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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Weather forecasts for our Himalayan treks and expeditions during 2015



The Mountain Company has recently made an agreement with EverestWeather.com (West Coast Weather, LLC) to provide professional weather forecasts for our Himalayan treks and expeditions throughout the Spring and Autumn seasons in 2015.

Following the severe weather from Cyclone HudHud that impacted Nepal in October 2014 and also Cyclone Phailin in October 2013 we have performed a detailed review and risk assessment for all of our trips in the Himalaya. As discussed in our blog post The Mountain Company statement on Cyclone Hudhudand its impact on trekking in the Himalaya (October 2014), we detected this cyclone from weather forecasts several days before impact in Himalaya. We were able to communicate this extreme weather warning to our groups in the field and the leaders took appropriate action by not crossing the high passes.

Following our review we believe it would further enhance the safety of our groups to have regular weather forecasts throughout the trekking season from an experienced organisation like EverestWeather.com. The main purpose of these forecasts is to give advanced warning of major storms that move out of the Bay of Bengal that can bring heavy rain and or snow in the Himalaya. Their forecasts are based on computer generated weather data generated from government agencies. Of course weather patterns and forecast models are very complex and these storms can quickly change course and our leaders have to be ready to adapt to these situations.

We plan to have rolling weekly forecasts provided by EverestWeather.com for the Everest region covering the next seven days. If there are any significant storms brewing then we will obtain more frequent updates between these weekly forecasts. The main purpose is to inform our leaders of the chances of a big storm, like a cyclone or a big dump of snow (i.e 10 inches or more of snow in 24 hours).  The focus of the forecast is on a big precipitation event and less focused on wind speeds.

We will also have region specific weekly forecasts for our more remote western led camping treks such as Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT, Dhaulagiri Circuit, Lunana Snowman, Kanchenjunga Circuit, Naar to Mustang and Kanchenjunga to Makalu GHT. During the course of these treks our forecaster will be keeping an eye on any systems coming towards the Himalaya and we will get further forecasts if there is any indication of cyclonic storm activity. For our expeditions to climb mountains like Mera Peak we will get specific summit forecasts including precipitation and also wind speed at high altitude.

At The Mountain Company we have always taken the safety of our groups very seriously. We believe that by investing in weather forecasts like those provided by EverestWeather.com, this will further reduce the overall risk of our groups trekking in the Himalaya. It will also increase your chances of successfully completing your objective as we can plan the itinerary around any major storms. For further information on our risk assessment process and our work toward complying with British Standard8848.

Roland Hunter

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