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Bad weather affects most Himalayan expeditions

The vast majority of Himalayan expeditions was affected by extremely bad weather during April and May
 Annapurna 8091m (Nepal)

(The South Face of Annapurna
photo F. Tremolada - Mnet)

Heavy snowfalls forced all expeditions to abandon their attempts to climb Annapurna. The American
Ed Viesturs and a strong French military expedition tried Annapuna’s North Face but turned back due to the high risk of avalanches.

Viesturs, together with
Neil Beidelman, reported to Himalaya journalist Ms. Elizabeth Hawley that he had never seen such massive avalanches in his entire mountaineering career.

A Spanish/International expedition led by
Josep Pujante was forced to give up on the classic 1950 route. Established by a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog, this was the first ever 8000m peak to be climbed.

Cho Oyu 8153 (Nepal)
Cho Oyu

(Cho Oyu - photo F. Tremolada - Mnet)

Many expeditions to Cho Oyu saw their hopes dashed due to bad weather which covered the entire mountain with dangerously high quantities of fresh snow

A Korean team reached the summit on 10 May, while three members of the Russian/Finnish Focus team,
Marina Ershova, Oleg Nassedkine and Evgueni Kouzmine, summited on 15 May.

Unfortunately two other members of the expedition,
Noora Toivonen and Pavel Bonadyssenko, disappeared on 5 May. They radioed for a final time near the summit and were warned about the impending bad weather.

It is presumed that the two, who were climbing a couple of rope lengths apart, reached the summit while a large storm front engulfed the mountain and that poor visibility caused them to lose their bearings.

Oleg Nassedkine waited in vain for three days for their return to Camp 3. Neither the Korean nor the Russian/Finnish expedition that reached the summit a few days later found any signs of the two mountaineers.

 Manaslu 8156m (Nepal)
Expeditions were hampered by difficult and dangerous conditions but, nevertheless, the Frenchman Jean Christophe Lafaille accomplished a brilliant and fast solo ascent of Manaslu.

Lafaille, a member of an Italian team led by
Franco Brunello (Focus World Expeditions), first tried a direct line up Manaslu's North Face but the high risk of avalanches forced him to change plans. He then climbed a line to the left of the normal route on the NE Face and reached the summit in just 3 days on 5 May.

His chosen line included some previously unclimbed ground which, although steeper and technically more difficult than the normal route, is less prone to avalanches. The first section to Camp 1 is reported to have been critical however. Lafaille required just 20 days for his approach, climb and return.

The rest of the team was rewarded for its two-week tenacious wait when four members summited.

The Spaniard
Pepe Garces, who reached the summit in extremely cold conditions, suffered frostbite and was evacuated by helicopter. Reports from Spain indicate that Garces' condition is less serious than was originally thought. He should make a full recovery.

 Shisha Pangma 8013m (China)
High winds and dangerous snow conditions left expeditions with little chance of success, but a Korean and a Japanese team summited.

The Italian
Diego Zubani and the German Ralph Glas (Focus) turned back at 7700m because of appalling snow conditions.

 Makalu 8481m (Nepal)

(Makalu - photo F. Tremolada - Mnet)

The Italians
Abele Blanc, Christian Kuntner and Stefan Andres (Focus) reached the summit of Makalu on 15 May at 13.30 after setting out from Makalu La, 7500m.

Other team members included Marco Bianchi and Andrea Rosa.

Further information:

Focus Expeditions

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