Himalaya 2010 climbing season: ExplorersWeb 2010 Year in Review.

Remember the series “Women in Himalaya – Amazons fighting the Dark Ages”? Or the interviews with the adventure teens; and one mother about how to let go? Or that it’s only ten months since ExplorersWeb 3.0?

Remember the Menu Upheaval at the Explorers Club after glazed scorpions were substituted by roast beef? Or that had it not been for the Chinese; Miss Oh’s near-summit might not have mattered?

Remember how the unsupported skiers were plucked from the ice one by one this hard Arctic season, until only one rookie team remained? So much went down in addition to the usual drama in the Himalayas, that even though we cut out most of the big interviews, world treks, and stuck only to the record stats — the 2010 ExplorersWeb Year In Review is still massive enough to keep you busy for a while. Here goes.

January

It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog: “Life is too short to worry about what might have been” said Geoff Holt when crossing the Atlantic in a catamaran on 7 January, 25 years after being paralyzed. With that he kicked off the brand new 2010 at ExplorersWeb.

Ciao Amore: “You can’t love a climber if you don’t love the mountain.” Luca Vuerich perished while ice climbing in Slovenia. In her final words to him, Nives’s sister Leila Meroi hoped to send a message to those who wish to find a meaning in life’s circumstances no matter how hard they get.

A number of teams reached the South Pole during the holidays: Cecilie and Ryan arrived on New Year’s Eve after skiing 1173 km in 49 days. Amazingly, they turned their compasses north to reach the Ross Sea at the other side of the continent. It took some final wobbly turns on the Devil’s Dance Floor but yes, this Antarctica crossing was a major world’s first.

In his 1911-14 expedition to Antarctica, Douglas Mawson took a wingless, single propelled plane with to use as an “air tractor” to haul supplies. On New Years Day 2010 a team found parts of Mawson’s plane near his huts at Cape Denison.

The Dome: 1974 – 2009. The prominent feature at the destination of the South Pole skiers was deconstructed. ANSMET reported 1010 meteorites found during the 2009-10 hunts.

News sources reported incorrectly that 17-year old British Katie Walter “became the youngest person to ski to the South Pole” and “broke 18-year-old Canadian Sarah McNair-Landry’s record set five years ago”. Walter in fact covered more than 80% of the route in an airplane. Sarah McNair-Landry thus remains the youngest person to ski to the South Pole.

Mars Ocean Odyssey: Mission accomplished! The old sails worn out, his last laptop shot on day 970, on January 16 Reid Stove completed 1,000 days at sea without touch of land or taking any resupplies – an astonishing world record.

ExWeb 2010 CES report: “You can never be too rich or too thin” wrapped the 2010 Sin City consumer electronics show. The future will also come to who has the best touch and biggest bandwidth. But who’ll be the first to film Everest in 3D? And while simplifying is good, there is a thin line between that and down-dumbing concluded ExWeb’s 2010 CES report.

February

It’s faster, it’s bigger, it’s interactive! You asked for it and we built it. Following 400 programming hours and marking our 10-year anniversary; a new ExplorersWeb was born. Now just one single website, 7 brand new areas were added to the regular content with a host of new features overall.

Contact 5 was price-slashed to below US $300 while upgraded: go live with text, images and video to Expedition Website, Twitter, Facebook and more with one single click.

American speed climber Chad Kellogg debriefed his under-the-radar solo on Aconcagua’s wild south face.

Studying aerial images taken at 8200m, Everest researcher Tom Holzel believes he has spotted Mallory’s climbing partner: “Now all we need is some boots on the ground to prove it one way or the other – and bring back Irvine’s folding Kodak camera,” he wrote at ExWeb. The quest is still on after a few secretive teams failed the search later in May.

Male Himalayan climbers often have kids but female mountaineers are rarely mothers. Moreover, men leaving their family for risky exploration are admired while women doing the same thing are criticized. Why is that? The entire issue a red-hot taboo: ExplorersWeb threw in the grenade and asked women high altitude mountaineers for their opinions in the “Women in Himalaya – Amazons fighting the Dark Ages” special series.

A Kiwi team excavated five crates from beneath Ernest Shackleton’s 1909 hut on Antarctica. Three crates were labeled as containing whisky and two labeled as containing brandy.

A new NASA budget was proposed by the government. The constellation program and human exploration were scrubbed. There was a general mention of “game changing technologies” but no real goals or timelines were specified. 6 Billion were to go to private entrepreneurs, but who were they? ExWeb provided some answers.

March

Edurne Pasaban’s original plan to climb Shisha Pangma first was thwarted by Chinese authorities who, against previous agreement, stated suddenly that no climbing permit would be issued in Tibet until April. China closed the Tibetan border to climbers and tourists alike, in advance of the Tibetan Uprising anniversary.

Still within calendar winter, Edurne rerouted for a yet lonely Annapurna where the team held their puja, fixed rope and bagged the summit all in one breath. When Miss Oh arrived, the two briefly met, after which Edurne returned to Shisha Pangma.

Edurne Pasaban told a journalist and Miss Hawley about the Sherpa stating that Miss Oh never reached the summit of Kangchenjunga last year. Miss Hawley said she would continue to file the ascent in the database, but as “disputed”. Miss Oh’s sponsoring Black Yak answered with a heated press release, while the climber herself dealt with high winds and summit push on Annapurna, her last 8000er.

Thanks in part to the Spaniards’ logistics; Miss Oh could bag Annapurna pretty fast. Edurne’s furious fight to the bitter end was over. Or was it.

22-year old Katie Spotz finished her solo row across the Atlantic Ocean from Dakar in Senegal to Georgetown in Guyana after 71 days at sea. In the Southern Hemisphere 25-year old Shaun Quincey finished his solo row across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand after 54 days at the oars.

The Jules Verne Trophy went to French skipper, Franck Cammas and his nine-men crew onboard their 105 ft trimaran, who broke the around-the-world sailing record by finishing in 48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes and 55 seconds March 20 in Brest.

April

The Icelandic ash cloud kept many Himalaya and Greenland bound teams stuck in Europe.

Everything was going smoothly on Everest south side except that the plan to scatter Edmund Hillary’s ashes on the summit of Mount Everest was cancelled after Buddhist priests in Nepal warned it would bring bad luck.

On the north side climbers were still waiting for clearance and no traverse permits were issued by for this spring either. ExWeb ran a big report two years after the Olympics which showed that propaganda, surveillance, censorship and crackdowns were worse than ever in China. Over the past year the government had also encouraged China’s state-owned enterprises to forcibly buy private firms.

Manaslu Air Zermatt of Switzerland and Fishtail Air of Nepal joined forces to provide the first Himalayan standby helicopter rescue service in history. A Spanish team on Manaslu witnessed one of the first operations, performed at 6,500m, which saved seven lives. The chopper showed up just hours after a Korean team called SOS. “It’s been an amazing feat,” the Spaniards said.

Late March, shortly before veteran mountain guide Heidi Kloos, 41, was to guide trekkers to Everest BC she was lost in an avalanche on Colorado’s Baldy Peak. Heidi was buried under 10 feet of snow; her dog stayed with her until a rescue patrol arrived on April 1st.

On April 10 Jean-Louis Etienne touched down in Sakha in Siberia after flying alone in his rozière balloon across the Arctic Ocean for 121h and 30 minutes.

April 14 Richard Weber’s team were first to reach the North Pole following a lightning fast (supported) trek from the coast. It was a different story for the unsupported and solo skiers who were airlifted out until only two dark horses remained. The final two nautical miles were horrendous and seemed unduly punishing, said Dan Darley and Amelia Russell about reaching the NP on April 25 – as the only unassisted team this season. Amelia became the third woman in the world to achieve this, only hours after falling into a lead and dislocating her shoulder.

Crying wolf can seriously jeopardize rescue possibilities for those who really need them, not to mention explorers who exaggerate their situation for media attention. “This behavior does and will reflect on the entire polar adventuring community,” commented polar veteran Richard Weber one of the big mainstream news stories involving a solo skier during the season.

During the Vertical Blue 2010 free diving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole, New Zealander William Trubridge and Austrian Herbert Nitsch set two new world records in the free immersion (FIM) and constant weight (CWT) disciplines respectively.

On Apr 26 François Bernard (France) and Frederik Paulsen (Sweden) crossed the Bering Strait in an Ultra-light from America to Russia; according to them a first in that direction.

The folks at the gigantic collider near Geneva got a break at last. They collided protons at record speed, and with that the hunt for other dimensions, dark matter and the “God particle” has begun. Meanwhile ExWeb ran a report about new technologies that are bringing jetpacks to regular humans.

In the “Deer in headlights” report from the 26th National Space Symposium, ExWeb reported that the main exhibitor hall was sadly reminiscent of a dinosaur museum with relics on display of what used to be the American Moon and Mars program while a representative for the manned Chinese space program was a lot more perked up. undefined

On April 27, 2010 after four failed attempts and several broken promises, the Himalayan knight was back to his final 8000er. It has paid off – today, Piotr Pustelnik stood on the top together with friend and “second Peter” Hamor, from Slovakia. According to Hamor home team, the climbers stood on top at 1:45pm, local time.

Piotr has thus become the third Polish climber to complete the 14x8000ers, after Jerzy Kukuczka and Krzysztof Wielicki.

Update 11:23 am EDT: Fellow Pole and team mate Kinga Baranowska has also reached the top. “In spite of hurricane-force winds, we reached Annapurna summit,” Kinga reported. “Now we are descending slowly; please, think of us…” Anna was Kinga’s 7th 8000er.

May

Early May was all about Annapurna with 24/7 coverage by ExWeb staff and volunteers. The final summit push took place in spiking wind but Annapurna had 19 summits in one day – a record number. Unfortunately, another record number was due: as the seventh straight year with casualties on the mountain. Descent was hard on everyone with several cases of altitude problems and frostbite. The exhausted Spanish Tolo Calafat passed away after two days in the open at 7600 meters. In vain, a Sherpa searched for the climber for 11 hours carrying O2 and supplies. A heli search was also unsuccessful. Miss Oh and Black Yak rejected all accusations about failing to aid in the search, stating that they can only ask, not force, their sherpas to help.

The Nepalese Fishtail Air and Swiss Air Zermatt rescue chopper airlifted all climbers who remained in C4 (7000 meters) – Carlos Pauner, Juanito Oiarzabal and Horia Colibasanu – in the highest long line rescue in history.

On Everest north side, a Hungarian climber escaped an avalanche which sadly took his climbing mate. Peter Kinloch, 28, died after a Sherpa team failed to help him down in storm conditions. The search for Irvine went undercover while Gerlinde and Ralf fought all on their own over at the north face.

A Sherpa crew topped-out Everest south side early May along with a Himex guide who decided to join the push after bolting parts of the route. A report stating that it was decided that no western climbers were allowed on the mountain while sherpas fixed the route spurred ExWeb founder Tina Sjogren to design a new strategy in her editorial: “Brave new Everest for a changing market.”

May 16, both sides of Everest were summited, with a large number of climbers topping out the south side. A Chinese rope team fixed the route to the summit on Everest north side and made the first Everest north side summit.

By late May, Everest had a large number of summits from both sides. Among the major events: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner – in her 13th no-O2 8000er, Jordan Romero, 13, and Apa Sherpa in his 20th Everest summit.

5000+ ascents to date – that’s what the Everest counter clocked at closing a successful season before the Memorial weekend. A majority of climbers made it in the final wave, including serial-summiteers such as record-westerner Dave Hahn (12th E top) and SeracFilm’s Michael Brown. Climbers were lost and rescued, while Chad’s speed attempt got stuck in lines on the Balcony.

On Dhaulagiri, a Chinese expedition reached the summit by nightfall and had to force a bivouaq through the stormy night. In an ensuing inferno three of the climbers lost their lives. A frantic effort by Fishtail Air and Air Zermatt rescued the survivors.

Edurne Pasaban bagged Shisha at last. Together with Asier Izaguirre, Alex Txicon, Nacho Orbiz and sherpas, Pasaban climbed in rather light style, pitching three camps on the way up to her 14th 8000er.

