Rain, snow play spoilsport for Everest, Manaslu climbers

KATHMANDU: Climbing activities in the Mt Everest and the Mt Manaslu regions have been affected after the base camps and surrounding areas witnessed incessant rain and snowfall for the last three days.

“The Mt Everest base camp has already recorded around two feet of fresh snow and it’s snowing still,” Ang Kami Sherpa, a leading icefall doctor at Everest base camp, told THT Online over phone from EBC this afternoon. “The base camp area has been witnessing continuous snowfall since Thursday,” he added.

Sherpa-led team of ice doctors has already prepared a climbing route above the base camp by fixing ropes and ladders in the treacherous icefall section, which has often recorded fatal mountaineering disasters in the climbing seasons. Only one expedition team of Japanese climbers led by Nobukazu Kuriki has camped at EBC to attempt to climb the world’s highest peak.

Incessant snowfall also forced the Japanese team to change its climbing schedule. “The Japanese members had earlier planned to leave for Camp 2 on Sunday by offering special pooja at the base camp this morning, but the bad weather postponed their plan for at least three days,” Sherpa said.

Kuriki, who also climbed Lobuche peak, which has been used by Everest climbers as a warm-up climb, plans to head to Camp 2 for a rare as well as lone summit attempt on Wednesday. Earlier, bad weather caused by rain and snow had also delayed construction of climbing route for a week.

More than 106 climbers on Mt Manaslu (8,163m) have also been waiting for a fair weather to head towards the higher camps as partial snow and rain hit the eighth highest peak in the world, affecting climbing activities there. “Different teams will leave for Camp 1 on Sunday if weather allows,” Pemba Sherpa of Seven Summits Trek quoted Arnold Coster-led expedition as saying from Manaslu base camp. According to Coster, a route has already been fixed up to Camp 2.

Mountain weather expert Krishna Bhakta Manandhar said that freak weather would continue in both Everest and Manaslu regions till Monday. “Weather activity is more unstable on Everest than in Manaslu region,” he added.

According to Jeeban Ghimire of Shangri-la Nepal Treks, Mt Makalu region, however, witnesses a fair weather while Adrian Ballinger-led team, which is now skiing at the base camp, will move to higher camps in next couple of days.

Department of Tourism, under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, has issued climbing permits to 265 mountaineers representing different 42 expeditions for the autumn expeditions. Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at DoT, said that world climbers would try to climb 25 peaks including Mt Aichyn (6,055m), Mt Makalu I (8,463m) and Mt Lhotse (8,516m).