both locals and foreigners,” the Chileans commented.

Carlos Pauner back home in Zaragoza. “He sustained a major blow,” Dr. Morandeira told Barrabes.com. “Carlos’ side looked as if he had been hit with an axe! It was plain luck that none of the snapped ribs caused internal hemorrhages; since there is no chance for an airlift from Shisha Pangma (Chinese authorities have outlawed chopper flights). It was lucky he was strong enough to make it back to KTM on foot and by car.”

Tom Holzel’s latest on Mallory & Irvine: The final time line “The mystery is about to be solved,” historian Tom Holzel told ExplorersWeb. “And perhaps this coming spring.” After years of researching Mallory and Irvine’s 1924 final climb on Everest – mounting the first search expedition in 1986, checking hi-res mapping images, interviewing Everest summiteers, comparing testimonies and theories, and weighing all possible scenarios – Tom has managed to reconstruct, minute-by-minute, Mallory and Irvine’s final hours. And there is a major new clue: a different eye-witness account of the sighting of Irvine’s body.

Big Wall heads-up: Pou brothers It took Basque Eneko and Iker Pou all summer to work out a 500 meters-long route up Pico Urriellu (also known as Naranjo de Bulnes), the most impressive limestone face in Northern Spain’s Picos de Europa range. The resulting line ’Orbayu’ includes difficulties up to 8c+/9 a (5.14d). According to the Pou brothers, such difficulty has never been reported on a multi-pitch route. Orbayu is the Pou brothers’ fifth high-difficulty route opened on Urriellu; most of their previous lines are yet to be repeated.

Eiger’s North face: Jasper strikes again After six years of attempts and teaming up with Swiss Roger Schäli this time, Robert Jasper managed to free-climb the Japanese Route on Eiger’s NF at last. Also known as the ’Super-Diretissima’, the 5.13b/8a line is considered one of the face’s most demanding. Constant rockfall and a “fist-size” rock striking Robert’s helmet added tense moments to the technical difficulty.

HumanEdgeTech Special: Antarctica technology roundup and latest word Check out the big HET special on everything you need to know about Antarctica tech; ALE’s requirements, GPS, Satellite phone and VHF, the latest on Yellow brick, Spider and EPIRBS, Iridium and Open Port, PDA’s vs. netbooks, power, Contact, maps, costs and testimonies from last year’s skiers.

Antarctica 2009 kick-off: list of expeditions is up! Last week the first – and thinnest yet in quite some time – list of expeditions for the 2009 Antarctica season went up. Polar speed kiter Ronny Finsaas has hooked up with UK Fiona Lindsay for a Novo-SP-Hercules Inlet 2000 mile kite ski. Norwegian Cecilie Skog and veteran Himalaya high altitude mountaineer American Ryan Waters plan to ski from the Berkner Island on the Weddell Sea to the South Pole and beyond, pending time. Eric Larsen will be guiding a group for ANI/ALE from Hercules Inlet. ANI/ALE will also have a group starting from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf guided by previous South Pole speed record holder, Hannah McKeand. Go check details and other expeditions on the list.

Patagonia update: Surviving to leave the Icecap Contact users Tarka L’Herpiniere and Katie-Jane Cooper are in “survival mode” in blizzards and meters of snow on the Southern Patagonia Icecap and are now battling merely to escape the area.

Mark Evison Foundation launch Mark Evison had to postpone his aspiration to become the youngest person to ski solo to the South Pole. Instead, he went to Afghanistan. Nicknamed ‘007’ by his brothers in arms, the young soldier sadly took a bullet and passed away on May 12, 2009. His family and friends are launching a Foundation in his honor to give financial support to young people who wish to pursue their own physical, mental or personal development. The Mark Evison Foundation will be holding a launch party in the Great Hall, Dulwich College, London SE21, Thursday 29 October 2009, from 6.30 to 9.30 pm.

Christian Bodegren to cross the Sahara on camel Contact users are fast spreading beyond Polar-, Mountain-, and Ocean areas. “Africa is a magic place,” said Christian who is staying at an oasis in Egypt to find good camels for his east-west expedition across the world’s largest desert, the Sahara. He plans to travel approximately 7000 km on camel back, and will do daily dispatches.

Phoenicia update: through Pirate waters to Oman Phoenicia started the second phase by sailing from Aden in Yemen to Salalah in Oman at frustrating low speeds in Pirate waters. The crew of seven was slightly more cautious with their blogs, sailed without navigation light at night, and kept the LRAD [long range acoustic device] and satellite phone connections ready.

Henk de Velde update: About setting and achieving goals “Achievement of small goals, leads to the achievement of larger goals,” dispatched Henk de Velde over Contact. “I am planning the next stage in this Voyage,” he reported, giving details about his voyage plan beyond Australia until January 2010. Henk first plans to set sail 600 miles north to Papua New Guinea and a group of islands mentioned in Paul Theroux “The Happy Islands.” He’ll eventually end up in Okinawa (Japan) before deciding on what’s next.

“Ocean sprawl” – running out of room for whales? “These are urban whales; their migratory routes are as busy as major highways,” said Sally Yozell, a marine conservation director for The Nature Conservancy while observing a humpback in the crowded water of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, USA. Ocean sprawl, Kerry Crisley explained to ExplorersWeb, is the emerging issue of crowded ocean waters and its potential impact on people, wildlife and ocean habitats.

Internet and the World Wide Web: what Sputnik and CERN had to do with it We’ve covered space- and satellite technology lots lately. Connecting the high altitudes with fast emerging cyber lifestyles, last week ExWeb/Pythom ran a fast recap on information technology, spanning from H.G. Wells’ World Brain to today’s World Web.

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