Serguey Duganov perished on May 7 at 7800 meters during descent from Lhotse. Kazakhs Maxut Zhumayev, Vassiliy Pivtsov and Vlad Chekhlov summited Lhotse in what became the 13th 8000er for both Max and Vasso. As usual, Denis Urubko went his own way and opened a new route on the mountain sans 02.

A French expedition summited Makalu from the normal route on May 23rd, Marty Schmidt made it on the 24th descending with three Ukrainian summiteers that topped out via a new route on the SW face. Outware’s Makalu expedition folded with a bitter-sweet end: several members summited on May 23rd but Zaharias Kiriakakis was lost.

ExplorersWeb’s contributor Brazilian Rodrigo Granzotto had a massive job compiling the spring season:

Part 1: covers 8000er Collectors, Everest Serial Summiteers and Lost Climbers.
Part 2: The (then) final chapter of the race between Edurne Pasaban and Oh Eun-Sun for the first female 14x8000ers ascent.
Part 3: Climbers joining the 14x8000er summiteers’ club, historic records, other “firsts” achieved in spring 2010 plus the controversies.
Part 4: covers serial summiteers, lower peaks, new routes, rescues and Sherpa racers.
Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, part 5: Special report–The Spring of Annapurna.

Summit? The proof is in the… SPOT. Verifiying summits has been an increasing problem in Himalaya. Lately, the tiny 150 gram SPOT tracker has offered to become a great back-up to traditional summit proof. Beyond SPOT’s reach – Solara tracks positions in polar areas as well as much of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Check out ExWeb’s tech reviews of both.

During Everest Skydive 2010 solo and tandem jumps were performed as high as 29,500 ft at Shyangboche drop zone (12,350 ft). Skydivers from New Zealand, UK, Nepal, USA, Australia and France participated. Check the debrief report at ExWeb.

June

Pakistan woke to yet another tough year. Heavy flooding early spring; added costs and financial security requirements imposed by the government; the global money crunch and political unrest all shrunk Pakistan outfitters’ client base. With only 25 climbing permits issued for all peaks, this was the quietest Karakoram summer in modern climbing.

The season’s first 8000er summit in Karakoram was bagged by Polish Hajzer and Szymczak on Nanga Parbat, and Italian Walter Bonatti turned 80. Remains of June were mostly about the issue of age in adventure.

A torn mainsail delayed Jessica Watsons planned arrival in Sydney with two hours, but when she finally stepped of Pink Lady and walked up towards Sydney Opera House, the 17-year old received a hero’s welcome. Jessica will not claim the youngest non-stop and unassisted official world record around the world though. She did not cover the distance required and the issue also made for a rerun of ExWeb’s previous circumnavigation special, “What is around the world?”

Menawhile Abby Sunderland talked to ExWeb during a stop-over in Cape Town about her sail. Soon after, Abby was successfully picked up from her dismasted yacht out on the Indian ocean only to face an even bigger wave: of media fury. ExWeb’s Tina came to her rescue in the editorial, “Young guns current: Abigail Sunderland and the kid who flew to Space.”

During the same month, 12-year old Matt Moniz summited Denali, Whitney and Elbert in just eight days. ExWeb’s contributors Morgan (9) and Amanda Padoan caught up with Everest wild child Jordan Romero, 13, for an interview. All kids praised their parents, but what was the mother’s point of view?

When 22-year old independent, single-handed, Atlantic Ocean rower, Katie Spotz’s, mother got an email that her daughter wanted to row an ocean on her own, a battle began: She wanted to keep her daughter close and safe, and her daughter wanted to live her dream. Mary Spotz explained at ExplorersWeb how she had to let go.

But Laura Dekker was grounded for yet another month by the Dutch court, the decision further shrinking the chances for the then 14-year old of becoming the youngest to sail around the world. On Everest north side, CTMA issued new regulations with 18 as the youngest and 60 as the oldest allowed on the peak from the Chinese side. The age limits seemed to have no effect on speed record climber Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who calls for national pride as a motivation to take a 10 years old to the roof of the world next year and thus break Jordan Romero’s recent record.

Dekker set sail August 21 at last, on the first leg of her sail around the world. In the Lipton Cup Sailing Challenge in Cape Town meanwhile, the youngest sailor was 13 years old. Over on Greenland, Eric Brossier and France Pinczon du Sel from Vagabond fame arrived with a hybrid-motorboat equipped with diesel and electrical engines, 10 square meters of solar panels, two wind turbines and three sails. Their 3-year old and 5-month old daughters completed the crew. By December, Laura Dekker had made it safely across the Atlantic, at age 15.

On Greenland Sebastian Copeland (46) and Eric McNair-Landry (25) kite skied 595km in 24 hrs, which gave them the new kite distance world record.

Roz Savage finished her third and last leg Pacific Ocean row in Madang, Papua New Guinea June 4th. Each leg was around 2000-2500 miles, and while rowing any ocean is not for the faint of heart, Savage’s accomplishment should not be confused with the non-stop 8000 and 9000 mile rows done by solo rowers such as latest Erden Eruc.

Mars Ocean Odyssey Reid Stowe spent his last day of his 1152 continuous days at sea at anchor outside New York before sailing in to Pier81 World Yacht Marina to set foot on Mother Earth for the first time in over three years.

July

Two years passed since the big accidents new teams were assembled at the foot of K2 in early July. ExplorersWeb re-ran of some of the most notable stories published during and after the 2008 tragedy. Attempting Lhotse together this spring with K2 hero Pasang Lama, survivor Marco Confortola wrote an essay for Explorersweb, reflecting on the aftermath of the K2 tragedy and the meaning of true heroism.

The orange dot spotted on the mountain, off route, relentlessly moving down in the direction of Camp 3 on the Cesen route: Dutch Wilco Van Rooijen’s story is now available in English in the book “Surviving K2.” In an interview with ExplorersWeb, Wilco confirmed, “Gerard McDonnell is a hero.”

Swedish media meanwhile had a fresh piece from K2 story-teller Fredrik Strang. This time from GII, where Strang was said to have rescued fellow mountaineers with wild swings of his ice-axe.

The 2010 K2 season didn’t end much better. By mid-July, Bulgarian climber Petar Georgiev Unzhiev passed of high altitude sickness in camp 2. A few weeks later, amazing Swedish sky-skier Fredrik Ericsson fell to his death while on summit push in the Bottleneck. The only summit claim on the mountain proved to be a fraud, and K2 remained unclimbed yet another year.

The only bright note was from another summiteer and survivor of the 2008 tragedy, Cecilie Skog. As one of the celebrities in Norway’s Dancing with the Stars; Cecilie said she was dancing for her late husband, mountaineer and polar skier, Rolf Bae, whom she lost on K2.

Unstable weather and high winds were punishing Karakoram and summit reports were thin. Excitement was found on the wild side of G1 where three Italians, running into red tape, chose to drop the camels and journey Shipton style.

The biggest triumph was bagged by the Basque on Broad Peak where Alberto Iñurrategi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo reached the Central Summit via a new route. The following day, 14x8000er summiteer Alberto climbed back up from their bivy tent and stepped on BP’s main summit, thus completing the massif traverse.

On Nanga Parbat Mingma became the first Sherpa to summit 12 different main 8000ers; and Korean Kim Chang-Ho only the second mountaineer after Messner to summit Nanga from both sides.

Early G1 summit claims around July 20 were left unconfirmed or denied by the climbers themselves. Canadian Don Bowie and Russian Alexei Bolotov’s attempt ended VERY close from target, but, “If you can’t ride that thing like a pony, you ain’t on top!” Bowie “quoted” John Wayne and returned for another shot one week later. On July 29, Bowie and Bolotov summited G1 at last together with American Marty Schmidt and Czechs Radek Jaros and Libor Uher who completed their GI and GII double-header.

Keep Baltoro Clean team collected 4000 kg of waste from Concordia and installed 8 eco toilets at Concordia Circus. French “Summit Sweeper” Arian Lemal reported a junk-filled C4 on GII.

Late July, American mountaineer Ryan Waters and his team of Elbrus climbers were among the 105 passengers freed from a hijacked plane by Russian Special Forces.

On Svalbard, Norwegian kayakers had a nightmare awakening as one was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear and dragged off until his expedition partner managed to shoot the animal.

July 22 Franco-Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto arrived back in France. Alessandro spent the past 268 days circumnavigating the world in a 6.5 meter yacht solo. The last part, the whole Atlantic, of it with a jury rig.

July 27 American Wayne Maynard, 61, made it to the North Pole and back alone in his Cessna 350. He later sent through some photos to ExplorersWeb of his navigation equipment showing the variation and the effect of the Magnetic North Pole.

August

The final chapter of the 2010 Karakoram climbing summer offered little joy. Down in the valleys a monster flood was affecting more people than ever. “It’s the worst flood I’ve witnessed in my life,” ExplorersWeb Pakistan correspondent Karrar Haidri agreed. “It’s a disaster,” American climber Fabrizio Zangrilli confirmed from Skardu.

Already at the foot of Everest, early August Alberto Zerain was alone on the Tibetan side of the mountain for a solo attempt of the Supercouloir. Intense monsoon rains made things difficult also in Himalaya and there were no survivors in a Lukla bound plane crash.

HumanEdgeTech launched Contact Augmented, mixing real-world environment with virtual reality features. 3D maps and fly-by viewer experience is updated over satellite communication with live trip reports and pictures. First out with ContactA was Sean Burch, known for his super-fast ascents, and about to cross Nepal on foot from India to Tibet on the Great Himalaya Trail. Sean did it in a record 49 days, 19 days faster than the previous record set by Rosie Swale Pope 2003.

Following a 28-month trek, Brit Ed Stafford and local Gadiel “Cho” Sanchez finished at the sea on the east coast of Brazil after starting from the source of the Amazon.

September

The debate continued, did she or didn’t she? Miss Oh was facing increasing opposition. The Korean Alpine Federation (KAF) declared Miss Oh’s summit claim for Kangchenjunga 2009 “unlikely.”

Meanwhile, the only summit on K2 this season was scrubbed. Christian Stangl was accused of dreaming the entire push up with a thick book in a “rock-hotel” behind base camp. The morning after ExplorersWeb asked Stangl for comments regarding his summit picture, Stangl fessed up to local media that he’d been nowhere near the top.

In Chinese Himalaya people crowded on Cho Oyu while the few Everest north side climbers reported that Tibetans are now a minority in Lhasa and most foreign websites are blocked.

“Even in the fall, Everest is hardly the solitary experience of polar travel” Eric Larsen told ExplorersWeb from the Nepali side. Together with a Sherpa team, he had the mountain mostly to himself along with all the work on the south side route.

On Peak Pobeda, nearly 15 people got stuck for seven days in a fierce storm between 7,000 and 6,400 meters. Russian climbers Yuri Efremov, Andrey Baynazarov and Kirill Mokhov died before reaching the airlift rescue point at 5,500 meters on Dikiy Pass.

October

Early October Himalaya was already falling quiet. The peaks had claimed five climbers, including two of the greatest names in high altitude mountaineering and one much admired alpinist.

Aiming for a new route on the SW face of Cho Oyu in alpine style, Walter Nones,39, fell to his death on October 3 following a solo bivouac at 7,000 meters. Japan’s leading climber Osamu Tanabe was among the four lost in an avalanche on Dhaulagiri, his tenth 8000er. Alpinists Joe Puryear and David Gottlieb were known at ExWeb for spectacular first ascents. Their saga ended October 27 on Labuche Kang when a cornice broke off and Joe fell to his death.

On Everest, attempts folded on both sides leaving only Eric Larsen still in the game. But on October 15 the polar skier plus Sherpas Dawa Gylatzen, Tshering (Chhering) Dorje, Pasang Temba and Dawa Tenzing bagged the first Everest fall season summit in four years. The Terramar sponsored expedition concluded Larsen’s quest to reach the “Three Poles” in record time.

