Winter expedition to Makalu – 2008/09.
Winter expedition to Makalu led by Simone Moro, the team : Italian Simone Moro and Kazakh Denis Urubko.
2009, February 09
Listen to Simone’s voice dispatch here:
Rodrigo Granzotto Peron reports today that Simone Moro and Jerzy Kukuczka are the only climbers ever to do two true first winter ascents of 8000ers (a definition where the climb starts and ends within calendar winter).
“While Kukuckza is the ‘King of the 80s’, with firsts on Cho Oyu (1985) and Annapurna (1987), Simone Moro is the current ‘Mr. Winter’, with firsts on Shishapangma (2005) and Makalu (2008),” the statistician notes. Simone Moro will be very pleased to hear that.
Simone Moro and Denis Urubko make winter history on Makalu.
Italian Simone Moro and Kazakh Denis Urubko summited Makalu 2009, February 09 at around 2 pm local time. It’s hard to miss Simone’s triumph in his remarkable voice dispatch:
“Tina, we closed the games! Makalu is not more virgin in winter, after 29 years, I and Denis we climbed to the summit – to the last centimeter. It was incredibly hard, very cold and very windy. 7 minutes before 2 pm.”
“We started a few minutes after 6 o’clock in the morning. We climbed very well, very regularly but the last three hours… it was really…we fight with the jet stream. Makalu don’t wan’t to let us to stand on the summit…but sorry we did it!”
“So we summited Makalu in winter: Denis Urubko, Simone Moro 9th February around 2 o’clock… Another small page in history is written…Now remains only the 5 peaks of Karakorum. Ciao, thank you for the support.”
Makalu: history in pictures
“Ciao ragazzi!,” Simone cheered yesterday. “We are safe in base camp after descending 2000 meters today. Karl Gabl told us that a 160 km/h hurricane was on the way, so we rather descended all the way down to BC. We are tired…so today I am “only” posting some summit photos.”
Check the pics illustrating this….
A sweet success
This is a very sweet success for the two climbers, who haven’t always got the credit they deserve from the mountaineering community. The two men have shared spectacular climbs together in the past before splitting up for a while, and then joining forces again on Makalu this season.
With few other takers, modern winter climbs became somewhat of a Simone Moro specialty in the past five years. Up until today, only 8 out of all 14 eight-thousanders had been winter climbed. In Nepal, only Makalu remained while in Pakistan, all five 8000er summits are yet untouched by man in winter.
In an eight-year marathon during the eighties; Polish climbers had grabbed all the seven winter firsts and revolutionized Himalayan climbing. A void followed the Polish grand-slams until 2005 when two men bagged number 8, Shisha Pangma, on January 14. They were Polish Piotr Morawski and Simone Moro – who became the first non-Polish climber to bag a winter virgin in Himalaya.
The Shisha climb suffered a controvery when French Jean Christophe Lafaille summited the peak off winter, claiming a first. The mountaineer later perished in a solo attempt for the first winter climb of Makalu – Simone’s triumph today. “For sure I’m not going to Makalu to prove anything,” Simone told ExWeb prior to the climb, “least of all a search for revenge.”
Simone in fact went for Makalu following two straight years of winter attempts on Broad Peak. When he heard that a Polish/Canadian combo would attempt the peak this season, Simone rerouted to avoid competition.
“I like to climb in very small teams and I am strict about not starting before the 21st of December (calendar winter),” he told ExWeb. “So I decided to switch goals and go for Makalu instead. A part of me is sad because, after two seasons, I would have liked to finish my game on Broad – but otherwise it’s time to let someone else take their chances.”
Simone and Denis airlifted back to Kathmandu.
2009, February 13
“I started to feel cold feet and partially lost sensation in my toes. I contacted some doctors and they advised me to take some shots of Eparin and to avoid trekking down to the valley. Thus, we asked for an airlift.”
“However, we had to reach Hillary BC on foot, so we carefully walked down in the darkness, just in time to catch the chopper which arrived at 8:00 am today.”
“Once in town, I was immediately checked by a frostbite-specialist doctor, who treated the injuries – I’ll visit him for further treatment on Sunday.”
According to Simone, his feet are not at risk, but he may need some weeks for the numbness to disappear.
Meanwhile, the team’s cook and kitchen boy were scheduled to start the trek down tomorrow – they are expected back in KTM in 9-10 days time. As for Simone and Denis, they have a rather busy agenda in upcoming days. “Today we had a debrief at the Ministry of Tourism, tomorrow we are holding a press conference and the day after tomorrow we’re meeting Miss Hawley,” Simone said.
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Travel, winter expedition | Tagged: Climbers, Denis Urubko, Himalayas, Makalu, Nepal, Piotr Morawski, Polish climbers, Simone Moro, Travel, winter expedition |