Arkistot ajalle toukokuu, 2014

lauantai 31. toukokuu 2014 13:42

Upcoming trips (Newsletter 31th May)

Apologies for long period between regular newsletters and thanks for being patient! I don’t know if you all noticed that April-May we were climbing Kangchenjunga in Nepal. At 8586-meters Kangchenjunga is World’s 3rd tallest peak and I was successful in reaching it’s summit on May 18th at 8:30am after having reached basecamp (5500m.) on April 18th. As this climb was of personal nature instead of guiding I completed it without sherpa-support above basecamp as well as without aid of oxygen bottles.
Find the details of summit-day in blog here!

Please follow me on Twitter and Instagram to be the first to hear about our climbs this summer!

My guided trips are starting again in August as I am leading Aventura’s trip to Mongolia! I am very much looking forward to this. See the program here and sign-up!

Altitude Junkies Aug-Oct Manaslu expedition is a go, as for many years now! I think Manaslu definitely is one of the most beautiful 8000-meter peaks and a good climb if you are dreaming of breaking the 8000-meter line. You still have time to sign-up for this year’s trip!

For me Nepal’s autumn trekking-season starts in late-September. First we’ll do Annapurna Circuit, my favorite followed by Annapurna Basecamp. Still spots available although act quick if you want to make sure you fit in!

What I think is probably the most interesting trip of the year is brought to you by Altitude Junkies! When I first went to Nepal in 2005 I had plans on climbing Cholatse, a beautiful 6440-meter peak in Khumbu. We did not back then eventually climb it but ever since I have wanted to. So in October-November Altitude Junkies takes you there on a trip led by both Phil and me! The expedition is operated by high Altitude Junkies’ standards. This is an outstanding opportunity if you have f.ex. thought of climbing Ama Dablam but don’t like the crowds. An absolutely outstanding peak in heart of Khumbu!
Contact info@altitudejunkies.com for enquiries and check the details here.

After Cholatse I will be continuing trekking-season on Manaslu Circuit. Check Aventura’s program here.
Manaslu Circuit is for sure ”The Hot Trek” right now. Due to improved infrastructure it is growing fast and I think it at the moment offers the most diverse trek in very authentic setting.

After Christmas I am leading Aventura’s trek to Aconcagua (6959m.), the highest peak outside Himalayas. This has already been confirmed so sign-up now and join me, if you ever thought of going there!

Find me on Instagram and Twitter to follow my trips around the World!

Enjoy summer, wherever you are!

Samuli

sunnuntai 25. toukokuu 2014 7:48

Kangchenjunga Summit on May 18th 2014

Weather forecasts gave us a short window with milder winds for 17th and 18th. Soon it appeared that almost all teams decided to go for the first of the two meaning they would leave basecamp on 14th.
I instead spent one more day resting at BC minimizing days spent at altitude and climbed direct to my Camp 2 (7000m.) on early morning of 15th reaching it at around 11am.
I was amazed to pass people climbing on oxygen (and of course as guided, with no load) from 6200 meters onwards. Even still, it took some of them over 10 hours to do what took me 2,5 to 3,5 hours with a load.
Later that day one team’s forecast had altered slightly predicting strong winds for 17th. This led all teams except for one postponing their anticipated summit by one day. This team of two we later heard summited on 17th being the first of the season on top.

On 17th I climbed to 7450m reaching it by noon. Put up my Camp 3 which would serve as my ”summit-camp” and started making preparations for summit-day and resting as much as possible. The weather was amazing and you could see a beautiful sea of clouds covering everything from low Yalung Glacier all the way to above Bay of Bengal.
Climbers were arriving at camp slowly, some of them as late as 4-5pm. Many of these late arrivals just sat down to start on a new bottle of oxygen and went on continuing towards summit – at 5pm!
I wanted to get some sleep but after all the preparations I was so focused on my objective that I don’t think I could sleep a tiny bit.

kangchenjunga-summit_01

kangchenjunga-summit_02

I left my tent at 8pm on evening of 17th. Weather was warm and with no wind at all. It was a very beautiful night to for for the top.
Between 9pm and 10pm I was passing climbers who had left high camp at 5pm. These people would end up having a terribly long day and not all of them would summit. Passed an Indian girl who seemed to have trouble walking wearing crampons. Few days later it occurred that this girl did not return to basecamp.
Two sherpa of the Korean team had set off early in the afternoon to fix the route from 8000 meters to summit and they were far ahead. Eventurally I met the two with a climber of Korean team and the four of us went on to establish route on the complex summit-ridge at above 8000 meters.

