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Breaking: Problems on Annapurna, Summit Push Aborted

Lately, for Himalayan expeditions, no news has rarely meant good news.

Around the time the climbers perched at Camp 4 were supposed to set off toward the summit of Annapurna, their trackers went crazy, showing points up, down, left and right.

Viridiana Alvarez’s tracker shows she reached at least 7,300m before turning back to Camp 4. Once there, she posted a short message through her InReach device:

“Back at Camp 4. [There were] 35 people pushing and no one was able to reach the summit. We got to 7,500m. There was no rope left. We will try again tonight.”

Seven Summit Treks and Imagine Nepal were apparently in charge of fixing the route and have yet to comment. But sources in Nepal are already reporting on the problem:

“Shortage of ropes on Annapurna I due to excessive blue ice routing above Camp 4 stopped the fixing team at around 7400m,” Dream Wanderlust reports.

Apparently, organizers have called for a helicopter to fly all the way from Kathmandu to drop 800m of fresh rope directly to higher camps.

A Long Wait at Camp 4 Could Spell Trouble

Though the problems may only be logistical, the situation in Camp 4 is potentially dangerous. Counting on a fast push during the first available summit window, climbers were not well acclimatized. Many of them are using O2 but were not expecting to remain in Camp 4 for long. They might run out of gas and food.

The long wait at altitude in freezing conditions will be even more difficult for climbers without O2.

Brazilian Moeses Fiamoncini, Pakistani climbers Sirbaz Khan and Abdul Joshi, Antonios Sykaris from Greece and Jaroslaw Zdanowicz and Waldemar Kowalewski from Poland are all reportedly without O2.

Camp 4 could get even more crowded. Some climbers spent last night in Camp 3, planning to move to Camp 4 today and reach the summit on Friday.

Retreating is not an obvious option either; climbers want to avoid repeated crossings of the dangerous passage between Camp 2 and Camp 3.

As always, the weather is key. Yesterday was rather windy and, while today’s morning forecast was good, there might be some snow showers this evening. According to the multimodel forecast, the wind is expected to increase by Saturday.

This has been an exceptionally dry winter in Nepal. This might have provided better conditions on Annapurna’s avalanche-prone sections between Camp 2 and Camp 3, but it has left the mountain’s upper slopes covered in hard, blue ice.

Source: Angela Benavides – Exploresweb