The Polish are at it again – cool climbs are coming up in winter Himalaya. A couple of fatalities have taken place on Ama Dablam, with details sketchy at least regarding one of them. There were debriefs from Nuptse and Anna II; and plans emerging for Everest 2009.
Flattened tents, broken bindings and bruised ribs; one waits for an evacuation and another is in bed with flu and fever. Skiers are struggling towards the pole with considerable difficulty; Antarctica is full throttle.
Through the good and the bad – such are the lives of the free and the brave. Due to the shuttle launch ExWeb’s WIR was scrubbed last so here goes a two week review.
Pumori accident report French female climber and sky-runner Corinne Favre was seriously injured on Pumori. “She got hit square in the chest by a very large chunk of ice the size of an armchair,” Fabrizio Zangrilli, who was leading another team on the mountain, told AFP news agency. The American mountain guide hauled Corinne down for over four hours, before Sherpas and other team members were able to reach them and help. Favre suffered multiple fractures and serious chest injures.
Bad form on Island Peak “When you decide to take down a fixed line, please be sure no one is rappelling on it!” An FTA team leader reported that Island Peak was busy with a lot of egos, inexperienced climbers and territorial Sherpas. One of the teams reportedly began to take down a rope that someone was still rappelling down.
Ama Dablam fatality After summiting on the 4th of November, FTA team member Wei Cui fell while rappelling down the Grey Tower and was fatally injured. After falling from approximately 6300m he came to rest near 5800m on the south facing slopes below the tower. “Wei Cui’s body was recovered but the cause of his fall is unknown,” reported FTA.
Another fatality on Ama Dablam EverestNews.com reported that a French climber, named by Gyanendra Shrestha with the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation only as “Jean Mary,” on a different Ama Dablam expedition died in the same place as Wei Cui around November 1st. A loose end of a fixed rope could have been mistaken by both climbers who simply rappelled off the end, the source reported.
Over on Makalu, hoping for a last-minute chance, on November 4th Steve House rushed up Makalu’s west face on his own – only to be sent back down again by the strong wind. “It feels like this has been a very long trip to me,” Steve concluded. “Everything that could have gone wrong in an expedition actually went wrong: we had problems with logistics, we all got sick, BC was extremely cold, and wind virtually never stopped. However, we’ve spotted at least two potential routes up the West face which may be climbed alpine style – it’s one of the greatest walls on one of the finest, most difficult mountains in the world. I have the feeling that we will be back in the future – it’s still a great target.”
Annapurna II debrief “Strong, freezing, winds wouldn’t stop, so that we never reached higher than 7200m,” Croatian Ivan Ferencak told ExplorersWeb. “Some of our members got hurt on our last attempt: One guy was hit by falling rocks, which luckily caused only minor injuries; others were literally blown off from the ridge by the wind, and sled down steep slopes. Our C3 at 6900m was destroyed by the wind the night after our retreat from the first summit attempt, and we never got to rebuild it after that. Also, some massive seracs broke and fell right on our route from C2 to C3, so we had to find a new, harder but safer way around. Still, we enjoyed the climb and the experience,” the Croatian climber concluded.
Kang Guru: “I have personally enjoyed the experience of Kang Guru and although we are all disappointed about not reaching the summit, I think we have had quite an unique expedition by having such a seldom climbed mountain all to ourselves,” reported Altitude Junkies/Project-Himalaya team leader Phil Crampton.
Everest 2009 With rumors that restrictions in Tibet will not let up next year; most Everest expeditions are setting their sights set on Nepal’s southern side. “Everest from Tibet looks like being closed again in spring 2009 so we are heading back to the warmer, although more expensive side of the mountain,” Altitude Junkies reported. Phil Crampton and Project-Himalaya’s Jamie McGuinness will lead upcoming expeditions on Everest’s south side and Lhotse. Also headed for the south side are Peak Freaks, Adventure Consultants, Alpine Ascents, IMG, MM, etc.
Dutch comment to BBC Nangpa La documentary Nov 10, ExWeb’s mailboxes were suddenly littered again by the trademark Chinese spam we grew so accustomed to this past Everest spring. Soon, an explanation arrived. A BBC documentary had just aired about Nangpa La. “That the Chinese border patrols shoot Tibetans trying to flee to Nepal should not come as a surprise to us,” commented a Dutch viewer in an email to ExWeb. “But the naïve lack of awareness is disturbing. Even more so when people who have been witness to these killings start to quarrel about whether to make these images and facts known to the public at large. ‘I could loose my permit’ is their defense. You should not even want to be on Everest […] praise to the Romanian cameraman and the American who understood where one should stand, and shame to those that doubt if their presence on Everest or other expeditions in the future is in danger.”
Nuptse South face debrief After acclimatizing up to C1 on Ama Dablam, on October 27th Stéphane Benoist and Patrice Glairon-Rappaz launched their single-push on Nuptse. The climbers dug a small ledge on ice for their first bivy night at 6,500m, and progressed on vertical ice up to 6,800m the next. On day three, they left ropes and gear behind at 7,100 meters and shot straight for the summit ridge at 7,700m where they got at 7:00pm. They retrieved the gear on descent and reached the second bivy spot at 2:45 am, finally rappelling down crystal-ice walls all the way back to BC on October 30th. Stéphane and Patrice named the 2,000 meters-long, up to 90º new route “Are you experienced?”, and graded it M5. “The route demanded all the stamina, will-power and experience we had assembled through our entire lives as alpinists,” they concluded.
Polish winter action ahead! Artur Hajzer will lead Robert Szymczak and Canadian Don Bowie (both part of the rescue attempt of Inaki Ochoa this past spring) on Broad Peak this winter. Artur has five 8000ers under his belt (latest Dhaula in May with Robert), three of them climbed via new routes, and the first winter climb on Annapurna. Arthur and Robert were also members in the Polish winter attempt on Nanga parbat two years ago (with Szymczak as expedition Doc). A second Polish team led by Jacek Teler will attempt Nanga Parbat.
American Alpine Journal call for New-route Reports It’s that time again! Submit your climbing report and images to the American Alpine Journal – the 2009 edition is one month early this year so you need to get your stuff together fast. You’ll get your place in history and will also help others to plan and estimate their future climbs.
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Week-In-Review | Tagged: Ama Dablam, Annapurna II, Artur Hajzer, Broad Peak, Climbers, Everest, Expedition, Himalayas, Island Peak., Makalu, Nuptse, Pumori |