Text by Tetsuhiko Endo
There was death and glory in the Himalaya this week with multiple summits and no shortage of danger for the men and women on the cusp of their summit pushes. The unsteady western shoulder of Everest’s fabled Khumbu Icefall gave way on the 7th, creating a large avalanche. Explorersweb.com reports that Lapka Nuru Sherpa is feared dead, and climber Alex Gavan has decided to abort his summit attempt due to concerns about the condition of the icefall (mounteverest.net). According to The Adventure Blog, the same story is playing itself out on the north side of Everest, where an avalanche has swept fixed ropes off the mountain and delayed the efforts of anxious climbers (theadventureblog.blogspot.com).
Over on Kangchenjunga, Spaniard Edurne Pasabán is hunkered down in Camp 3 as the winds howl. She hopes to be able to summit in two days, but will be forced to retreat should the winds persist (mounteverest.net). In doing so, she would be the second woman to summit Kangchenjunga this winter, after Korean Oh Eun Sun pushed through incement weather to top out yesterday. Below them both, Italian Nives Meroi (one of her competitors, you will recall, for the first woman to climb all 8,000-meter peaks) has just arrived in base camp.
Lest you think all the action was happening above 8000 meters, American alpinists David Gottlieb and Joe Puryear dodged rock falls and snow storms to bag the first ascent of Jobo Rinjang (6,778 meters) in Nepal. Read about all the fun on climbing.com.
The Arctic has quieted down a bit since John Huston and Tyler Fish reached 90 degrees, but Pen Hadow and the Caitlin Ice Survey grind on. This week, they finally got a re-supply of rations after ten days of waiting. According to their blog, they were down to 90 grams a day of fruits, nuts, chocolate, and cereals and had stopped drilling ice samples due to exhaustion and cold. They report being full and happy again after the plane touched down bringing them rations, news from home, and even some cold (of course) beer. (news.bbc.co.uk).
Most people figured that Olly Hicks’ journey to row around the world (via an Antarctica circumnavigation) was over when he called off his attempt due to poor weather and technical problems relating to drift and the design of his boat. Well, he has spent the last three weeks or so trying to get back to terra firma. It wasn’t happy rowing. But he’s back on land now trying to work out his sea legs and you can read about all of his travails on his website (virginglobalrow.com/blog.html).