On Kangchenjunga normal route it is very easy getting to top of so-called ”gangway” at 8000 meters. This obvious snow ramp leads you to beginning of difficulties. Many climbers say they have had major problems finding route on this long rocky section and thus also finding way down. I can imagine! So complex it was with route looking up only like a massive, complex area of mixed terrain it being impossible to say what part of ridge above you was the highest.
At 4am it starts to get light although the route stays in shade until 9. It was calm. I felt very warm and as the visibility was good we were able to climb as fast as we could. I was the only one of the four of us without oxygen but I had no trouble keeping up with the others. What bugs me is that I always end up taking very little photos on summit-day due to cold and also being so totally focused on climbing and route-finding. Here and there you could find bits and pieces of old ropes indicating that we were on right tracks. Although at times I thought we were going to miss summit by going too far West on the ridge.

kangchenjunga-summit_03

Rocky summit-ridge on Kangch normal route is difficult climbing with many narrow passages and chimney-like moves between blogs of rock. You could easily fall down here and get hit on rocks lower down. The ridge felt it was going on forever! By looking at the neighboring peaks Jannu and Yalung Kang I tried to estimate our altitude.
It looked like we were coming to the end of the ridge and I came to see a unique shaped rock underneath what we would be climbing. Recognized the rock from pics I had seen. Behind rock I came to find a short snow-arete leading to a bump which would be the highest point. Korean and two sherpa were standing on the summit of Kangchenjunga and I soon followed. You could see everywhere around you with nothing above you. There was nowhere to climb. You could stand on the very highest point of the peak. No cornice, no fore summits – this is it!

It was windy so I did not spend much time there. Did not make phone calls, did not take many pictures. Better to keep your hands in your mitts. It was 8.30am and I had climbed as fast as I could for 12,5 hours. I was tired and being up there without oxygen I knew that the faster I get down the better. I was well acclimatized and my sensations and feelings were clear however.

kangchenjunga-summit_04

kangchenjunga-summit_05

I started down with the three. Very soon down we met the Spanish team arriving to the summit. The lower we got the more people we came to meet. There was going to be many summits on Kangchenjunga this year. Some earlier, some later. Most on oxygen but not everyone.

Climbing these altitudes without oxygen is bad for you. Every minute at above 7500 meters is too much. I had to get down as fast as I could and despite fairly tricky climbing and having to pass people I got down to my high camp right after noon. I had thought of just pulling my tent down without stopping but I was too tired and I fell asleep in my tent with boots and crampons sticking outside.
Woke up, packed down everything and descended down to camp 2. Packed my camp 2 down and went on for even lower altitudes. However, I was still at 7000 meters.
Every 100 meters you get lower, you’re feeling like your level of awareness is increasing. You feel like you are waking up from a long dream, you feel like every new 100 meters feels easier than the previous. You seem to feel how air pressure fills your lungs better on every breath. Your legs are not burning as much anymore. You are returning back to life.

At first I wanted to get to basecamp that very same day but as I was too tired I slept at my camp 1 (6250m.) overnight. Following morning I woke up at around 6am, pulled everything down and headed over ”the shoulder” and got to basecamp at 8ish.
That day I packed my stuff at basecamp and I started my trek-out on morning of 20th.
First day I walked to Thorongden where I found the Korean team sherpa and part of their kitchen staff. They asked me to join them for trek out and we had hell of a fun time and went through a lot of thongba and chang. 22nd we walked from Thorongden to Khewang and 23rd to Taplejung in where I found one of the great ones, Mario Panzeri of Italy looking for a barber-shop! Mario had been attempting a new route on Taplung Peak and was also on his way to Kathmandu. He also joined us and what fun times we had driving back to Kathmandu in Korean team’s bus carrying their staff and equipment!
So eventually I got back in Kathmandu on 23rd and for now I am only waiting for my own luggage to arrive from the mountain. Many summits on Kangchenjunga this year and I feel I was very lucky to have succeeded in scaling this notorious and high peak.

Thank You very much for following my trip on World’s third tallest peak! Please return to my homepage for new travels and also for more photos from this one! Find me also on Twitter and Instagram.

Samuli

sunnuntai 18. toukokuu 2014 16:29

Samuli summits Kangchenjunga!

