Actually, the first summit successes in this spring season on an eight-thousander in Nepal were expected for today, Thursday. But the push on Annapurna I ended at an altitude of about 7,400 meters. “Back at Camp 4,” Mexican Viridiana Alvarez Chavez let us know via her GPS tracker. “Thirty-five people and no one made the summit.”
The fixed ropes had run out, she added, writing that there will be another attempt to reach the highest point on Friday. This was also confirmed by the Pakistani climbers Sirbaz Khan and Abdul Joshi. They let it be known that additional material (800m rope, bottled oxygen, food and gas) was dropped by helicopter at Camp 4 at 7,300 meters.
Normally, the terrain above Camp 4 is not so steep that fixed ropes would be mandatory. But allegedly the past winter with little precipitation has led to an unexpected amount of blank ice in the upper part of the route.
It has already happened that too few ropes were taken on a summit attempt on an eight-thousander – for example in spring 2017 on Kangchenjunga. At that time, however, this led to the abortion of the attempt. The fact that equipment has now been supplied by helicopter using a long line has a new quality. Another form of “heli-doping“.
For Friday, little wind is expected in the summit zone of Annapurna. However, it has been forecast to snow from noon onwards.
P.S.: By the way, I claim copyright for the term “heli-doping”. 😉