Blind Everest summiteer Erik Weihenmayer led a team of war-battered soldiers to the top of the 20,075-foot Lobuche on October 13.

South Koreans Chang-Ho Kim, 41, and Sung-Ho Suh summited Shisha Pangma south side on October 14, via the British route. Shisha became Kim’s twelfth 8000er without O2; and Suh’s tenth.

Manaslu summits were questioned again but it seemed confirmed that at 71, Spanish Carlos Soria became the oldest climber to summit Manaslu, his 9th 8000er. Carlos Pauner collected his 10th 8000er peak, while Phurba Tashi became the Sherpa with the most +8000 summit ascents (23). Sadly, Manaslu claimed Japanese Nobuaki Kuwabara on September 24.

A group of Sherpa fixing the route on Cho Oyu were avalanched just one week after TMA’s crew suffered the same fate. The first Cho Oyu summiteers were at first reportedly German/Austrian combo Rupert Hauer and Alix von Melle. Later though German Ralf Arnold told ExplorersWeb he was the first Cho Oyu summiteer of the season on October 1. An October 7 summit claimed by Argentinean Adrian Sanchez was scrubbed after the alleged summit picture turned out shot in C1 by expedition mate Marcelo Hernandez.

The loss of 18x Everest summiter Chhewang Nima Sherpa to an avalanche on Baruntse put a sober end to the climbing autumn season.

German “Red Point” free-climbing pioneer Kurt Albert, 56, sustained critical injuries after falling from a via ferrata in the Frankenjura region and died in hospital two days later.

ExWeb’s stellar contributor Amanda Padoan delieverd yet another special, this time an interview with eighteen-year old Samina Khayal Baig, a trailblazer for Pakistani female climbers.

Captain Daniel Gavrilov and his young crew aboard Peter 1st was the first yacht to reach the Pond Inlet on the Northern coast of Baffin, with Børge Ousland just behind. The young Russian crew was the first ever to sail through both the North East and North West passage in one season.

Kiwi Graeme Kendall did a solo 12 day rowing transit of the North West Passage five years after his previous attempt which got stuck in ice.

A 35 liter dry-pack, a kite, a board, and 2000 kilometers of Brazilian coast ahead. That was Louis Tapper’s, 36, life for 33 days when he set a new world record for the “longest kite surfing journey” solo.

November

On November 7, news broke about a Fishtail Air chopper crash on Ama Dablam north face. David Göttler and Kazuya Hiraide were rescued, pilots Sabin Basnet and Purna Awale lost their lives. Only this past spring, Basnet had performed the amazing rescue at 7,000 meters on Annapurna.

Kyle Dempster and Scott Bruce Normand returned from China’s Minya Konka 6000ers with two new routes under their belts.

Alex Caizergues set a new World Speed Sailing Record at 54.10 knots on a 500 meter run. French-Italian Charlotte Consorti became the fastest female kiter in the world and the first woman to break the 50 knot barrier.

Simen Havig-Gjelseth, Sigrid Henjum, Tormod Austring, and Dag Marius Ammerud made a successful 20 days circumnavigation of South Georgia as only the third kayak expedition to have made it round what most kayakers consider their Mount Everest.

German artist Jürgen H. Staeudtner chose a rather unusual subject for his painting collection: portraits of Everest climbers with “a story to tell” such as David Sharp and Lincoln Hall. The resulting art series named “Top of the World” shows Mount Everest as a symbol for personal fates and philosophical dilemmas: some died, other succeeded or helped others. Jürgen also painted the ice cave in which the remains of “Green Boots” are located. “The place sums up many factors,” Jürgen says. “It is a landmark, and it is a grave. In the end, I have concluded that painting mountaineers is a way to paint Mount Everest.”

Never-ending solo sailing in the wildest parts of the world, Henk de Velde found Hollywood star Sterling Hayden’s classic seafaring book Wanderer in a remote library. “To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest,” the actor wrote. “Otherwise you are doomed to a routine traverse […] If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.” Soothing words for those choosing to be bankrupt in money rather than life.

After cycling 7,780 km from Cooktown to Perth across Australia as part of his human power circumnavigation, Erden Eruc was ready for his next stage on the Indian Ocean. In his solo row from mainland Australia to Africa and following an astonishing 137 days out at sea non-stop (by far the longest row yet over the Indian Ocean), on November 26 Erden hauled his rowing boat up on the island of Madagascar. Erden is now second only to Peter Bird to have spent the longest time out at sea in a rowing boat (Bird spent 937 days and died on the voyage).

December

A pay service made ExplorersWeb create headlines all on its own. Wire- and breaking news are still free but a subscription is needed for specials such as the other big December news: about Miss Oh losing her summit status at Adventure Stats. With that, the world got its true first female 14, 8000ers mountaineer: Edurne Pasaban.

IsatPhone Pro, 3G service on Everest, Terrastar’s smartphone/satellite hybrid: never have choices been so many to communicate from remote places. In a huge review, HumanEdgeTech helped sort hype from the real in 2011.

New Zealander William Trubridge (30) dove 100 meters into Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island with a single breath of air, and only his hands and feet to send him down and up. This is Trubridge 13th freediving record.

South African kayaker Hendrik Coetzee was on an expedition in Congo when he was pulled out of his kayak and killed by a crocodile.

Antarctica kicked off with the Arctic Trucks’ Iceland drivers and their Indian Science team arriving at 90 degrees South as the first expedition to the South Pole this season. Union Glacier runway replaces PH this year as new BC 70km north-west of Patriot Hills. A major insurance company is no more covering expeditions in polar areas. A Hercules Inlet – SP return solo ski has never been done before, but this year Chris Foot is attempting the challenge.

And the famous Russian BASE jumper did it again; this time in minus 30 degree Celsius on Antarctica. Valery Rozov became the first person to climb the 2931 meter high Mount Ulvetanna and BASE jump off.

Winter climbing expeditions began to announce their plans: this season in unpresedented attempts on almost all (except K2) of the Karakoram 8000ers – all previously unclimbed in winter. Watch for ExWeb’s special winter coverage in Himalaya next month.

Lonnie Doupre will try Denali, where only nine expeditions totaling 16 people have ever reached the summit in winter.

The Long Walk to Freedom has been made an international bestseller and a Hollywood movie is due based on Slavomir Rawicz famous account of a 6500 kilometer walk to escape from a prison in Siberia. Three young Poles discovered a different story by tracing his footsteps. The true hero is Witold Glinski, they told ExplorersWeb. But is he, or is it Rawicz after all, or perhaps neither of them? Check in for more details to the story in December.

And now – get set for the 2010 ExplorersWeb Awards!

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Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /31/ – Week in Review.

A pay service made ExplorersWeb create headlines all on its own in the past two weeks. Wire- and breaking news are still free but a subscription is needed for specials such as the other big news last week: about Miss Oh losing her summit status at Adventure Stats.

In other news: a huge review of 2011 expedition phones including word from TeliaSonera about the 3G on Everest. Also, Karakoram winter action is heating up, watch for ExWeb’s special coverage next month, and finally – get set for the 2010 ExplorersWeb Awards!

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Join the Great Adventure: Subscribe at ExplorersWeb 19813 free stories later, ExplorersWeb is joining the trend among established media to charge for selected content. Time has come to take your favorite adventure news source all the way and all it takes are a few cents per day.

Interview with Tina about subscriptions at ExplorersWeb: “All the speculations don’t matter for we have no choice” The big hoo-ha among readers and media colleagues about ExplorersWeb’s subscription model is starting to mellow, but questions remain. Why? Will it work? And, what’s next? ExWeb’s Mikael Strandberg caught up with founder Tina Sjogren with some hardball questions picked up from the net.

HumanEdgeTech Review: Everest and expedition phones 2011, mobile vs. satellite IsatPhone Pro, 3G service on Everest, Terrastar’s smartphone/satellite hybrid: never have the choices been so many to communicate from remote places. In a huge review, HumanEdgeTech helped sort hype from the real in 2011.

HumanEdgeTech follow up, word from Ncell/TeliaSonera: “Rates are good for all but bring your sat phone on the climb” The review also covered TeliaSonera’s 3G mobile service on Everest. The next day, the company returned with details.

ExWeb special report, part 1: Oh Eun-Sun loses summit status at AdventureStats As late as of September 1, ExplorersWeb stood by Oh Eun-Sun in her claim of the first female fourteen 8000ers. Later this fall we set out to make a final investigation. In the process we found new facts that force a change at AdventureStatistics — in favor of Spanish Edurne Pasaban.

ExWeb Oh Eun-Sun special report, part 2: the Scoop Photoshopped images, a team Sherpa retracting the original summit claim, contradictory statements, shady climbing details and general lack of evidence. Language problems could not explain why even Miss Oh’s fellow Korean climbers began to doubt her claims. The fatal cut to the story came however from no other than Miss Oh herself.

ExWeb Oh Eun-Sun report, final: Edurne Pasaban takes the throne Once again, we must turn to the late Inaki Ochoa’s words describing a summit as “where everything goes down in any and every other direction.” With that definition, the world has got its true first female 14, 8000ers mountaineer: Edurne Pasaban.

New Poll at ExWeb Messner figured that reaching only the ground around the summit, say 30 to 50 ft, is enough for success. At ExWeb’s new poll however, 69% of around 500 voters state that 0 ft is what should count and another 20% allow no more than 1-10 ft away.

ExWeb interview with Edurne Pasaban: “The fight is over” In an interview with Angela Benavides, Edurne talks about what happened this spring, her view of Miss Oh and summit rules, the cost of the battle, media’s role vs. lack of interest from her own climbing federation, and finally – the future.

Karakoram winter action piling up: Dark horses for Nanga Parbat Besides the confirmed teams currently preparing for winter GI, GII and Broad Peak, two Polish young guns are eyeing another Karakoram 8000er: Nanga Parbat. Artur Hajzer confirmed the facts to ExplorersWeb.

“Perfect stranger” Sergey Nikolayevich aiming for winter Nanga Parbat – solo Rumors of a Russian climber going for winter Nanga Parbat were confirmed by Asghar Ali Purik of Jasmine Tours: This dark horse is Sergey Tsygankov Nikolayevich, already in Pakistan and reportedly aiming for – a solo ascent. No one seems to know of this mountaineer or his previous climbs though.

One more for winter Gasherbrum II: Cory Richards to join Moro & Urubko Simone Moro and Denis Urubko have a new addition to their winter GI upcoming expedition: photographer Corey Richards — a seasoned Himalayan winter climber.

Join the Everest Summit Quackwatch! Forget the SPOT – a single quack could be enough to prove your summit on Everest.The bar-headed goose is one of the only known birds that migrates over Everest and Jessica Meir wants to know how it adapts to life at high altitudes. You can help her with her studies.

Valery Rozov: Antarctic BASE jump – like an astronaut in outer space The famous Russian BASE jumper did it again; this time in minus 30 degree Celsius on Antarctica. Valery Rozov became the first person to climb the 2931 meter high Mount Ulvetanna and BASE jump off. He said he felt like an astronaut in outer space.

Antarctic wrap-up: Skiers crossed 84 degrees South; Polar insurance stopped; Mr. Park back for a crossing Solo, return skier Chris Foot was the first to cross 84 degrees where he dropped his second cache. A major insurance company is no more covering expeditions in polar areas. A new motorized crossing with Korean high altitude mountaineers Mr. Koo and Mr. Park is about to start. A Slovak team guided by Peter Valusiak skied the Last Degree SP from Novo. Adventure Consultants with ANI guide and chef, Ronnie Finaas and leader Guy Cotter completed the LD from UG. Christian Eide and Alex Abramov are on the plateau with LD teams. News about the resupply for Hannah and Devon’s teams.

Mount Vinson wrap-up: First summits High winds kept the Vinson teams on Antarctica tent bounded, some for up to six days. Team Latitude from Norway was the first to summit this season. Though the wind was much less the summit temperature was reported as minus 30 degrees Celsius. The ALE DC-3 keeps shuttling more climbers to Vinson.

