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El Nino

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El Nino

Postby whatdoIknow » Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:39 pm

I'd like to climb in the Himalayas in October this year. At times I see on the news a potential of strong El Nino mentioned for this year.

Does anyone here know how does El Nino affect fall climbing in the Khumbu?
Thanks,
Charlie
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Re: El Nino

Postby Damien Gildea » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:20 am

El Nino forms over the Pacific Ocean and strongly affects areas adjacent to that - Peru, Chile, Central America, California, Australia etc.

The Indian subcontinent and the Himalaya are affected by weather from the Indian Ocean. The main factor for Himalayan weather is the monsoon, of which there are really two - SW & NE. They come up over India and hit the Himalaya at slightly different times and at slightly different intensities depending on the exact location, the date and with annual variations. Generally this happens between early June and late September.

But of course they are connected, via the Southern Ocean, as warm water is pushed around the globe, and it seems an El Nino, currently ramping up in the Pacific, generally means a weaker monsoon for the Indian subcontinent. Bad news for farmers, good news for climbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsoon_of ... .29_effect

Last year there were two particularly strong cyclonic events happening close at the same time in October so a big front pushed up and dumped snow in Nepal in October. This is rare, but not unheard of. I doubt it would happen two years in a row, if that is any consolation.

However a weak monsoon means little snow falls high on the mountains, over 7000m, so such routes, even down to 6500m or so, can be bare and rockier, which can increase rockfall and mean nice firm snowfields can be hard ice. On the other hand, avalanche danger on the bigger peaks will be less. So, it depends what you want to climb...
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Re: El Nino

Postby whatdoIknow » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:58 pm

Thanks Damien!
The plan is Island Peak/ Ama Dablam.
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