Autumn 2016

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.

Mt. Everest

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.

Bill Burke




13 thoughts on “Autumn 2016

  1. Hi Bill,
    I love the north to south lake loop. I actually did it with my wife and DOG! back in 1989. Since then Ive really explored the lamarck col area, darwin bench and next year that area behind sapphire and wanda. Back in 1989 I was sternly informed by this german guy of the illegality of bringing a pooch into Kings Canyon. I completely spaced that a decent section is actually in the park. Well I found the ranger in Evolution and he was having a powwow with Randy Mortganson the ranger who died and there was a great book published about him. Those guys let me through without a ticket. I just had to sneak around the lacont ranger heading up to Dusy Basin. Val Cheyenne and I went around his cabin at 6am. This summer was fantastic. I love Kings Canyon and while in the POKEY I examined that area in great detail. I absolutely love the Great Western Divide (sub range of the sierras). I went over Colby pass late sept and saw 2 people in 6 days of my 8 day solo trip. I prefer to hike solo as all my friends are more interested in other activities. Cloud and deadman canyons are so surreal. i love high alpine but some of these Sierra 9000- 11000 foot long canyons are just incomprehensible in beauty and solitude. I ended up doing 21 days this summer before i blue out 2 hernias coming down colby pass. Surgery slated for nov 30th. I think I might seek out to iva bell hot springs for some Rand R before winter sets in. Had a nice rain storm over the weekend. hey if you like to river raft my best friend Keith stephens owns a company on the Kern. I could set you up with a nice family trip if thats something you might want to do. your daughter lisa was amazing to me. She really is a special person. Somehow i got lucky in that dept.

  2. I felt the sting of the extended monsoon season on my trek to Everest BC in mid-September. To say the weather was not ideal would be an understatement and the blue bird skies in all of the brochures were in short supply while I was there. Nonetheless, it’s hard to be disappointed in Nepal and I was very grateful to be there. I hope your expedition see improved conditions and you have a safe climb to the summit. Warm wishes to you and your crew.

  3. Good Luck Bill Burke,

    Following your story from Kent, Washington. I am reminded of your tremendous courage and fortitude whenever I gaze at Mt. Rainier.

    My sincerest best wishes and success for you and your team.

    Your story continues—

    Priscilla Ferreira
    Delta Air Lines employee

  4. Thank you for the post, Bill. I follow all your updates and am sure hoping you find conditions good for your climb. Wishing you and David and crew a safe and successful summit of your mountain.

    Judy and Dave

  5. Well,Bill, it is another of your Canadian followers, here, still hanging onto every word that you sent out in your most recent blog. Safe travels, and I will be rooting for you during your climb…. I look forward to your story when you are back down, and back in the USA…

  6. I was excited for you when you posted about your upcoming expedition. I had the pleasure of meeting David when we were on the N. Side of Everest in 2013. He is a remarkable adventurer and I hold you both in very high esteem. Be safe and best of luck to both of you and your other team members.


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