Antarctic science wrap-up: ANSMET hunting for meteorites again ANSMET has two field teams hunting for meteorites; a team exploring previously unvisited meteorite sites from the SP, and a larger team again based at the Davis Nunataks and Mt Ward. The Fuchs Science teachers are back at UG. The respective vehicle teams are heading towards the coast. The Moon-Regan vehicles crossed Antarctica and Arctic Trucks KNGS drove 2300 km to the SP in only 4.5 days.

Bursary funded places available for North East and Channel Island gap-year students on BSES Svalbard Expedition North East and Channel Island adventurous gappers with a passion for environmental science are urged to apply for the last few places on the BSES expedition to Svalbard this spring. £2,500 towards the cost of the expedition is available for NE and Channel Island residents; first-come, first-served.

ExWeb interview with Christoph Höbenreich: South Georgia, a place for experienced ice and snow climbers and skiers A crossing of South Georgia is definitely no place for beginners, says Austrian polar adventurer and mountaineer, Christoph Höbenreich. In October he guided a crossing along the historic Shackleton route from King Haakon Bay to Stromness Bay across crevassed glaciers and steep and avalanche prone slopes.

One breath and a 100 meter dive New Zealander William Trubridge (30) dove 100 meters into Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island with a single breath of air, and only his hands and feet to send him down and up. This is Trubridge 13th freediving record, and he had to do this dive twice to make it to the books.

The hard way for solo sailor The Velux 5 Oceans Race competitors are held back in Cape Town to let a storm blow out. The storm gives Belgian solo sailor Christophe Bullen’s a few extra hours to prepare for the next leg in the round the world sprint. Bullens finished 3 weeks after the winner.

Kayaker killed by crocodile South African kayaker Hendrik Coetzee was on an expedition in Congo when he was pulled out of his kayak by a crocodile, and he is presumed dead. His two fellow kayakers Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic where evacuated after the tragic incident.

Madsen to skipper record attempt Angela Madsen (50) will start 2011 with her eyes set for yet another record attempt in the ocean rowing world. The paraplegic ocean rower will skipper a team of 16 that will try to establish a new world record row from Morocco to Barbados. The time to beat is 33 days.

Kate and Melissa Cycling the Silk Road Over the course of a year, Melissa and Kate will cycle 15,000 km through the shattered mountains and scorched deserts that span the Silk Road from Istanbul to India. The bike trip is a field research Expedition that aims to explore and advocate for conservation and connectivity across borders.

Connecting Cultures, a Global Debate Mark Evans in Oman wants everyone to join the global debate about, what is culture? He has, since 2004, run Connecting Cultures which is recognised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations as one of the world’s leading and most innovative civil society projects.

ExWeb interview: The Real Long Walk, Karl Bushby´s back The story of a man who walked the world for the last 13 years offers an interesting perspective to The Long Walk to Freedom, done by either Slavomir Rawicz or Witold Glinski (or neither of them perhaps). ExWeb’s long walker Mikael Strandberg reached long walker Karl Bushby in New York for a very personal interview. What the two wanderers talked about? The toll on money, women and fatherhood.

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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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Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 5: Special report – The Spring of Annapurna.

“When one thinks about Annapurna the first impression that comes to mind is danger,” ExWeb contributor Rodrigo Granzotto states.

Nevertheless, Anna was the most visited 8000er after Everest this past spring, and coped headlines as some pages of mountaineering history were written on its slopes.

Sixty years after becoming the first 8000er ever summited, the peak has witnessed three climbers finishing their 14×8000 quest on its summit (including the first female) the highest chopper rescue in history and, sadly, yet another man lost to the mountain.

Therefore it deserves a special chapter on the massive chronicle compiled by exWeb contributor Rodrigo Granzotto. Enjoy!

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Spring Season´s End Chronicle–Special on Annapurna’s Diamond Jubilee
by Rodrigo Granzotto Peron

I–The first ascent:

Annapurna just completed the Diamond Jubilee of the first conquest. On June 3, 1950, the French duo comprised of Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal stood at the top of an 8000er for the first time. Sixty years has passed and again Annapurna was the main stage of the Season. Several expeditions showed up, including five Spanish, two South Korean, one North American, one International, plus other climbers, such as Amir Hossein Partovinia from Iran, with an unprecedented amount of climbers on the regular route.

II–Danger level:

“When one thinks about Annapurna the first impression that comes to mind is danger.” This can be further exemplified by quoting some of the top climbers:

“It is not one of my favorite mountains, I must confess. It is dangerous due to avalanche risk on the North Face…” (Iñaki Ochoa de Olza).

“Annapurna is not too difficult, but dangerous.…” (Ivan Vallejo).

“Annapurna is on my mind all the time. It´s hard and dangerous.” (Silvio Mondinelli).

“Annapurna is beautiful and it looks big and dangerous” (Simone Moro).

“Annapurna isn’t the toughest summit, but there is always danger when someone climbs the mountain.” (Ueli Steck).

“Annapurna has the most dangerous standard route of all 8000ers.” (Reinhold Messner).

In spite of the risk level, the danger level has been dropping over the past years. It reached the maximum point in 1985, with almost 91% (bordering a suicide), then lowered to 62% in 1991, 49% in 1996, 43% in 2002, 40% in 2005, and, after the present season, now we have 183 ascents and 61 fatalities. This results in about 33%, which is almost one-third of the 1985’s ratio. If considering only the occurrences of the 1990’s and 2000’s, then there were 124 ascents and 22 deaths, on a level of 17%. Focusing only the last ten years, just 10%. So, Annapurna is dangerous, but not “that” dangerous anymore.

On the other hand, the mountain showed all her wrath in 2010. It was the seventh year straight with fatalities registered on the mountain, taking the life of Tolo Calafat, who died at 7,600 meters, probably due to AMS (his death was the first on the regular N Face route of Annapurna in almost three years).

Also several climbers had close encounters with the major avalanche concern on Annapurna. Xavi Arias broke two ribs on an avalanche; Amir Hossein was carried down for 200 meters after one; Kang Ki-Seok was hit and injured a leg; Nick Rice was hit by fallen ice and suffered bruises. Other incidents were reported by nearly all the teams.

III–How to race on the tenth highest mountain:

The danger level explains why almost all racers save Annapurna for the last steps in the pursuit for all 14.

None of the 22 climbers who completed the race started on Annapurna. The mountain was among the five last peaks of 15 racers who completed all (68% of them). And six racers let Anna for the last: Juanito Oiarzabal (SPA), Alberto Iñurrategi (SPA), Ed Viesturs (USA), João Garcia (POR), Piotr Pustelnik (POL) and Oh Eun-Sun (S.K.).

Of those active collectors with seven 8000ers or more, these are the people still needing Annapurna:

Abele Blanc (ITA)
Alberto Zerain (SPA)
Alexey Raspopov (KAZ)
Carlos Soria (SPA)
Dachung (CHIN/TIB)
Jean Troillet (SWZ)
Jyabo (CHIN/TIB)
Kazuyoshi Kondo (JAP)
Kim Chang-Ho (S.K.)
Kim Jae-Soo (S.K.)
Mario Vielmo (ITA)
Nives Meroi (ITA)
Osamu Tanabe (JAP)
Oscar Cadiach (SPA)
Radek Jaros (CZE)
Romano Benet (ITA)
Serguey Lavrov (RUS)
Taro Tanigawa (JAP)
Waldemar Niclevicz (BRA)
Zdenek Hruby (CZE)
Zsolt Eross (HUN)

IV–Regular route:

The classical, standard route of Annapurna, is the French (N Face). But in recent times, two more routes from the South Flank, emerged as “regulars” as well. The British Route (1970) and the East Ridge Route (1984) have become quite popular. By the British Route eight climbers summited recently and the East Ridge conducted two climbers to the summit in 2002, four in 2006 and one more in 2008. But after the deaths of Iñaki Ochoa de Olza (SPA) and Martin Minarik (CZE) in the past two years it is possible that the “East Ridge fever” might slow down a little bit.

V–2010 Spring Season:

What a memorable season on Annapurna!

Two very early summit waves, the first on April 17. According to Himalayan Database, this was the earliest ascent of Anna this spring. The second, ten days later, resulted in the record of 26 summits–the most successful season ever!

Several records were broken: 

1. Spain is now the nation (excluding Nepal) with the most summits

2. This was the first time that three different climbers ended the race on the same mountain (Garcia, Pustelnik and Oh)

3. The oldest person to summit was Ruediger Schleypen, 54, (GER), in 1991. In 2010 three climbers passed this mark and thus became the oldest. Third place, Piotr Pustelnik, 58, (POL). Second place, Serguey Bogomolov, 59, (RUS). And the oldest person to summit Annapurna is Evgeny Vinogradsky, 63, (RUS). Now Annapurna is the 12th 8000er to be summited by a sexagenarian. Only Gasherbrum I and Kangchenjunga have not yet been conquered by someone 60 years or older.

4. Horia Colibasanu is the first Romanian to top out

5. Edurne Pasaban is the first lady climber from Spain

6. Peter Hamor (SLK) is the first western climber to summit Annapurna twice and the first from both sides.

NOTE: It is important to mention that some “summits” are being contested, and still investigated. For example, in descent Juanito Oiarzabal (SPA) and Carlos Pauner (SPA) were airlifted by chopper from C4 (c6,900m). There are also strong rumors, reported by Kinga Baranowska in an interview to website rp.pl on May 21, that Serguey Bogomolov (RUS) and Evgeny Vinogradsky (RUS) did not actually reach the highest point.

VI–Feminine Invasion:

Summits by women were very rare on Annapurna. Only six until the beginning of the season: Irene Miller and Vera Komarkova (1978), Wanda Rutkiewicz and Ingrid Baeyens (1991), Ji Hyung-Ok (1999), Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (2004). In 2010 three more names were added to the list: Oh Eun-Sun, Edurne Pasaban and Kinga Baranowska. Like Kangchenjunga and K2, Annapurna was like a forbidden territory for women, but in the last few years things are changing for these peaks.

VII–The second summit wave on Annapurna:

On April 27, seventeen climbers made it to the top of Annapurna. The sequence was like this:

10:00AM: Jorge Egocheaga (SPA) and Martín Ramos (SPA)

1:30PM: Piotr Pustelnik (POL), Peter Hamor (SLK) and Horia Colibasanu (ROM)

1:45PM: Kinga Baranowska (POL)

2:30PM: Evgeny Vinogradsky (RUS) and Serguey Bogomolov (RUS)

3:00PM: Oh Eun-Sun (S.K.), Jung Ha-Young (S-K), Nha Kwan-Joo (S.K.), Dawa Wangchuk Sherpa (NEP), Pema Tshering Sherpa (NEP) and Sonam Sherpa (NEP)

4:00PM: Carlos Pauner (SPA), Juanito Oiarzabal (SPA) and Tolo Calafat (SPA)

After all the joy of so many successful ascents, including TV footage on the conquest of Oh Eun-Sun, the descents were very rough. In the words of Dr. Morandeira, it was an “uncontrolled retreat on summit night, with each participant fighting for his own life.” In particular, the last summits by the Spaniards were very late and problems started to appear on the way down. Calafat could not move on at about 7,600 meters and sadly died. Pauner and Juanito were airlifted from C4. The Russians also suffered greatly on descent, with Peter Hamor helping both Serguey and Evgeny.

VIII–Numbers:

In 2010 there were registered 26 ascents of Annapurna by climbers from eight different countries. Nine summiters from Spain, seven from Nepal, three from South Korea, two from Russia and Poland, one from Romania, Slovakia and Portugal. Now, Annapurna has 183 ascents at all, by 178 climbers!

With the three lady summiteers, Annapurna has now nine ascents by women. Before the beginning of the season, women made up 3.8% of all summiteers–now almost 5%!

Tolo Calafat was the 61st victim of Annapurna. Fatality rate of the spring season was 3.8%.

ExWeb Note, Aug26: Juanito’s summit of Annapurna is valid according to mountaineering tradition and Explorersweb. The views expressed is the author’s only. Check a related story here.

