Home > Expeditions & Adventures > ExplorersWeb Week in Review The Pioneers Checkpoint

ExplorersWeb Week in Review The Pioneers Checkpoint

Very few victories with two fatalities only in the past two weeks attest to the unceasing seriousness of Pakistan 8000+ mountaineering. This weekend all eyes or on K2 where a huge, last ditch summit push is on. Check a detailed latest report below.

In other news: Veikka Gustafsson completed the 14x8000ers list; Devon McDiarmid, Derek Crowe and Adrian Hayes arrived after 67 days of kite-skiing across Greenland; Sarah Outen is closing in on the end of her historic Indian Ocean row; and two teenagers sailing around the world prove that age is just a number.

Side note: following an avalanche of false victory claims in later years, unclear summits are now openly questioned by climbers. While difficult and not always just; the ongoing battle for fairness will hopefully benefit all in the end.

K2: Bad conditions at the Shoulder and around the Bottleneck forced all climbers back from summit push last week. However, a sharp drop in the wind forecasted for Tuesday got most to decide on another shot. Kazakh Max and Vassiliy, Russian Serguey, Austrians Gerlinde, Gerfried and Sepp, Canadian Louis, Ecuadorian Santiago, Field Touring’s Jake Meyer, Fabrizio Zangrilli and other international climbers, speed climber Christian Stangl are among those who will join hands for what is probably a last attempt this season. Korean Hong-Bin Kim (6, 8000ers) is attempting the peak in spite of losing all his fingers to frostbite on McKinley in 1991, ExWeb’s Korean sources stated.

For technical reasons the alternative route proposed last year has turned a no-go so the push will go over the usual Cesen and Abruzzi lines. Gerfried’s team reported that the Americans, Kazakhs and Russians started ascending the Abruzzi on Friday. Santiago, Kim and his Sherpas, Gerlinde and Americans started ascending Cesen yesterday. Gerfried, Louis, Sepp and Christian started out last and went straight to camp 2, which they reached today. