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Everest daily wrap up: Baruntse summit push amid strong winds
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Apr 30, 2004 16: 18 EST
Himalayan climbers are keeping their eyes on the weather this weekend, as hurricane force winds have been predicted beginning tomorrow. The big news is the Baruntse gang are ready for their summit push and are aiming for a summit in just a couple of days.

Everest Weather

Hurricane force winds increasing to 25-30 m/s beginning Saturday, then further increasing to 35-40 m/s. Next week the winds will slowly decrease to 20-25 m/s. At the 7500 m level Southwest-west 10-15 m/s winds are present, increasing on Sunday to 25-30 m/s, next week decreasing to 15-20 m/s.

A low is moving from Afghanistan via Kashmir to southern China. This will cause the strong westerly winds over Everest. On Saturday a risk of a few occasional showers is present. Then mostly dry conditions in the strong westerly flow.

Everest North: High altitude sherpas are great!

The Russian North Face just radioed in: “Shabaline's group has fixed 4 ropes along the rock line above the snow field. They are climbing very quickly and I think this part of the route is not too difficult. So, we have 15 ropes above 7200. The guys are going to prepare a place for a tent.

The weather is better, it's freezing though and the wind has changed direction. Our high-altitude sherpas began carrying loads up to 7200. They're great!”

A very strong wind is blowing today on Everest. So strong that the K2 2004 mountaineers have had to give up the ascent to 7800m and the setting up of Camp II.

"Yesterday, I slept at camp I” says Soro Dorotei, “The weather was settled and quite hot. This morning we left very early to try and set up camp II. But above 7000 m the wind was too strong and we decided to wait for better weather conditions.”

Sherpas who smoke. Patrick Bernier reports; “After more than 4 hours of intense efforts, me and Ken Stalter reached the Northern Col. At this level, there is only 42% oxygen in the air. This does not prevent certain Sherpas from smoking cigarettes, however. The climb was very difficult; I thought that my lungs were not going to hold out. Tomorrow, I will take a rest day at ABC.”

Tomorrow the Greek team plans to go up to 7,800 meters and then back to 7,050 where they will make a second overnight stay. Most of the teams are in and around ABC right now.

Everest South: BC bunker, waiting for the weather window

Irish in a Welsh valley “We are holding our position at Camp 2 Lowe Alpine to help with the acclimatization process. The Lhotse Face is an amazing site, rearing up in front of us - 4000 feet of sheer, blue ice. Camp 3 Spórt Corran Tuathail will be set up tomorrow, weather depending.”

Mountain Madness and a mock Hillary step. “This is Sarah Henley reporting from base camp. Willie and Phenden Sherpa scouted around the lower part of the ice fall for a good spot to simulate the Hillary Step. Apparently, they found a great area and fixed some ropes for the guys to practice tomorrow. After lunch Willie, Gene, the sherpas and I organized a bunch of food for camp 3 and 4. The camp 4 food is set aside for their summit attempt. Now everyone is resting in their tents listening to the snow fall. Yes, it is snowing again! It has been snowing most everyday for the past week and a half, mostly while I was gone. Folks who have been here year after year say this weather is unusual. Let’s just hope it is getting it all out of its system and things will turn around in May.”

Most teams are back in BC.

Other Mountains: Baruntse summit push

If they summit, they will dedicate the route to Patrick Berhault. Simone and the gang are ready to summit Baruntse; “Today we start for the summit attempt. We are at ABC right now, tomorrow up to 6100 m with our tent in the middle of the North Face and then after 2 days of difficult alpine style climbing we will try to reach the main summit of Baruntse.

The weather forecast said that strong wind will come in the next few days but we don't want to wait more and loose time. Annapurna is waiting for me, Denis and Boris.”

Makalu Brits at the end of their rope. “Today started with bright weather and blue skies. We were up at five and making the most of the conditions. By the time the 7 o’clock radio call occurred we were well on our way to the end of the fixed ropes (6350m) and hoping to assess the conditions for further progress. The team at Base Camp provided an update on the weather forecast we had received from Headquarters Strike Command in UK, which pointed towards similar weather.

During the early part of the morning the lead team was experiencing deep snow and quite cold conditions. However, by 7:45 the sun had come round on to the fresh snow, giving a distinct feeling of instability. Following a reassessment of the conditions, with the potential for having to reverse this section of the ridge much later in the day, the decision was made to turn back to Intermediate Camp.

All team members are now back safely in Base Camp, resting, washing and considering what the weather is going to do next. The forecast is unfortunately mixed until Tuesday but we will recuperate and prepare ourselves to take advantage of any improvement.

Late afternoon we were visited by 2 members of the Norwegian team who have been climbing on the original French route on Makalu. They have sadly pulled the plug on their attempt due to heavy snow and illness. They are now walking out to Tumlingtar.”

Mountain.ru | RussianClimb.com | Montagna.org | Ski8000 | British Services Makalu | Patrick Bernier | Hellas Everest | Mountain Madness | Simone Moro

Image of British climbers moving along fixed ropes above Int. Camp of Makalu courtesy of Makalu2004.com.

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