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ExplorersWeb Week in Review

Posted: Sep 24, 2006 08:30 am EDT

"We need a weather forecast," came a call from the Hornbein Couloir climbers before their risky summit attempt. The community heard them: Amicals Ralf Dujmovits and veteran Himalaya forecaster Swiss Javier G. Corripio both shot over a weather alert - the next day Himalaya was buried in snow and climbers ran for Base Camps.

It looks like the end of the bad weather in Eastern Nepal is in sight, however: "Still some heavy precipitation expected tomorrow," reported Javier today, "but it will start clearing up on the first hours of Tuesday, first higher up and then completely, with only a few high clouds left. From Wednesday 20 till Friday, fair weather. Evening clouds may develop, which eventually could bring a few flakes, no more. Winds, however, increasing, 25 to 30 knots at 8000m."

In other news; Simone Moro fought off critics, Argentineans summited Aconcagua Polish route in freezing winter, a helicopter went missing in Eastern Nepal, and a coup in Thailand delayed the 2006 Antarctica expedition list.

Helicopter with 24 passengers missing in East Nepal A Shree Airlines helicopter carrying Minister Rai and media including international officials from the World Wild Life Fund (WWF) attending a function marking the handing over of the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area to the local community went out of contact Saturday morning shortly after take-off while returning to Suketar from Ghunsa. Local television has reported that the missing helicopter has been found crashed in a remote corner of north-eastern Nepal.

Spanish Everest Hornbein team: Final countdown is on! We are all feeling strong and motivated, reported Spanish 14x8000er summiteer Alberto Iñurrategi. Teaming up with Ferran Latorre and Juan Vallejo, they have already acclimatized on Everest normal route. As soon as forecasts announce good conditions, they will launch a summit push on Everests Supercouloir (Japanese+Hornbein couloirs), in alpine style.

BAI Everest south: First tracks on the Lhotse face Camp 3 is set and all is well on Everest south side. At the sight of the Lhotse face, Kit told Wally it's first tracks and its going to be all ours, it's very beautiful.'

Baruntse, Batura and Everest: Simone Moro cleans the air This past spring, Simone's plan was to open a new route on Lhotse's West face, without using supplementary O2. But Simone ended up summiting Everest and traversing down the Tibetan, North side - on oxygen - and without permit. Now critics rallied. Not only did Simone climb the normal route on Everest, there were also questions about his Baruntse and Batura II climbs. ExplorersWeb compiled the toughest and most substantial of the criticism - and put Simone in the crossfire.

Annapurna looking different from Spring 2005 The peak and its surroundings look very different compared to spring; our tents are pitched on a huge, green meadow, reports Silvio Mondinelli. In fact, Annapurna shows great conditions shame were not acclimatized!

Evacuations on Shisha Since Monterosa team member Swedish climber Greg Bello was evacuated from Shisha last week, the remains of Monterosa's expedition, adding up a total of about 19 climbers keep suffering minor injuries; several climbers have left and at least one person at BC is recovering from altitude sickness as well, reported Jamie McGuinness, who also was suprised to find a climber he had rejected now on the peak as a member of Himex team. By the way, the Discovery documentary made about Himex 2006 Everest expedition has changed it's original working title "Everest-no-experience-needed" to "Everest: Beyond the Limit," reported the film crew a few weeks back.

Inaki Ochoa: Who deserves Shisha? Something's brewing on Shisha for sure: Most people here suffer too much, others risk their lives without even knowing it, and a number cheat by using supplementary O2. I may sound arrogant, but they dont deserve to be here, reported Inaki Ochoa from Shisha Pangma.

Aconcagua winter summits: Catalan (Spanish) Xavi Arias and two Argentinean climbers summited Aconcagua last Saturday, September 16, via the Polish route. The three climbers set off from a high camp at 5,800m at 6:00 am. They reached the summit after 13 hours, at 7:00pm. The rest of 'Argentinos al Himalaya' team also summited from the normal route.

Elbrus speed race: Denis Urubko winner at 3 hours 55 min! It's no chance that Denis Urubko has climbed 10, 8000ers without O2 including new routes on BP and Manaslu. A while back Urubko proved his skill again - this time on Elbrus: Denis not only won the extreme class (Azau 2400 m - Elbrus West Top 5642 m) 2006 race, but at 3 hours 55 and minutes he also beat the 2005 record (4 hours and 10 minutes).

K2 tragedy Bogomolov and Banjos report: There is no justice in Heaven "There is no mountain worth a fingernail - and there are four lads who have lost their lives, Terence Banjo Bannon told BBC. I would have loved to get to the summit, but the summit is nothing compared to four lives." Banjo swore he would never return to K2. "Why the Siberians," cried Bogomolov in despair when he realized his climbing mates were lost, There is no justice in Heaven.

