October 22, 2011
Eben Reckord reports by sat phone that the weather today was greatly improved after the snowstorm that came through yesterday. The Annapurna Trekkers were able to successfully cross east to west over the famous Thorung La pass (17,769 ft / 5416m) which links the Manang area with Muktinath. The trekkers started before dawn at Thorung Phedi (14,500 ft / 4420 m) and climbed to the pass, then dropped all the way down to Muktinath (12,160 ft / 3710m). Geographically, the west side of the pass is much drier, very much like Tibet. Also today, Eben and the team moved up to Chulu Base Camp.
On the Everest side, Justin Merle reports that the Everest/Lobuche/Ama Dablam team also enjoyed a nice sunny acclimatization day at Lobuche BC, which melted some of the snow that fell yesterday. The team is doing well and they will be moving on schedule tomorrow to Gorak Shep.
Attached is the current weather map, showing the strong band of clouds and moisture that currently sits just to the north of the Himalayas. While the autumn is normally a pretty stable time for weather, there have been some big snowstorms at this time. For example, an all-time epic storm, in autumn 1987 dumped several meters of snow at this time of the year. With several meters of fresh snow at Everest Base Camp and in Tibet and on other Himalayan peaks, many teams and trekkers were stranded, forced to abandon their camps, and literally walk out with the clothes on their backs.