Samuli summits Kangchenjunga on morning of 18th! On whole climb Samuli operated himself on the mountain above basecamp (5500m). No bottled oxygen was used. Kangchenjunga is Samuli’s 8th 8000-meter peak. Detailed account on summit-day in blog here.

At 8586 meters Kangchenjunga is World’s third tallest peak and located in Eastern Nepal bordering India.

Kangchenjunga-summit_18052014

Samuli saavutti Kangchenjungan 8586-metrisen huipun 18.5. klo 8:30. Samulilla ei ollut apuna oppaita/sherpoja/kiipeilykaveria perusleirin (5500m.) yläpuolella eikä nousussa käytetty pullotettua happea. Kangchenjunga on Samulin 8. yli 8000-metrinen vuori.
Blogikirjoitus huippupäivän kulusta täällä (englanniksi).

Kangchenjunga on maailman kolmanneksi korkein vuori ja sijaitsee itä-Nepalissa rajautuen Intiaan.

 

tiistai 13. toukokuu 2014 10:28

Last rotation before the next one

After so many days at basecamp (5500m.) I decided to give my body one more kick in the butt to acclimatize and tolerate altitude before the summit-push. Kind of just telling that it is not over yet!

So on morning of 11th I climbed to my camp 2 at 7000 meters. Having reached it so quickly I then decided to go ”touch” the altitude of 7500 meters. At 7400 meters I got hit by a very strong wind so I retreated to my camp 2 to spend a night.

I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. Or in fact, I didn’t think it was going to be that big. The snowfall I mean. Having started in late afternoon it soon snowed a good meter. After all that snow the wind got so terrible that it was impossible to get a night of sleep having my tent getting a terrible beating.

1705_1

In the morning I was expecting to do what would be a normal, leisurely 2 hour descend to basecamp. What not! All the tracks were gone and all the fixed ropes were buried under two to four foot of snow from last night’s storm. It became a freaking terrible descent digging out all the ropes and anchors. Did not want to descend without as I know there’s a good amount of crevasses on the route.

In some parts of the route I was wading in chest-deep snow most parts being knee-to-waist-deep. However, got eventually to basecamp and are now thus thoroughly acclimatized for the next and hopefully last rotation.

1705_2

It’s been very windy on the peak last couple days and I am now getting hints of a window (thanks to my amazing weather-guy in Seattle!). It seems that all the other teams are finding the same change as it seems all the climbers in basecamp and aiming for 17th summit. That meaning everyone’s leaving basecamp on 14th. So please, wish us luck and follow the summit-push on Twitter!

perjantai 2. toukokuu 2014 12:00

Rotations and acclimatizing done

It is snowing on Kangchenjunga. It’s done that for two days now and I am glad I got my rotations done perfectly on time!

I arrived at basecamp on 18th. After a couple days rest I did my first rotation starting on 22nd. I then went to set up my camp 1 at approx. 6250m and spent the night there. Following morning I climbed through so called ”icefall” to 7000 meters to set up my camp 2. Returned to basecamp after that as I thought I might not be acclimatized well enough to take a night at that altitude.

Camp2

My last rotation was to finalize my acclimatizing and getting all my ”fixed high-camps” as I like to call them, ready for summit-push.

On 28th I climbed to my already set-up camp 1 and the following day to my camp 2. On 30th I went on higher up to seek for a place to set up my camp 3, which later would serve as my ”summit assault-camp”. I also wanted to spend a night there to acclimatize as I will be climbing without oxygen.

May 30th was an exceptionally beautiful day! I set up my tent at 7450 meters. Spending a night here would definitely finalize my acclimatizing and also let me get a feel of the upper part of the mountain. From here it is possible to easily scope almost entire route to the top. Only the complex rocky upper part to the very top remains kind of hidden.

Night was extremely cold and in the morning I was just lying and waiting for the sun to hit the tent and start warming it up before I would head down. Well it didn’t and as I unzipped the door to see how far the sun would be I got a whole different view than in the evening. Sky was all black as far as eye could see. Bad weather was definitely closing in just as the spanish had told me a couple days earlier. I had no choice but to pack down everything and retreat to basecamp as quickly as possible.

Camp3

So now it’s been very heavy snow also down here and it might take a while. However, I am now perfectly acclimatized and ready to go for the top just as soon weather grants it. It might take a week, might take two or three. However, I’ve got everything ready and planned.
Follow me on Twitter to get the latest updates and news on summit-push!

The pictures show camp 2 at 7000 meters and my camp 3 (7450m.) and Kangchenjunga summit on the background.