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Project Makalu – A Return to Nepal

Follow the team at ProjectMakalu.com.

It never fails. I’m sitting in a window seat on the right side of TG319 flying from Bangkok to Kathmandu. We’re flying at 31,000 feet, the monsoonal cloud cover is thick below us, and the tallest peaks in the world, the Himalayan giants that sit on the border between Nepal and Tibet, have just come into view poking out above the clouds. I’ve flown this flight, seen this view, literally dozens of times since 1998. It awes me all over again. I can’t believe I’ve stood on top of some of those…

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Wrapping up the 2012 Himalayan Season

Sitting poolside at the Kathmandu Hyatt in November…. this is the time and place each year that the Alpenglow guides and staff wrap-up and debrief the Himalayan season. At least it is where we begin our defrosting! Then it’s off to Thailand for our “annual meeting”. This autumn season in Nepal has been one of my most memorable since I began climbing in Nepal in 1997. And, as often happens with memorable seasons, it has had both highs and lows. The dark side is well known already – on Manaslu, a mountain I have guided and summited four times, one…

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Weather Prohibits Makalu Summit Bid

Disappointment, despair, depression, darkness and downright sadness. That could pretty much sum up the mood in our not long ago happy little ABC.

After over a week of patient waiting, recovering, meticulously preparing for the ultimate challenge of summitting, all of our hopes have been beaten into the ground. Adrian, Chad and I have been fastidiously poring over our daily weather forecasts, agonising and longing for them to show a break in the jet stream winds, but we have finally been forced to accept what has been staring us in the face for the past 48 hours. There will be…

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Waiting…

Well, we have been patiently waiting in ABC for good news on the weather and are unfortunately still waiting for our “green light” to move higher towards the summit. With that said, spirits are high and the team is prepared and ready to go when the time comes.

Until then, we are lazily enjoying our conversations, Tashi’s always amazing meals and the sunshine and breathtaking views from ABC.
So what do members do while resting and waiting for a weather window, you ask? Well, ANYTHING THEY WANT! Members have been taking hot showers, washing clothes, charging electronics, writing blogs,…

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The Base Camp Waiting Game

Sometimes waiting for a summit window is excruciating, especially on big mountains in the Himalaya where the waiting might go 1 week, 2 weeks, or longer. Here on Makalu, so far at least, the waiting is nice. We actually need a few days to celebrate our successes of the past few days, say goodbye to one of our members, and eat the creations of our head cook Tashi, drink a few beers and sodas, and watch some movies. We have also all needed some time to process the massive accident on Manaslu, a mountain that more than half our group…

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Shredding Powder at >7000 Meters!

Firstly, I apologise for the lack of footage to accompany this short update. There are only so many photos of ABC I can bore you with and, unfortunately for me, the route high on the mountain is not visible from here. Nonetheless, our team had such a spectacular day today that they have insisted I write and update you.

At about 6.30 am Adrian and Sergey left a very chilly Camp 2 with the intention of climbing up above 7000m. Initially they had entertained the idea of tagging the Makalu La at 7500m, but that idea was quickly abandoned as the…

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All OK on Makalu

Hi All, thanks for your messages and good thoughts. The Alpenglow team is safe on Makalu, not Manaslu. We have been as high as 6600 meters and are now in BC resting.

Our thoughts and energy go out to the ongoing rescue efforts on Manaslu, to our friends and family dealing with the disaster on the mountain, and to all those who have been affected by what is one of the biggest Himalayan accidents in history. 

-Adrian Ballinger, Alpenglow Expeditions…

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More from Monica!

The climbing team has made their first move with intent, up onto the snowy slopes of Mount Makalu. They left ABC this morning in several waves. Now that everyone knows their way to crampon point, and beyond that the route on the glacier is marked and roped over crevassed sections, it makes it possible for our team to move a little more independently. I’m at ABC with the radio on, logging people’s position as they call me to let me know where they are. It makes it more pleasant for everyone to be able to move at their own pace…

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Makalu Team has Arrived at ABC!

This from Alpenglow guide, Chad Peele:

Yesterday the team moved from Base camp (4800 meters) to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 5600 meters. It was a very hard day as it was a demanding altitude jump over a long distance but all members made the trek in excellent time and the scenery was extremely beautiful! 
We are super stoked to have finally arrived at our “home” for the remainder of the trip and are settling in to this amazing location. ABC is set in the talus below an ablated glacier/ ice fall where we have incrediable views of our route…

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Base Camp 4,800 Meters/15,750 Feet — Hypoxico Tents

Alpenglow’s staff has been working hard to not only get our team established on the world’s fifth tallest mountain, Makalu, but also to send pictures and dispatches back home. Our expedition doctor, Monica, and guide, Chad, have both taken their turns this week, so today’s update comes from me. There are so many stories already: exciting helicopter flights, unexpected nights in rustic towns along the Barun Valley, great food and comfort in our temporary base camp at 4,800 meters (15,750 feet), and today, a fun acclimatization hike to over 5,100 meters (16,750 feet). The hike took us over small rivers,…

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