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Dhaulagiri, Makalu – Teams begin summit push, Two go home

Posted: May 17, 2013 05:02 pm EDT

(By Nick Boudreau and Jan Komorowski, Polish contributor) Expedition teams have begun to make their respective summit moves after weather wreaked havoc on Dhaulagiri this week. Paweł Michalski and Simone la Terra reported that a storm at Base Camp nearly blew Simone and his tent into a deep crevasse. Pawel’s quick action to secure the tent likely saved Simone’s life. Pawel stated on May 15 that they were on the move and still planned to summit May 19 or 20.
Polish Winter Himalaism’s Agna Bieleck was able to reach 7,200 meters and rebuilt Camp 2 during the good weather days May 7-11. Darek Zaluski and Tamara Stys spent one bivi night at 7,000 meters at a good location between Camp 2 and Camp 3. Like clockwork, the bad weather front charged through and they were force to descend back to Base Camp. Unfortunately, the team had to say goodbye to two teammates. Jacek Zebracki left the expedition due to an unspecified health problem, while Marcin Miotk accompanied him to Kathmandu.

Pilar Llaves from the Catalan home team sent over news and photos to ExplorersWeb. Climber Manuel Gonzalez (Lolo) reported the following May 14 (through Google Translate):

“A few days ago we looked forward to stop, rest, savor the work performed. Now we are tired of the CB, which we reached with a time acceptable and has been three days of bad weather, especially Storm Day 11, lightning, snow and wind that blew.”

“On the afternoon of the 12th, it seems we were all eager to move and 17 hours occurs in our store room, an unexpected meeting with representatives of all shipments. Something happening not very common, the active presence of the Sherpas. Were contrasted weather reports and all pointed to two dates, 18 and 19 May. With the matching data, plan the summit attempt and previous studies that are needed on the road. Today have begun move the equipment: the first has come out for the C1, are the Germans acclimation-strapped and have the task of opening the footprint to C1. Tomorrow comes a group of sherpas for the refuelling camps of the different expeditions and finish fixing the strings to 7400 meters, where you will install the C3. We left the past and it looks like it will work on the cruise after the C3 and the summit day.”

In total, six teams are expected to or are about to make their move on the summit during the predicted May 18 -20 summit window. See the full team rosters in our previous story Previous - Dhaulagiri summit attempts thwarted by wind

Makalu expeditions continue to make acclimatization rotations in spite of weather challenges. Satori Expedition leader Dan Nash stated his team is doing well, with members at Camp 2. He told ExplorersWeb that, “Overall, it has been a good year so far, but it is still early, so we will keep our fingers crossed and hope the weather will cooperate.”

Samuli Mansikka updated his progress in two tweets “Yeah, retreated back to basecamp this morning after a mad-windy and sleepless night at camp 1 (6650m)” and “Makalu is proving to be a tough one! It's not the climbing but the f#*ing wind that doesn't let us get through Makalu-la and beyond!”

Kinga Baranowska & Rafal Fronia are also biding their time and waiting at Base Camp for better weather.

The news of Alexey Bolotov’s death has sent shockwaves through the camps of other Himalaya climbs, like Makalu. Don Bowie, who climbed Annapurna in 2008 and Gasherbrum I in 2010 with Alexey, posted his reaction while waiting for the weather to open at Base Camp. “Many events have transpired since my last dispatch, but the most important at hand is the death of my friend and climbing partner Alexei Bolotov yesterday. I feel that far more appropriate words can be written about Alexei than I am capable of right now - my fingers simply hover over the keyboard with tears and disbelief - but I will share with you some great memories of Alexei in the future. For now, sadness reigns in my heart over his loss, and my thoughts are with his wife, family, friends, and also with Denis Urubko.”


Previous - Makalu: Sherpa slipping into crevasse - updated

Makalu 27,825ft / 8481m Expedition links

Northwest ridge / Standard / Normal Route:

Kinga and Rafal (Poland):
Kinga Baranowska's website
Kinga Baranowska on Facebook
Rafal Fronia on Facebook

Solo Don Bowie:
Don Bowie's website
Don Bowie on Facebook

Asian Trekking / Astrek:
Arjun Vajpai on Facebook
Asian Trekking (Astrek) blog
Krushna Patil's blog
Krushna Patil on Twitter

Solo Finland:
Samuli Mansikka website
Samuli Mansikka on FB
Samuli Mansikka on Twitter

Azim from Iran:
Azim Gheychisaz on Facebook
Azim Gheychisaz's website
#Mountaineering #topstory

Alexey Bolotov and Don Bowie at Gasherbrum I in 2010
Image by Don Bowie, SOURCE
Dhaulagiri avalanche (courtesy 2013 Catalan Dhaulagiri team)
courtesy Juanjo Garra, SOURCE