Based on crucial forecasting from local weather consultancy service Weather4Mountain, an Adventure Partners expedition team called time on their ascent of 7,000m Khan Tengri in Kazakhstan. From arrival at base camp, mid-July, conditions gradually worsened until the threat of severe snow storms and gales forced them to abandon a final push for the summit at the end of the month. All team members made it back to base safely.
Stephanie Ball, CEO and Chief Meteorologist for Weather4Mountain, a service offered by her Gibraltar-based private weather consultancy MeteoGib, commented: “As many mountaineers will tell you, finding the perfect ‘weather window’ is not always achievable and sometimes our role is merely to forewarn of deteriorating weather conditions. For three weeks we emailed bespoke forecasts to Adventure Partners expedition leader, Markku Mellanen, detailing winds and weather at several altitudes for a three- to five-day period. But it became obvious that conditions were more unsettled than expected at this challenging peak and, with storms and gales looming, it was the right decision to abandon the summit and retreat.”
Markku Mellanen, Managing Director of Adventure Partners, explained, “Khan Tengri is the northernmost 7,000m mountain and infamous for bad weather. Not an easy assignment, even for the most professional weather forecasting services. Not only was MeteoGib the clear winner in our base camp’s daily ‘weather forecast accuracy competition’ but they were also truly committed to the safety of our expedition. I find it very easy to recommend Weather4Mountain's services to anyone scaling real heights."
Weather4Mountain uses a code that allows as much weather data as possible to be conveyed into a short message, ideal for delivery by SMS to a SAT phone or Tracker. Although the business is just a few months old, albeit with Stephanie’s 28-year Met Office career under her belt, Adventure Partners isn’t the only company indebted to Weather4Mountain’s insights. Richard Hartley, owner of Sierra Nevada-based Spanish Highs Mountain Guides, helped Stephanie devise the code and put it to the test on an expedition to the Patagonia ice caps last winter.
For ten consecutive days, a bespoke three-day forecast was sent in code from Gibraltar to Richard’s Yellow Brick Tracker, with the aim of identifying a weather window which would get the team safely onto the Marconi Glacier. Weather4Mountain was able to monitor the team’s altitude and exact position via the Tracker and tailor the forecast to their current position. The expedition was a success with the Marconi Glacier and expedition goals achieved safely. Richard tweeted: “Appreciate the help of @MeteoGib in sending us daily mountain weather forecasts. Couldn’t have done this without you!”
Designed with mountaineers in remote areas in mind, Weather4Mountain gives extra confidence in making fundamental decisions and ensuring wellbeing. Delivering forecasts directly to mobiles, sat phones or tracking devices, Weather4Mountain can stay in close contact, even in locations where data and communications are sparse.
Stephanie finishes, “MeteoGib’s Weather4Mountain service may not always be able to ensure you succeed in your ultimate challenge – but it will do its best to keep you and your team safe”.