NOTE: This Chronicle is based on preliminary data and is under analysis. Some numbers will be revised in the following months, with possibly a few corrections made by then.

* Previous story :

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 4: Serial summiteers, lower peaks, new routes, rescues and Sherpa racers.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 3: Firsts, records and 14x8000ers happy endings.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 2: The final chapter of the women’s race.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, Take 1: 8000er Collectors, Everest Serial Summiteers and Lost Climbers.

* Related Links :

StatCrunch: ladies of thin air – beyond Wanda’s footprints.

Oh Eun-Sun summits Annapurna – becomes the first woman 14x8000er summiteer!

Edurne Pasaban the first European and second woman in the world to complete the 14x8000ers.

Piotr Pustelnik summits Annapurna – bags the 14x8000ers!

Veikka Gustafsson completes the 14×8000ers list!

Andrew Lock completes the 14×8000ers list!

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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.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

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Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 4: Serial summiteers, lower peaks, new routes, rescues and Sherpa racers.

Here goes yet another piece of the huge Everest and Himalaya chronicle compiled by ExWeb contributor Rodrigo Granzotto. The Brazilian stats ace is now focusing on massive 8000er summiteers, lower peaks, new routes, amazing rescues and Sherpas racing for the ’14x’ mark.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle: part 4
by Rodrigo Granzotto Peron

20K POTENTIAL–FAST RUNNING FOR 30K

The first climber to reach 8000er summits 20 times was Juanito Oiarzabal (SPA). He now has 23 (or possibly 24), the actual world record (1*). So far, Juanito has repeated EV, K2, KG, MK, CH, G1 and G2 (Annapurna 2010 is contested). He is the first person to repeat the Top Three (two summits on EV, on K2 and on KG).

The second climber to summit 20x8000ers was Ed Viesturs (USA), on Annapurna in 2005. After some years of absence, he came back last year as part of the expedition organized by First Ascent. With seven summits on Everest, Ed now has 21 main 8000ers.

Several Sherpas have also broken the 20k barrier recently. The list includes Danuru (IMG guide), with 22 main 8000ers; Phurba Tashi (Himex guide), who summited Everest twice in 2010, also with 22; Apa, who ascended Everest for the 20th time, and is the first person to break the 20k barrier on just one 8000er; Tshering Dorje II Sherpa (Rolwaling Excursion), on his second summit of Makalu, now has 20. Mingma Tshering (Jagged Globe), who has 20 as well. In addition, both Chuwang Nima and Lhakpa Rita I, guides for Alpine Ascents, summited 20 times. So, now several outfits can be proud to have 20k Sherpa guides.

Situation of those who have conquered most of the main 8000ers:

23 Juanito Oiarzabal (SPA) (24 if including Annapurna)
22 Danuru Sherpa (NEP) [IMG]
22 Phurba Tashi Sherpa (NEP) [Himex]
21 Ed Viesturs (USA)
20 Apa Sherpa (NEP)
20 Chuwang Nima Sherpa (NEP) [Alpine Ascents]
20 Lhakpa Rita I Sherpa (NEP) [Alpine Ascents]
20 Mingma Tshering I Sherpa (NEP) [Jagged Globe]
20 Tshering Dorje II Sherpa (NEP) [Rolwaling Excursion]
19 Ang Rita Sherpa (NEP)
19 Chuldim Ang Dorje Sherpa (NEP) [Adventure Consultants]
19 Kami Rita I Sherpa (NEP) [Alpine Ascents]
18 Denis Urubko (KAZ)
18 Nima Gombu Sherpa (NEP)
18 Norbu (Nuru) Sherpa (NEP)
18 Park Young-Seok (S.K.)
18 Pasang Dawa (Pando) Sherpa (NEP)
18 Reinhold Messner (ITA)
17 Nima Dorje I Sherpa (NEP)
17 Ralf Dujmovits (GER)
17 Serap Jangbu Sherpa (NEP)
17 Sergio Martini (ITA)
17 Um Hong-Gil (S.K.)
17 Veikka Gustafsson (FIN)

An increasing number of climbers are between ten and 16 summits on 8000ers. In fact, more than 100 alpinists, including, for example, the recent 10k summiteers Simone Moro, Kim Chang-Ho, Palden Namgye Sherpa, Speed Pemba Sherpa, Vernon Tejas and Jorge Egocheaga Rodriguez.

And what is the absolute limit for the collectors? There is no limit at all. For example, if Juanito finishes his “double race”, he would end his journey with 14×2=28, plus two more summits on Cho Oyu–30 in total (30k). Sherpas could go even further. For example, a Sherpa beginning his career now at 20 years of age and working for an outfit at the rate of two-expeditions per year (EV in spring and CH in autumn) would enter the year of his 50th birthday with, more or less, sixty 8000ers summited (60k). With the current speed, we will start to see 30k climbers very soon–about three to four years from now.

NOTABLE ASCENTS ON LOWER PEAKS

I–Changtse (7,538m)

It is hard to be a lower satellite of such a colossal peak like Everest. Those peaks below the umbrella of Chomolungma are most of the time forgotten. It is the case of Changtse (7,538m), the highest sub-peak of the Everest massif in Tibet. Only 12 ascents registered, by 52 climbers, the last one in 1992.

This season, Alex Abramov (RUS), the leader of the respectful Seven Summits Club outfit, decided to end the hiatus, and summited Changtse with three Sherpas, on a partially new route (North Col South Ridge).

II–Takargo (6,771m)

It is a new year for a new virgin 6000er to the collection of these two great climbers who refuse to join the stream and, instead, look for challenging routes on lower peaks. The curriculum of David Gottlieb (USA) and Joe Puryer (USA) is coming to be plenty of luminous gems: 2008–Kang Nachugo (6,735m); 2009–Jobo Rinjang (6,778m); 2010–Takargo (6,771 m).

The first ascent of Takargo was performed in late winter (March 11-12). According to the sketches on the expedition website, the line goes up on the middle of the East Flank, then traverses the entire face to the extreme left, gaining the upper ridge that is entirely traversed back to the right up to the summit. The route literally makes an “S”.

By the way, the other expedition on Takargo, under leadership of Malgorzata Teresa Jurewicz (POL), was unsuccessful.

For the record: Talking about winter, there were some more activities in the coldest season of the year. Andy Parkin (UK) and Victor Saunders (UK) tried Lobuche West Peak (6,119m), but no cigar. Shinji Sato led an expedition to Khatung Kang (6484m), but gave up at 6,100 meters. And the major headline in winter was Renan Ozturk (USA) and Cory Richards (CAN) who ascended the Central Pillar of the S Face of Taboche (6,495m), a technically difficult route in pure winter weather.

III–Kojichuwa Chuli (6,439m)

Under leadership of Michihiro Honda, three Japanese climbers–Ken Fujikawa, Yuta Kawamura and Satoshi Kimoto–performed the first ascent of Kojichuwa Chuli, another beautiful 6000er first summited this season. The three previous expeditions (two from Spain in 2008 and 2009, and one from Japan in 2009) were unsuccessful.

IV–Ekdant (6,100m) and Kartik (5,115m)

Portuguese climbers Daniela Teixeira and Paulo Roxo are also “out of the stream”. They are always aiming for new routes, both virgin and seldom visited peaks. This season they paid a visit to Garwhal Himalaya and opened two alpine-style new routes. On Ekdant they performed the second ascent (the first complete new route on an Himalayan peak by climbers from Portugal); and on Kartik they opened a brand-new line: Directa Lusitana.

NEW ROUTES AND VARIANTS

I–Lhotse (W Face route and Kazakh upper variant)

The incredible Denis Urubko (KAZ) performed solo on this new route on the West Face of Lhotse. He went on the high slopes of the fourth highest mountain and opened an upper variant that differs from the original Swiss Route of 1956. According to the sketches released to the press, the route is equal to the route of 1956 until 8,000 meters. Then, instead of traversing the upper S Col plateau to the couloir that leads to the summit, Denis went to the left, traversed the entire rock bands to the right, and then went to the summit by the ridge. This is the first new route on Lhotse in the past two decades and it is the first new route on the West Face since 1956.

Denis so far opened new lines on Broad Peak (SW Face, 2005), Manaslu (NE Face, 2006), Cho Oyu (SE Face, 2009) and Lhotse (W Face upper variant, 2010). An astonishing curriculum!

For the record: Lhotse is still the 8000er with less different routes. The regular W Face has only two: Swiss 1956 and Kazakh 2010. The dangerous and difficult S Flank has also two lines: Russian 1990 and Slovenian 1990, while the challenging E Face is completely virgin. Except for the standard route, none of the other routes were completely repeated. So, only four routes in 54 years. In comparison K2 has 11 routes and variants and Everest has 21.

II–Makalu (SW Face–Ukrainian Route)

The south side of Makalu, divided into two portions (SW Face and SE Face), has had several successful routes over the years: SE Ridge Complete (Japanese Route, 1970); Slovenian Route (1975); S Pillar (Czech/Slovak Route, 1976); SE Ridge and E Face (S Korean Route, 1982); and Beghin Route (1989). However, in the last two decades this flank has been neglected. In fact, the last new line on Makalu was a variant to the French Route, performed by Iñaki, Vallejo, Txikon, Martinez, and Ogwyn in 2004.

In 2010 several different expeditions explored this mighty face of Makalu.

A British expedition, under leadership of Colin Scott, tried again the SE Ridge Complete. Previously, Colin had led two expeditions on this route, one in 2004 and the other in 2008, without success. The American expedition of Chris Warner and Marty Schmidt aimed a new line on the southern slopes of Makalu. Warner, with HAPE symptoms, had to be airlifted out of the mountain. Schmidt tried alone, but gave up before summiting.

The Ukrainian team to the SW Face was led by Valentin Simonenko and Yuri Klugov, and comprised of several climbers who conquered Himalchuli in 2007. After installing five altitude camps, the first rope–Serguey Pugachov and Sasha Zakolodny–could not proceed to the summit. Two days later, the second rope–Dmitry Venslavovsky, Serguey Bublik and Vladimir Roshko–made it to the highest point. As reported, the crux was a barrier of rocks from 8,300 to 8,400 meters.

The new line follows the Slovenian Route of 1975 on the lower parts, then at the point it intersects the Beghin Route of 1989 inflects to the left until touching the W Pillar on c7,600 meters, following it to the main summit. The summiteers down climbed via the regular route, completing the third traverse on Makalu (Himalayan Database registers two previous traverses: Marc Batard, 1988, and Pierre Beghin, 1989).

For the record: The Ukrainians, mainly Serguey Bershov and Vladislav Terzyul, have participated in the opening of several very hard routes on 8,000ers, such as: Everest, SW Face (1982); Kangchenjunga, NE Ridge [traverse] (1989); Lhotse, S Face (1990); Annapurna, NW Face (1996); and Manaslu, SE Face – SE Spur (2001). Now, with Makalu, SW Face (2010), it is time for a new generation to keep the flame burning.

MIRACULOUS HELICOPTER RESCUES

Pakistani Army’s helicopter pilots are famous for the audacious and difficult rescues in high altitudes. The most known episode was the dramatic rescue of Tomaz Humar (SLO), trapped at almost 7,000 meters at the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat in 2005.

Helicopter activity is very dangerous in thin air. So these pilots who risk their own lives to take stranded climbers out of the mountain are truly heroes. Nevertheless, the higher the riskier. The highest rescue operation by a chopper took place on Kamet in 2004 at 7,083 meters by an Indian Air Force’s SA315 LAMA.

In spring of 2010, Air Zemmatt (SWZ) and Fishtail Air (NEP) joined forces to provide the first standby helicopter rescue service in Himalaya, doing in Nepal the same incredible job that Pakistan’s pilots had performed over the past decade on Karakoram. As soon as the ‘season’ started to heat up, the service proved to be extremely necessary. On April 23 the body of a dead climber–Philip Ulrich (DEN)–was airlifted out of Kyajo Ri (6,186 m). Then came well succeeded operations on Manaslu (S Korean climbers), on Makalu (Chris Warner), on Dhaulagiri (Chinese climbers), among several others.

