Makalu 2017 Expedition Dispatches

Dispatch #1- March 26, 2017 – Kathmandu

It’s that time of year again and the start of our 2017 Himalayan spring season. This year for the first in many we will not be climbing on Everest but heading to Makalu instead. The increased numbers of climbers expected this season on Everest and Lhotse left us with a very difficult decision to make, and we decided for the safety of our climbing staff, to sit this year out and head to a mountain without the crowds. We do have some Junkies climbers from the 2014 and 2015 cancelled climbing seasons on “The Big E” this season and we wish them a safe and successful climb.

At a meeting held last week in Kathmandu with some of the members from the Expedition Operators Association whom have teams on Makalu this spring, it was decided to ask the Junkies to coordinate the rope fixing on Makalu this season. It looks as if we will have the largest number of climbing Sherpa in attendance and this with our experience of fixing ropes on Everest, Manaslu and Dhaulagiri we decided to accept the offer. All Sherpa present at base camp from the various groups will have the chance to contribute manpower to the rope fixing and will be paid bonuses accordingly.

Altitude Junkies have already purchased and packed all the rope and hardware and these items will make their way to base camp by helicopter in a few days time. A big thank you to both Black Diamond and Petzl for making our job of rope fixing safer this season with their awesome hardware and ropes.

Our team members will be arriving in Kathmandu the first week of April. We plan to spend a couple of days in Kathmandu finalizing permits, etc., and then we will fly directly to Namche Bazar by helicopter. After trekking up to Dingboche where we plan to spend a few evenings, we will fly directly from Pheriche to Makalu base camp by helicopters where we plan to meet our climbing and kitchen staff.

I was just in Pangboche and Namche for one evening this past week sorting out loads for an Everest expedition and was surprised how quiet the trail was of foreign trekkers. I am assuming this will all change in a few weeks when the Everest season kicks in.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all western climbers and their respective Sherpa companions a safe and successful spring climbing season.

The above photos show our Sherpa preparing the rope and hardware for the Makalu spring season rope fixing.

Phil Crampton

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