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    Image courtesy of Brad Clement.

From: Tonya Riggs
Kathmandu, November 4, 2008

Safe in Kathmandu

We are sorry that we have not communicated more frequently. We ran into many challenges with establishing a satellite connection due to poor weather and the fact that our base camp was surrounded by a cirque of high mountainous walls. None-the-less we are back in Kathmandu coming to grips with our decision to abort the climb.

When we arrived to the Base Camp of Annapurna 1 on October 17, we were very hopeful we would have a successful climb. It took us five days to hike in along side the Mistiri Kola River into the most remote valley we had ever seen. We arrived healthy and excited for the adventure that was ahead. On the 19th we left for Camp 1 and found our route was obstructed by a huge landslide. The trail just ended at a 500 ft. cliff. It appeared that the heavy rains of the past monsoon season had destroyed our path. We spent five days looking for another route and by the time we found a way that might work, we received a weather report stating the jet stream had landed on the Nepal Himalaya. As you can see by the large plume blowing off the peak of Annapurna in the photo above, the winds were raging (in excess of 100 mph). Once the jet stream lands, the season is over.

After two years of planning this trip, it was hard to turn our backs on Annapurna but one thing is for certain, the mountain is still there and it will always be there. It is best to return home with ten fingers and ten toes than to risk climbing in adverse conditions. Please continue to watch our postings and we will send more stories and photos once we return home. We appreciate that you have followed us this far.

Postcards from the Field: Annapurna

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