Since climbing 8000ers became touristic, it is clearly important to create a strong security and support structure to help those tourists who have had problems on the mountains. The joint operation between Air Zemmatt and Fishtail Air is one of the most important steps in this field. And the Spring of 2010 was really a landmark of air rescue.

SHERPA’S RACE IS GETTING HOT

There is another “race” going on, but of course without the media coverage that the womens race had. Several Sherpas are engaged in being the first Nepali to summit all 14. In spring 2010, Serap Jangbu and Mingma I were on top of the list with 11 8000ers summited (Mingma would later add NP and GI in later months).

Evolution line of the Sherpas collectors:

First to 1x8000er: Phu Dorje I, Khumjung (EV 1965)
First to 2x8000ers: Urkien Tshering (1977)
First to 3x8000ers: Nga Temba II (1981)
First to 4x8000ers: Ang Rita (1986)
First to 5x8000ers: Nima Temba II (1994)
First to 6x8000ers: Nima Temba II (1994)
First to 7x8000ers: Nima Dorje (2000)
First to 8x8000ers: Mingma I (2004)
First to 9x8000ers: Serap Jangbu (2006)
First to 10x8000ers: Serap Jangbu (2006)
First to 11x8000ers: Serap Jangbu (2009)

Ed. Note: On an email to ExplorersWeb, Nicholas Chaigneau states that Mingma I summited NP on July 11th and G1 on August 5th. Thus “he only needs KG to complete the list (he’s now the first nepali who climbed all pakistani 8000ers);” Nicholas notes.

Bob Schelfhout then provided futher details: “July10, Iranian climber Azim Gheychi Saz summited Nanga Parbat. He was accompanied by Sherpa climber Mingma, who summited his 12th 8000er.Later in the season, on August 5th, Mingma Sherpa summited Gasherbrum I with the Korean expedition. That brings the tally to 13 for Mingma, with only Kangchenjunga left.”

Stats on this article correspond to spring 2010 season. Summer 8000+m summits have not yet been filed up. These will be hoever included in a summer season chronicle soon.

Sherpas with most 8000ers summited:

11 Serap Jangbu
11 Mingma I (in spring, 2010)
9 Dawa Wangchuk
7 Nima Dorje I
7 Pema Tshering
6 Nima Temba II
6 Phurba Chhiri
6 Dawa Tshering I
6 Tshering Dorje I
6 Tshering Dorje III

The first Sherpa to declare his intention of summiting all 8000ers was Serap Jangbu. Serap is from Khumjung and was born in 1969. His first 8000er was Kangchenjunga, where he miraculously escaped alive after falling into a crevasse. Instead on working mainly on EV and CH, like most Sherpas, he opted to venture on other peaks. Among other accomplishments, he summited K2 twice, scaled the SW face of SH and tried a new route on the incredible SW face of EV with Park Young-Seok. He has 17x8000ers in all, and still needs G1, BP and NP to complete the race. He is in Pakistan, and will try NP and G1.

Mingma I is also a freelancer, from Nurbu Chaur and born in 1978. He had a meteoric career from 2000 to 2004, when he grabbed nine different main 8000ers. Then, no more news about him until the beginning of the last spring season on Nepal, where he performed a difficult double-header. First, Annapurna with Edurne Pasaban. Nine days later, Dhaulagiri with the Iranians. It was the fifth AN and DH combo ever, and the one in less time (previous record was Andre Georges, in 1996 [ten days]). Mingma only needs KG to complete the list.

Other two Sherpas who pursuit all 14 are Dawa Wangchuk (the partner of Oh Eun-Sun) and Tshering Dorje II (from Rowlwaling Excursion).

Let’s stay tuned this summer, because the Sherpa’s race will become even hotter, since the two Nepalis with the most 8000ers can end the season with 13x8000ers each.

(1*)ExWeb Note, Aug26: Juanito’s summit of Annapurna is valid according to mountaineering tradition and Explorersweb. The views expressed is the author’s only. Check a related story here.

NOTE: This Chronicle is based on preliminary data and under analysis. Some numbers will be revised in the following months, with possibly a few corrections made by then.

* Previous story :

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 3: Firsts, records and 14x8000ers happy endings.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 2: The final chapter of the women’s race.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, Take 1: 8000er Collectors, Everest Serial Summiteers and Lost Climbers.

* Related Links :

StatCrunch: ladies of thin air – beyond Wanda’s footprints.

Oh Eun-Sun summits Annapurna – becomes the first woman 14x8000er summiteer!

Edurne Pasaban the first European and second woman in the world to complete the 14x8000ers.

Piotr Pustelnik summits Annapurna – bags the 14x8000ers!

Veikka Gustafsson completes the 14×8000ers list!

Andrew Lock completes the 14×8000ers list!

* Polish Himalayas – Become a Fan

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.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 3: Firsts, records and 14x8000ers happy endings.

This third part on Rodrigo Granzotto’s Everest and Himalaya Chronicle focuses on climbers joining the 14x8000er summiteers’ club, historic records, and other “firsts” achieved in spring 2010. It also hits the bull’s eye on some doubts and controversies which made waves during the season.

ALL 14 CLUB

As predicted on last year’s Chronicle, the list of climbers with all 14 would double or more in the next few years, and we are starting to see just this. In 2009 four climbers ended the race: Denis Urubko, Ralf Dujmovits, Veikka Gustafsson and Andrew Lock. This year, so far, four more: João Garcia, Piotr Pustelnik, Oh Eun-Sun and Edurne Pasaban. The list had 14 names by the end of 2008, and now there are 22 (an increase of 57%).

The next hot spot will be K2, where Maxut Zhumayev, Vassili Pivtsov, Serguey Bogomolov and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner are in position to also join the club, therefore, the list will almost double in just one year (2009-2010). Also, as dark horse, there is Serap Jangbu Sherpa, who still needs NP, G1 and BP.

Spring Season: those who concluded the quest for all 14:

João Garcia: the first Portuguese and the eleventh person to summit all 14 without oxygen. The career of João started on Cho Oyu (1993) where he opened a partially new variant with Wielicki and Pustelnik and then Nanga Parbat. After the tragedy on Everest (1999), he suffered severe frostbite and needed to be helped down by the Brazilian couple Paulo and Helena Coelho. But João was strong and persistent. He recovered and came back to the game with a strong appetite. He succeeded during 2004-2010 by finishing the last ten 8000ers.

Piotr Pustelnik: the third climber from Poland to end the race. Very respected not only for his skills but also R) . for humanitarianism works in helping so many times with climbers who were in trouble (K2 in 1996, BP in 1999 and AN in 2006). Annapurna–the last 8000er on his path–proved to be tough. Two tries on the S Face (2004 and 2005), one on the E Ridge (2006) and one on the N Face (2008), which all ended without success. After 2006, Pustelnik stated: “This mountain, which I tried to conquer for the third time, sucked out all my climbing skills and my humanity.” But fortunately he came back and finally conquered Annapurna and ended an almost 20-years journey among the 8000ers. He is also the oldest climber to conquer all 14 at 58 years old.

Oh Eun-Sun: accomplished what seemed impossible. In 2007, with only three 8000ers summiting (G2, EV and SH), she was light-years away from Edurne, Gerlinde and Nives. But she had big plans and, with support of strong sponsors, unlimited money and a formidable structure; she summited eleven 8000ers in about three years. On Gasherbrum I (2009) she left Edurne behind and become the leading female climber. Consequently, this spring she concluded her quest as the first woman to summit all 14.

Edurne Pasaban: the third climber from Spain and the second female climber to summit all 8000ers. Her first peak was Everest, with Ivan Vallejo and Silvio Mondinelli, two of her most regular partners. After climbing some mountains, she joined the Al Filo de Lo Imposible, a television show for TVE, and also had sponsorship and structure to pledge herself to the race. With two summits this Season (Annapurna and exactly one month later Shishapangma), she succeeded. It is interesting to point out that she has conquered all 14 in a very short time: eight years and 11 months (faster than her, only Jerzy Kukuczka, Park Young-Seok, Han Wang-Young and Denis Urubko).

FIRSTS AND RECORD BREAKERS

I–Everest:

First Austrian women–Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Sylvia Studer, Claudia Studer
First Bangladeshi–Musa Ibrahim
First British to summit 8x–Kenton Cool
First Central-American to summit EV from both sides–Julio Bird (P.R.)
First climber to summit 20x–Apa Sherpa (NEP)
First climbers to summit twice in five different seasons–Phurba Tashi (NEP) and Dorje Sonam Gyalzen (NEP)
First Finn woman–Carina Raihasta
First Greek woman–Anastasia Iliopulou
First Guatemalan woman–Andrea Cardona
First Hungarian to summit 2x–Anita Ugyan
First Irish to summit 3x–Noel Richmond Hanna
First Italian to summit 4x–Simone Moro
First woman from Central America–Andrea Cardona (GUA)
First woman to summit the Nepali Route for three straight years–Melissa Sue Arnot (USA)
First Maltese–Robert Gatt, Greg Attard and Marco Cremona
First Mexican to summit 4x–Yuri Contreras Cedi
First Montenegrins–Niksicani Dordije Vujicic, Marko Blecic, Dragutin Vujovic
First New Zealander to summit 7x–Mark Woodward
First mother-and-daughter team from Tibetan side–Sylvia and Claudia Studer (AUT)
First Omani–Khalid Sulaiman Humaid Al-Siyabi
First South American disabled–Nelson Cardona (COL)
First South Korean to summit 4x–Heo Young-Ho
First western brothers to summit together two consecutive years–Willie and Damian Benegas (ARG/USA)
Oldest Brazilian–Manoel Morgado, 53
Oldest Brazilian woman–Cleo Weidlich, 46
Oldest Finn–Mika Pitkamaki, 40
Oldest Danish woman–Stina Dalgaard Pedersen, 35
Oldest Norwegian–Tore Rasmussen, 60
Oldest Portuguese–Angelo Felgueiras, 46
Oldest Turkish–Ali Nasuh Mahruki, 42
Second western climber to summit Everest 10x–Guillermo Willie Benegas (ARG/USA)
Western climber with more summits (12)–Dave Hahn (USA)
Youngest climber–Jordan Romero (USA), 13
Youngest British woman–Bonita Gina Norris, 25
Youngest Indian–Arjun Vajpayee, 16
Youngest Indian woman–Bhagyashree Manohar Sawant, 18
Youngest Lebanese–Elia Saikaly, 31

II–Lhotse:

Youngest woman climber–Tamara Lunger (ITA), 23

III–Makalu:

First Dutch–Arnold Coster
First French woman–Sandrine De Choudens
First Greek–Zaharias Kiriakakis
First Swiss woman–Alexia Zuberer
First Turkish–Tunç Findik
Youngest Ukrainian–Vladimir Roshko, 27

IV–Cho Oyu:

First South American to summit 2x–Maximo Kausch (ARG)

V–Dhaulagiri:

First Iranians–Azim Gheychisaz, Iraj Maani, Vaase Mousavi, Majid Nematollahi and Mahmoud Hashemi

VI–Annapurna:

First Romanian–Horia Colibasanu
First Spanish woman–Edurne Pasaban
First woman to summit all 14–Oh Eun-Sun (S.K.)
First woman to Top Eight Nepal–Edurne Pasaban (SPA)
First Westerner to summit AN 2x–Peter Hamor (SLK)
First Westerner to summit from both sides–Peter Hamor (SLK)
Oldest Russian climber–Evgeny Vinogradsky, 63
Oldest Polish–Piotr Pustelnik, 58
Oldest South Korean woman–Oh Eun-Sun, 43
Oldest Spaniard–Juanito Oiarzabal, 54
Youngest Polish woman–Kinga Baranowska, 35

VII–Shisha Pangma:

First Spanish woman–Edurne Pasaban
Oldest Japanese–Kazuyoshi Kondo, 68
Second Spanish woman to summit all 14–Edurne Pasaban
Third country were all 14 were summited by women–Spain

VIII–Some doubts during the season:

1. Can the summit of Juanito Oiarzabal on Annapurna be considered valid?

Juanito Oiarzabal (SPA) is one of the most amazing climbers of all time. His restless spirit is bonded to the 8000ers, and for him the end of one “race” was only the beginning of another. Now the Basque wants the “double race”–to be the first climber to summit all 14 twice. He has repeated so far EV, K2, KG, MK, CH, G1 and G2.

