Himalaya 2009 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /3/ – Week in Review.

Antarctica is closing; and with that all eyes are on Himalaya where two expeditions hope to make history any time now.

Also Aconcagua has more or less folded; following a season deadlier than usual but not without a number of triumphs. Over in Europe, Swiss Ueli Steck broke another classic North face speed record – on Matterhorn in 1 hour 56 minutes from bottom top.

A very hard row around Antarctica has kicked off and there’s also a number of interesting news from Space.

Makalu Some explorers worry little about failing tech; not so Simone Moro. “This is really a disaster, causing big damage our sponsors,” he fumed before at last, the backup modem arrived. Reason for the holdup according to Simone – porters got stuck (read: drunk) for 6 days in Sidua! As for the climb – a two-day trip to Makalu La was on this weekend before the summit push.

Broad Peak They hoped to buy some gas from a military camp. 5-ft snow made the estimated 3-hour trip longer than expected and on arrival the mil camp at Concordia’s glacier junction turned out empty, sending the climbers back to BC empty-handed for another 7 hours. The men shot some footage, directed by Robert – now Robert Vader – as part of their new sci-fi series ‘StarWspin’. Don Bowie also offered a detailed description of why Karakoram winter climbing is worse than Minnesota.

New routes, variations and record speed ascents After soloing the Colton-Macintyre route on the North face of the Grandes Jorasses in 2 hours and 21 minutes on December 28th, Swiss Ueli Steck broke another classic North face speed record January 13th – on Matterhorn. Ueli climbed the Schmidt route (TD/ED, 1100m) in 1 hour 56 minutes from bottom to summit. The Huber Brothers, teaming up with Stefan Siegrist, bagged two new routes at Antartica’s Queen Maud Land. Alex, Thomas and Stephan completed the first climb on Ulvetanna’s West buttress – Sound of silence (6c, A2, 850m, 60º); and the first route opened on Holtanna’s West face, Eiszei (6b, A4, 750m). Also on Holtanna, the team achieved the first free-climbing ascent of Skywalk (6a, 450m), on the peak’s North buttress. From Patagonia, Camilo López and Anna Pfaff report a new variation on Aguja Guillomet. Fitz Roy is next.

The spirit of it all: the Fiend, the Pole, and top ten reasons why high-altitude climbers climb A faded expedition t-shirt from the American 1999 Everest/K2 expedition reminds of a time when climbing was more difficult, but less serious. Read the back print and more from a bygone time.

Popular Re-run & ExWeb correction: ECUADORIAN Santiago Quintero Folks in South America are very proud of their emerging mountaineers. When ExWeb wrote that Santiago Quintero has set off on a crossing of 35 Andes summits in preps for K2 in May; a large number of emails notified us that he is from Ecuador – not Brazil. All the hoopla called for a re-run of an interview ExWeb made with the mountaineer last spring.

Aconcagua 2008/09 Season’s end Chronicle ExWeb’s contributor, Brazilian writer and chronicler Rodrigo Granzotto Peron compiled a season’s end report from Aconcagua – a favorite pre-Everest destination. It’s sobering reading; but not without highlights.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.
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** Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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