Reality hits Yuka Komatsu: "I can't afford to climb in the Himalayas" Back to selling mountain gear in Japan, Yuka is of course dreaming of climbing more mountains," her buddy Yusuke told ExplorersWeb. For financial reasons though, Yusuke is eyeing Patagonia and the Alps next. "She would like to prove herself a climber capable of reaching the summit of Fitzroy, or the West face of Dru (Chamonix).

Vince Anderson and Steve House back in Islamabad after Kunhan Chhish attempt Intitially the two Colo climbers wanted to do K6 this season, but due to the peak's location in restricted area, their climbing permit was denied. Instead, they headed to Kunhan Chhish; where bad weather wrecked the summit attempt this time. Back in Islamabd, the guys said they might come back for K6 next year; or Masherbrum.

African lady climbers in preps for Everest, "Keep on dancing!" (Video) On September 2, two black South African women, domestic workers from the Mandela Park informal settlement (squatter camp) in Cape Town, South Africa, boarded a plane destined for Russia, passports in hands and Roubles in pockets. They were about to make history by being the first black South African women to summit the highest mountain in Europe Mount Elbrus. Performing an African dance on top of Russia (check the video at ExWeb); the women now hope to do the Seven Summits and empower other African ladies as they go.

FPMEE Philippine team on Cho Oyu Members of the First Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition (FPMEE) will be attempting Cho Oyu from Tibet this autumn. This expedition is a training climb before the Unity Climb on Mt. Everest next year, where 2 teams will climb simultaneously from the North and South sides.

Polish women top out Shivling A Saturday email reported that four Polish climbers; Katarzyna Sklodowska, Malgorzata Jurewicz, Pawel Garwolinski and Marek Pawlowski summited Shivling (6543m) in Garhwal Himalaya on September 18, 1 pm local time via the west spur (normal) route. The message states that Malgorzata Jurewicz and Katarzyna Sklodowska are the first women Poles to summit the peak!

Hannah McKeand back to the South Pole: Solo, unsupported and in record time In a few days, Hannah will board the Blizzard sailboat off the southern coast of Tasmania for a trip to the Magnetic South Pole. Right after, she will go for the other South Pole the Geographic one. The plan is simple: Ski the 730 miles to the South Pole, solo and unsupported in a record time of 40 days.

Antarctica 2006 expedition list delayed by Thai coup Early Tuesday, ExWeb team members worked over Skype between Spain, US and Thailand to set up the new 2006 list of Antarctic expeditions; using a brand new database, managed by ExWeb's chief programmer; Henrik Marik currently residing in Thailand. Unfortunately, around lunch the Skype communications were cut, due to tanks and troops rolling into Bangkok after the chief of Thailand's army said the military was taking control of the country.

Polar bear attacks: A good reason to choose Antarctica instead of the Arctic Thats why I go to Antarctica instead of the Arctic, said Australian Damien Gildea after finding a grizzly report of a Polar Bear attack back in 2003. Ouch!

Adrian Flanagan prepares for 9-month hibernation With only three days left in Nome, Adrian Flanagan is preparing to have his vessel Barrabas stored through Alaska's long cold winter.

Lewis Gordon Pugh swims up River Thames On August 7, 2006 long distance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh completed a tough swim across southern England making him the first person to cover the length of the River Thames. Pugh's swim is the longest along the Thames - 325-km (200 miles) - or the equivalent of 6500 Olympic size pool lengths!

James Burwick and Anasazi Girl attempt to break the open 40 sailing record James Burwick has his priorities straight, Ive been sailing and climbing most of my life these are the only two things that feed my rat. It was supposed to be a private thing, "a quiet little personal solo aroung the 3 capes voyage," but James completed the Bermuda to Capetown shakedown (8000 miles) in 43 days and on his next leg, commencing mid December, James hopes to break the existing open 40 record. Except he is going alone and not with a group of racers.

Filed under: Space Explorer, Personal Spaceflight @ 6:56 pm: "My Dear Peter, The Earth is so beautiful" It's eerie: Private Astronaut Anousheh Ansari has reached the International Space Station and posted her first blog entry. The first space diary was directed to Peter Diamandis; founder of the XPrize.

STS-115 Astronauts (incl Heidi) home from great Mission "The mission from our standpoint went off very well," summarized Mission Commander Brent Jett. Atlantis glided to a predawn landing, concluding a successful mission to resume construction of the International Space Station. Jett praised first time astronaut and spacewalker Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper. "Heidi is a natural she is a very clever person and came up with a lot of ideas that you don't usually get from a first time flier," Jett said.

Read these stories - and more! - at ExplorersWeb.com!
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Cho Oyu Camp I after the first night of bad weather, courtesy of Javier G. Corripio and Expedición Málaga Himalaya 2006 Cho Oyu (click to enlarge).