On April 27 he stood at the summit of Annapurna to become the second westerner to top out this peak twice. But can his “summit” really be considered valid?

Polemics emerged because Juanito did not come down on foot. He and Carlos Pauner were airlifted from C4 (6,900m) by chopper. In an interview with Desnivel on May 5, the Spaniard said that he “went down by helicopter because of the circumstances–not out of need”. He added: “The chopper was there after flying over the area several times searching for Tolo, then we went down [by helicopter] because of the circumstances–not because we needed to.”.

So the helicopter flight was not a rescue operation. Juanito was not injured, nor ill, nor in immediate danger. He simply was physically fatigued and opted to go out of the mountain; he could have descent on foot–“by his own means”, his words– but by chopper for comfort reasons. This event aroused the attention of those who are concerned about stats with the need to rethink this sport because helicopters are becoming quite popular on Himalaya and Karakoram–not just because of rescue operations. Several climbers are being airlifted to BCs off the mountain which means that it is time to define what climbing expeditions are considered valid and invalid.

For example, can an acclimatized climber can be airlifted to Everest’s South Col, go for the summit and then descend to South Col just in time to take a “air ride” off the mountain? And can an ABC-Summit-ABC endeavor be considered valid just to avoid the dangerous Khumbu Icefall? If Juanito’s “summit” remains valid, this will open a new possibility for climbers. It would only be necessary to ascend the mountain to the summit. On the descent, one could be picked up at any point by a chopper and go home with the “summit” validated.

The debate is open.

ExWeb Note, Aug26: Juanito’s summit of Annapurna is valid according to mountaineering tradition and Explorersweb. The views expressed is the author’s only.

2. Which is the standard route of Shisha Pangma?

The author was questioned by email about the regular route of Shishapangma. The smallest of all 8000ers is a very curious mountain. Looking briefly at numbers, one can assume that it is not a popular peak with only 304 people ascending. But, if included in stats for the climbers who reached the fore summit (Shishapangma Central), numbers go very high with 1,078 people ascending in total.

The difference is explained with two words: summit ridge. The regular route on the N Face (Chinese 1964) and its several variants conduct to Shishapangma Central. Since the ridge between it and the main summit is very dangerous and exposed, most of the climbers decide to stop on the lower fore summit (many of them claiming to be “summiteers”, in spite of everybody knowing that they are a literal ridge away from success).

Because of this in particular, several climbers have been seeking alternatives, going to the left (E Face) to avoid the ridge and proceed directly to the main summit. Therefore, new lines start to appear. The first were the Austrians Obojes and Putz (1980): “Our climbers followed the Chinese first-ascent route to C4. On the summit slopes they went farther east and then climbed straight to he northeast ridge, which they followed to the top” (source: AAJ). This route was repeated for the first time by all the teams in 2010, totaling 19 summits.

Iñaki Ochoa de Olza, more or less, followed this line in 2006. But he went lower on the face, below the serac band, and after it rejoined the straight line on the center to the top. This variation was repeated by Danielle Fischer (USA) and Lhakpa Rita Sherpa (NEP) in 2007. However, they mistakenly went to the Central Summit, and by Andrew Lock (AUS) and Neil Ward (UK) in 2009.

Finally, to the extreme east, after traversing the entire face to the NE Ridge, there is the ‘Russian Route’ of 2002 (Bogomolov and Oleynik), which has not been repeated.

On the other side of the peak, it is also possible to say that the ‘British Route’ on the SW Face of Shishapangma is a regular route. The highest point was reached 57 times by this line from the year 2000 onward. Therefore, 41% of the ascents were performed by it, which makes it a standard also. Of the technical routes on 8000ers this is the most popular indeed.

In conclusion, Shishapangma (like Everest and K2) has two standard routes (Chinese 64 and British 82). In the future, if the Austrian Variant (80) becomes popular, it could transform SH into the first 8000er with three regular routes (or maybe the ‘Chinese Route’ could even be abandoned).

3. The Romeros are the first “family” to summit Everest together?

The wonder boy Jordan Romero (USA), the youngest climber to summit Everest (May 22), made it to the top side-by-side with his father Paul Romero (USA) and his stepmother Karen Lundgren (USA). On their personal website, they proclaim themselves the first family to summit together.

The concept of “family” varies from country to country. The traditional is father, mother and children, but socio-affective instances can make the concept have several more variations. In 2008 the Mallory’s (Canada) summited together on Everest (Dan and his sons Adam and Alan). On May 23, 2010 the Studers (Austria) topped out the Tibetan Flank of the mountain (Wilfred [father], Sylvia [mother], and Claudia [daughter]).

So, if we use the “traditional” definition of family, the Romero’s would be the first. But if used in the non-traditional sense (socio-affective), then they are not.

Also in 2010, other “families” also grabbed the summit:

a. Willie Benegas and Damian Benegas–brothers
b. Lhakpa Rita and Kami Rita–brothers
c. Ruairidh Finlayson and Fionnlagh Finlayson (UK)–brothers
d. Malgorzata Pierz-Penkala and Daniel Mizera (POL)–mother and son
e. John Dahlem and Ryan Dahlem (USA)–father and son
f. Brandon Chalk and Kristine Chalk (USA)–husband and wife
g. Vladimir Fetjek and Denise Fetjek (USA)–husband and wife
h. Richard Birrer and Richard Birrer Jr. (USA)–father and son
i. Bryan Chapman and Michael Chapman (USA)–brothers.

NOTE: This Chronicle is based on preliminary data and is under analysis. Some numbers will be revised in the following months, with possible corrections that might need to be made.

* Previous story :

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 2: The final chapter of the women’s race.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, Take 1: 8000er Collectors, Everest Serial Summiteers and Lost Climbers.

* Related Links :

StatCrunch: ladies of thin air – beyond Wanda’s footprints.

Oh Eun-Sun summits Annapurna – becomes the first woman 14x8000er summiteer!

Edurne Pasaban the first European and second woman in the world to complete the 14x8000ers.

Piotr Pustelnik summits Annapurna – bags the 14x8000ers!

Veikka Gustafsson completes the 14×8000ers list!

Andrew Lock completes the 14×8000ers list!

* Polish Himalayas – Become a Fan

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.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, take 2: The final chapter of the women’s race.

Here goes the second take of the huge spring 2010 Everest and Himalaya spring 2010 season chronicle, by stats expert and ExplorersWeb contributor Rodrigo Granzotto Peron. Today, the lights and shadows of the tight race between Edurne Pasaban and Oh Eun-Sun for the first female 14x8000ers ascent.

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s end Chronicle: part 2
by Rodrigo Granzotto Peron

2. THE FINAL CHAPTER OF THE WOMEN’S RACE

I–Background of the Final Chapter

Not long ago Edurne Pasaban (SPA) was pretty sure she would be the first female climber to summit all fourteen 8000ers. With Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (AUT) and Nives Meroi (ITA), her closest competitors, aiming difficult routes and winter climbs instead of simply grabbing 8000er by 8000er, Edurne was meant to be the first. undefined

This certainty changed from 2008 onward when two new faces from Asia began to be noticed.

South Korean female climbers Oh Eun-Sun and Go Mi-Sun became 8000ers very fast. Go summited ten different main 8000ers in about two years, while Oh summited 11 in less than three years.

What was clear and sure for Edurne started to fade when she visualized the South Koreans approaching more and more on her numbers; then, on August 3, 2009, Oh Eun-Sun grabbed Gasherbrum I, therefore surpassing the famous Spanish climber. Go Mi-Sun would also achieve this mark, but a sad fatal fall on Nanga Parbat took her life.

Oh Eun-Sun told Chosun newspaper in March 2009: “Since there is no woman in the world who has climbed all 14 summits, I hope I will be the first”. One year later her words become a reality.

II–First Place (Or not?)

On April 27 Oh Eun-Sun stood on the top of Annapurna and became the first female climber to summit all 8000ers. The event was broadcasted live on KBS TV in what was the first television broadcast from the top of the most dangerous 8000er of all. It was the golden moment for this incredible South Korean who broke several records in the past few years: [1] first woman to summit four different main 8000ers in one calendar year (2008); [2] first female climber to TOP THREE (EV, K2, and KG) and to TOP FIVE (EV, K2, KG, LH, and MK); [3] first climber to summit four different main 8000ers in two consecutive years; and [4] first woman to summit all 14 main 8000ers!

Oh’s first summit was Gasherbrum II (1997), which she topped out with two legends from homeland: Park Young-Seok and Um Hong-Gil. After some years, she grabbed Everest (2004). After Shishapangma (2006), she pressed the “turbo button” and conquered Cho Oyu and K2 (2007), Makalu, Lhotse, Broad Peak and Makalu (2008), Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat and Gasherbrum I (2009), and Annapurna (2010). Her most regular climbing mates were Sherpas. First, she teamed-up with Thilen (from 2006 to 2008), then recently teamed up with Dawa Wangchuk and Pema Tshering (from 2008 to 2010). She used oxygen on EV and K2, but the others she went NOOX.

While Korea was filled with joy and happiness things were a little different in the largest country of the Iberian Peninsula.

Al Filo’s top climber Ferran Latorre published on his blog some doubts about Oh’s summit on Kangchenjunga. The main arguments are:

1. The summit pic was not taken on the highest point. The pic shows Oh on bare rock, while other pictures this year presents climbers on a snowy summit. Ferran concluded: “looking at the released photos of the ‘supposed’ summit of Kangchenjunga, I doubt she summited”.

2. The Sherpas that accompanied Oh would said to Edurne, in Annapurna BC, that the South Korean did not top out.

3. Some climbers say that it was not possible for a climber to go from 8,400 meters to the summit and back in just three hours and 40 minutes–that was the time Oh took to cover this distance, according to binocular watchers in Kangchenjunga’s BC.

What started as a simple comment on a personal website soon became a tsunami of catastrophic proportions on Spanish news and then around the globe.

III–The Darkest Hour of the Race:

The events that followed the declarations of Latorre were surely the darkest hour of the race.

Several accusations emerged–some of which the South Koreans could not personally defend because they were on the summit push of Annapurna–which included:

1. Complaints about the South Koreans on the “fixed ropes case” and that they did not properly manage their own garbage, therefore, polluting the slopes of Annapurna.

2. Montagnes Magazine presenting doubts about Oh’s summits, not only on KG, but also on Everest (2004), Cho Oyu (2007), Lhotse (2008) and Broad Peak (2008).

3. The declaration by Edurne Pasaban that the Sherpas of Miss Oh assured that she did not reach the highest point of Kangchenjunga. Even though Edurne was pressed to reveal the names of the Sherpas at first, she did not. However, afterwards, she did say: “The names are Dawa Wangchuk, Pema Tshering, Tshering Nurbu, Dawa Sange, Ong Dorje, Chumbi and Phu Dorje.” (It is important to point out that Edurne never said that “this Sherpa said this” or that “this Sherpa said that”–she only released the names in general.)

4. April 26 interview on Desnivel with Juanito Oiarzabal: “I believe she did not summit.”

5. April 28 interview on Desnivel with Edurne Pasaban: “The picture was not taken on the summit” and “the truth can be bought and there is a chance that the Sherpas [of Miss Oh] ‘go this way’.”

6. Juanito declared that “the solidarity on mountaineering is lost. Even more in the case of the South Koreans.” The critics were poised in the event of Tolo Calafat’s death on Annapurna. On that occasion, Oiarzabal thought that Oh Eun-Sun could have, but did not, sent her Sherpas on a rescue mission. Later, Juanito regretted his words when the South Korean female climber stated that the Sherpas were too tired to participate in the rescue and that it would be suicide to send them up again.

