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Annapurna heat is on: new names and dry conditions

Annapurna heat is on: new names and dry conditions expected in peak’s most exciting season yet!

Edurne Pasaban, Oh Eun-Sun and Joao Garcia are already on their way to Annapurna, while an impressive number of teams are expected to follow in what will (surely) be the most crowded season the mountain has seen yet. Snow conditions may prove critical for potentially early summit pushes.

Early birds such as the Spanish Al Filo team, in an open race for the first female 14x8000ers record, are highly dependant on good conditions in the first weeks. Edurne, Ferran Latorre, Alex Chicon, Asier Izaguirre and Nacho Orviz need to move fast up the peak’s north side French route, in order to launch a summit push, top-out and then hurry to Shisha Pangma… before Korean Miss Oh gets the cake on Annapurna, the only 8000er left in her own “Great 14” quest.

Good, dry news

So what kind of weather can be expected?

“It is almost impossible to collect reliable data from Nepal,” MeteoExploration’s meteorologist Javier Corripio stated. “Even official sources from the World Meteorological Organization are poor. However, I have downloaded the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data, which is data from the global weather models archived from 1948 and post-processed for standardisation and normalization. It shows that last year has been dryer than the average. This is confirmed by the meteoexploration database which shows lower values than the climatic averages given by the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) for Kathmandu.”

“A dry year obviously means less avalanches but icier conditions and crevasses less covered,” Javier added.

Edurne Pasaban confirmed the news over sat phone from Kagbeni village. “ We are acclimatizing in Annapurna region since yesterday, and will gather with the filming crew in Tatopani for a chopper lift to BC next Monday,” Pasaban reported.

“Earlier today we saw Annapurna massif and Dhaulagiri – the peaks look rather dry, which is good news for us,” the Spaniard told her home team. “Villagers also say that rains have been scarce through the winter.”

Heroes, knights and the Polish princess

In spite of promises he was done with Annapurna, “Himalayan knight” Piotr Pustelnik is facing the peak for the sixth time.

Piotr wants to finish his 14, 8000er quest, and also pay tribute to close friend and climbing mate Piotr Morawski, perished on Dhaula one year ago. Usually teaming up with Slovak Peter Hamor, the trio was known as the “three Peters” in a number of impressive climbs (some bold attempts on Anna included). Hamor will join Pustelnik, in spite of having summited Annapurna already.

The team also includes a climber with a pendant deal with Annapurna: Romanian Horia Colibasanu. Horia was with Iñaki Ochoa on Anna in 2008. While some of the best climbers in the world ran to the peak in a desperate attempt to rescue Iñaki, the Romanian remained with the unconscious climber for five days, in a tiny tent at 7,400 meters. Exhausted and sick, Horia refused to leave his mate until Swiss Ueli Steck replaced his watch. Sadly, Ochoa died soon after.

Considered a hero among Iñaki’s friends and family in Spain, Horia said long ago he would return to Annapurna someday – hoping to finish Iñaki’s (and his own) climb.

Horia attempted Shisha Pangma in fall last year, together with Juanito Oiarzabal (also expected on the spot as member in Carlos Pauner’s team).

The expedition sums up with Polish Kinga Baranowska who, still in her early 30s, is ready to turn Annapurna into her 7th 8000er.

Finally, American Nick Rice has changed his mind in the last minute and forgoes his plans for Kangchenjunga in order to join the Anna crowd.

Links to Annapurna 2010 teams:

Edurne Pasaban’s team

Ferran Latorre

Oh Eun-Sun

Kinga Baranowska

Nick Rice

Carlos Pauner

Joao Garcia

Xavi Arias

Juanito Oiarzabal

Horia Colibasanu

Peter Hamor

Park Young-Seok

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