Costa Mesa, Ca.
October 18, 2016
Dear Family & Friends:
The Autumn 2016 climbing season has not been kind to climbers.
2016 brought a heavy and extended Monsoon season, resulting in a massive amount of snow being deposited on the mountains. This has severely complicated expedition plans and strategies and resulted in many teams ending their quests for the summit of mountains in the Himalaya. Alan Arnette posted a typically thorough description of the Autumn state of play in the Himalaya.
Three mountains in close proximity to Burke-Khang are worthy of note.
There were no attempts to summit Mt. Everest from the South (Nepal) side in the Autumn of 2016. However, there were 2 noteworthy attempts to climb Mt. Everest from the North (Tibet) side. Kilian Jornet planned a speed climb of Mt. Everest from the North side via the Horton or Hornbein color He cancelled his climb due to deep snow on the North Face of the mountain. As reported in my last post, Japanese climber, Nobukazu Kuriki, ended his sixth, Autumn, solo climb of Mt. Everest via the Hornbein colouir due to “conditions of the snow and physical condition.” Mt. Everest is just 9-miles from Burke-Khang.
Tenzing and Hillary Peaks
Burke-Khang was opened for climbing by the government of Nepal on May 23, 2014. At that time, the government also opened 103 other peaks for climbing. One of the peaks was named after Tenzing Norgay and another peak was named after Sir Edmund Hillary. Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary are the first persons to summit Mt. Everest. Tenzing Peak and Hillary Peak are located just a few miles from Burke-Khang. Canadian climber, Elia Salkaly, and Pasang Kaji Sherpa launched an expedition this Autumn to be the first persons to climb Tenzing and Hillary Peaks. Mr. Salkaly recently posted this message on Facebook:
“After very careful analysis of the risk vs. rewards scenario, we decided as a team that it is best to end our efforts and surrender due to the unstable terrain and the extreme high level of risk. The Monsoon season has been relentless, one of the longest the locals have seen in ages. We could push on and force our way up the mountain, but the reality is that it’s only going to become more dangerous as we climb higher. Buried crevasses invisible to the eye between camp one and two are but our first set of concerns. Beyond camp one and two, we would then have to deal with a ticking clock, deep snow and unpredictable avalanches higher up.”
David and I will begin our 50+-mile trek to Burke-Khang on October 27. We hope our late Autumn start will bring us friendlier conditions on the mountain and a consolidation of the snow, which will allow us to navigate around the hidden crevasses, fix a safe route through the cornices on the summit ridge and avoid the ever-present risk of avalanche. We have the advantage of experience with the mountain, as a result of my expedition last year, and time, which will not be a limiting factor this year.
Liftoff from LAX is just 5-days away.