7. May 4 interview on Spiegel with Hans Kammerlander: “She’s a flash in the pan” and “She was taken to the top by her team.”

All the critics lead Miss Elizabeth Hawley, editor of Himalayan Database, to alter the registration of Oh Eun-Sun’s summit on KG from “clear” to “disputed”. It is important to point out, however, that “disputed” does not mean “not summited” or “unrecognized”, but only means that some climber presented suspects over a particular summit.

Later, when back from the summit bid, Oh Eun-Sun defended herself from the accusations. On a television conference in Seoul, the climbing Sherpas that went to the very summit of Kangchenjunga with Miss Oh– Dawa Wangchuk and Pema Tshering–confirmed her version of the story. However, the third Sherpa climber on that occasion–Nurbu Sherpa–had a different point of view. According to him, they stopped 150 vertical meters below the top (as consigned on Himalayan Database).

We all thought that the female climbers would give the world a good example, but things ended very sadly. Some people said that it is some sort of Edurne’s revenge for not being the first (something like ‘Since I am not the winner, this race will have no winner at all’). Others say that Oh Eun-Sun is a cheater and her summits are not clarified. No matter which side one chooses, the race ended with negative effects. And it is possible that this story will never end. The “disputed” mark would remain, since Edurne would have no purpose of retracting her accusations. On the other side, it is not necessary for a picture to validate a summit–the words of other climbers are enough, because there are hundreds of cases like this–and Oh Eun-Sun has the testimony of his two climbing Sherpas, one of them–Dawa Wangchuk–who stood at the top of KG four times. Possibly an endless mystery to the folklore of the race…

IV–The Aftershock

On the bright side of the story, the major lesson about these two South Korean female climbers is that it’s possible for someone, with unlimited financial resources and putting aside style concerns, to summit all 14 in a very short lapse.

Go Mi-Sun (Ko Mi-Young) summited her first 8000er in October of 2006, and would end the race in April of 2010, less than four years from the beginning. She would cut to half Kukuczka’s present record of seven years and 11 months. The same with Oh Eun-Sun. Discounting the 8000ers previous to the decision to grab all, she collected 11 peaks in about four years.

I received a curious e-mail from a climber saying that if Denis Urubko, Anatoli Boukreev, or Carlos Carsolio had unlimited money, they would end the race in a year or so. Pure speculation! But the South Korean female climbers proved that it is possible to complete the entire pack of 14 in the three to five year lapse.

Another conclusion is that it became very clear that from now on climbers must be divided into two groups.

One group is formed by those who are only interested in completing all 14–it does not matter how. For example: Oh Eun-Sun, Go Mi-Sun, Edurne Pasaban, Han Wang-Young. This group, with or without strong financial support, would climb with many “helpers”, such as guides, Sherpas or other climbing helpers, who are co-actors, and would go up on the most basic routes, trying nothing different in terms of alpinism, and using oxygen when necessary.

The other group–for example: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Reinhold Messner, Denis Urubko–would be formed by those who face mountaineering as sport and tries to go beyond the limits, using a large spectrum of “tools”: speed ascents, taking advantage of new or difficult routes, doing winter climbing, going without bottled oxygen, etc….

V–Female collectors with at least one summit in spring

14 Oh Eun-Sun (S.K.)
14 Edurne Pasaban (SPA)
13 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (AUT)
7 Kinga Baranowska (POL)
5 Eva Zarzuelo (SPA)
4 Sandrine De Choudens (FRA)

NOTE: This Chronicle is based on preliminary data and under analysis. Some numbers will be revised in the following months, with possibly a few corrections made by then.

* Previous story :

Everest & Himalaya 2010 Season’s End Chronicle, Take 1: 8000er Collectors, Everest Serial Summiteers and Lost Climbers.

* Related Links :

StatCrunch: ladies of thin air – beyond Wanda’s footprints.

Oh Eun-Sun summits Annapurna – becomes the first woman 14x8000er summiteer!

Edurne Pasaban the first European and second woman in the world to complete the 14x8000ers.

Piotr Pustelnik summits Annapurna – bags the 14x8000ers!

Veikka Gustafsson completes the 14×8000ers list!

Andrew Lock completes the 14×8000ers list!

* Polish Himalayas – Become a Fan

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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Edurne Pasaban the first European and second woman in the world to complete the 14x8000ers.

Shisha Pangma summit debrief and pics: Edurne Pasaban ultimate 8000er.

Posted: May 18, 2010 01:00 pm EST
(ExWeb/Madrid) “I just can’t assume the fact that I am done,” Edurne Pasaban told ExplorersWeb over Sat-phone earlier today from BC. “Sure, I am happy to be safely back in BC after summiting a 8000+ meter peak – just like after any other climb! I’m trying to get a different feeling this time, but everything looks just the same… Oh boy, I think it’ll take some time for the feat to settle down in my mind! Surely, once back home…”

At 1:50pm Nepal Time today Edurne and the rest of Al Filo de lo Imposible team members entered Shisha Pangma BC, thus crossing the finish line of a 12 years-long project. In her fifth attempt on Shisha and precisely one month after summiting Annapurna, Spanish Edurne Pasaban (36) has become the first European and second woman in the world to complete the 14x8000ers.

“Hey it’s not that I am not happy! I am actually elated. But, I think “14x8000ers” and lots of people come to my mind. My parents, friends, climbing mates, supporters – crowds to be grateful to. I am looking around and watching the expedition Doc checking the sherpas, the camera crew sending over images, my mates… There’s much people involved in this – yeah, I summited the peaks, but otherwise I am just a part of a large team project.”

Summit day in Iñaki’s footprints

“Summit day was great – everything went just smoothly” Pasaban recalls. “We had planned to set off at 4 am, but wind was blowing hard at the time, so we decided to wait until dawn. It worked: as sun rose, wind dropped. Then we left C3.”

“Mingma, Asier and I took the lead and broke trail along the traverse below the summit ridge,” said Edurne. “We followed Iñaki route, but not losing altitude as he was forced to do back in 2006 – conditions were so good that we just traversed in a slightly ascending direction, until we reached the couloir Iñaki had used to gain the summit ridge.”

“Conditions at the couloir were, at first, perfect: hard snow. On top we met some more fresh snow, but not for long anyway. The couloir leads to a small saddle – right where the British route from the south side ends. I looked at my watch and I couldn´t believe my eyes: It was 9.00am! I had been worried because that was the first time I had set off on a summit day after dawn; then I realized we had plenty of time.”

“It was also great that we had chosen to climb Iñaki route: the summit ridge was unclimbable: sharp, dangerous with fragile snow slabs, and extremely long! The meters we walked on the edge from the saddle to the summit and back were the scariest in the entire climb.”

Home-sick

Descent was also fast and uneventful. Pasaban team retrieved their gear from C3 and pitched the tents again in C2 (they had no previously set higher camps) still in daylight. Today they took their time and returned in great weather conditions.

“The yaks are coming tomorrow, we will return to Nyalam Thursday, and hopefully hit back KTM on Friday,” Edurne said. “We’re on our 75th day of expedition; it’s getting too long! I am fine, since my parents have come to greet me in Kathmandu and so I am looking forward to meeting them – but my mates are missing their families quite a lot.”

All teams back in BC

Besides Edurne, summiteers were: Pasaban mates Nacho Orviz, Asier Itaguirre, Alex Chicon (Txicon), Mingma Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa; Italians Mario Panzeri and Michele Compagnoni (Alberto eventually turned back); Spanish J, Ramon Madariaga, Isabel garcía, Roberto Rodrigo and Jaume Gibernau, plus a 69 years old Japanese climber, on O2 and together with two sherpas. It is unconfirmed whether the Italian and Madariaga teams were accompanied by sherpas as well.

Al Filo team members were first to reach BC today, according to the expedition doctor Pablo Diaz-Munio, while other teams showed up later in the day. “As they arrived, I checked some climbers with health problems: One shows sympthoms of HAPE, two sustain very sore throaths, other two are seriously dehydrated and another climber feared to be frostbitten (it doesn´t seems so) – nothing too serious, thanks God,” Pablo stated.

A keen mountaineer since she was a child in the Spanish Basque Country, Edurne Pasaban (Tolosa, 1973) soon gained experience in the Alps and Andes’ ranges before her jump into the Himalayan scene: Her first 8000er was Everest, summited in 2001.

Five more huge peaks among the so-called 14 8000ers added up in the following two years: Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse and the Gasherbrums.

In 2004, Edurne joined Spanish TV’s “Al Filo de lo Imposible” (On the Edge of the Impossible) documentary series for an attempt on K2. She succeeded, but at a high toll: frostbites suffered on descent in extreme conditions cost her two toes.

Nevertheless, she also won over Nanga Parbat in 2005 and Broad Peak in 2007.

It was when she counted nine out of 14 summit under her belt, that she entirely focused on completing the “14×8000 Challenge”, together with team-mates Asier Izaguirre, Alez Chicon, Ferran Latorre, and Ignacio Delgado as manager. Thus Manaslu and Dhaulagiri followed in 2008, and Kangchenjunga in 2009. This current year, Edurne jumped on a double-header bet, comprising the highly dangerous Annapurna and Shisha Pangma (which she had already attempted four times!), teaming up with the usual mates plus nacho orviz, who substituded Ferran Latorre (injured on a partial ski descent on Anna).

The gambling paid off and May17th at 11.30am Nepal Time, she became 14x8000er summiteer.

* Website spanish climber: Edurne Pasaban

Climbers who have reached the summit of all 14 eight-thousanders

Field 02 lists people who have peaked all 14 without bottled oxygen.

Order
accomplished
All without
O2 (order)
Name Period born at age Nationality
1 1 Reinhold Messner 1970-1986 1944 42 Flag of Italy Italian
2 Jerzy Kukuczka 1979-1987 1948 39 Flag of Poland Polish
3 2 Erhard Loretan 1982-1995 1959 36 Flag of Switzerland Swiss
4 Carlos Carsolio 1985-1996 1962 33 Flag of Mexico Mexican
5 Krzysztof Wielicki 1980-1996 1950 46 Flag of Poland Polish
6 3 Juanito Oiarzabal 1985-1999 1956 43 Flag of Spain Spanish
7 Sergio Martini 1983-2000 1949 51 Flag of Italy Italian
8 Young Seok Park 1993-2001 1963 38 Flag of South Korea Korean
9 Hong Gil Um 1988-2001 1960[6] 40 Flag of South Korea Korean
10 4 Alberto Iñurrategi 1991-2002[7] 1968 33 Flag of Spain Spanish
11 Wang Yong Han 1994-2003 1966 37 Flag of South Korea Korean
12 5[8] Ed Viesturs 1989-2005 1959 46 Flag of the United States American
13 6[9][10][11] Silvio Mondinelli 1993-2007 1958 49 Flag of Italy Italian
14 7[12] Ivan Vallejo 1997-2008 1959 49 Flag of Ecuador Ecuador
15 8 [13] Denis Urubko 2000-2009 1973 35 Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
16 Ralf Dujmovits 1990-2009 1961[14] 47 Flag of Germany German
17 9 Veikka Gustafsson 1993-2009 1968 41 Flag of Finland Finnish
18 [16] Andrew Lock 1993-2009 1961 48 Flag of FinlandAustralia
19 10 João Garcia 1993-2010 1967 43 Portugal Portuguese
20 Piotr Pustelnik 1990-2010 1951 59 Poland Polish
21 [21] Oh Eun-Sun 1997-2010 1966 44 South Korea Korean
22
Edurne Pasaban
2001-2010 1973 36 Spain Spanish

*See:

Edurne Pasaban

** Previous story :

Veikka Gustafsson completes the 14×8000ers list!

Andrew Lock completes the 14×8000ers list!

Oh Eun-Sun summits Annapurna – becomes the first woman 14x8000er summiteer!

Piotr Pustelnik summits Annapurna – bags the 14x8000ers!

* Polish Himalayas – Become a Fan

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.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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