for everyone heading to eastern tibet / western sichuan soon the news is great – the end of the monsoon is happening as we speak, almost a full month earlier than last year. this is when the continental weather pattern starts to override the SE asian pattern and brings cold dry air which means a shift from rain to snow and the freeze level drops about 1000m almost overnight. this is the weather we are waiting for.

see the drop: this is the modeled forecast for Siguniangshan, which is the closest peak with a forecast to where we are headed. conditions do differ a bit as Siguniangshan sits closer to the Sichuan basin so is still more moisture affected than areas further north and west – but the shift in conditions is plain to see. this is actually a fairly normal version, with last year being unduly late.

the next month should see conditions stabilize as ground temperature drops with shorter days and the early snow, eventually freeze level settling at about 3500m. climbing-wise this means the ice will already be forming and hopefully covering much of any unstable rock. it also should mean river levels will be a bit lower and hopefully a bit more snow on the ground to solve some expected water problems. the clearer air will help a lot with the mapping duties we have.

watching the forecasts over the next couple of weeks will allow us to fine tune things, but so far it looks like a very good season ahead.