Blizzard at Base Camp
It's James McKee, Communications Manager for the Dare to Dream 2008 Expedition. I just received an update from Brad Clement, Expedition Co-Leader. He called on his satellite phone to share what the weather has been like at the base of Annapurna.
The team made it to Annapurna IV base camp around the 16th of September, only to be 'tent-bound' for the last 5 days. There has been tremendous amounts of snow, blizzard conditions, and avalanches. Brad said that they can't see more than a few feet outside of their tents. He says they can hear avalanches of snow fall all around them - about 2 per hour.
Due to the extreme weather, the team members only leave their tents to shovel snow, measure conditions, and figure out whether they are safe. During this weather event they are spending most of their time in tents reading, planning, and just staying safe and warm.
As soon as the weather breaks, the team will attempt a push to a higher camp. This depends on the window of opportunity, which is shrinking with each passing day.
Normally, Brad and Tonya would post live updates directly from camp, however, due to the lack of sunshine, their solar panels have not been able to charge their computer. They will post updates again as soon as the sun shines over Annapurna IV base camp.
This snowstorm is part of the monsoon season - a time when winds blowing from the Indian Ocean bring moist air over India, Pakistan, Nepal and other Asian countries. The moist air causes precipitation - rain where it is warmer and snow in the cool mountains. In this region of the Himalaya, there are normally two climbing opportunities: before the monsoon season and after the monsoon season. This team is climbing after the monsoon season, but it would appear that there was one more storm event!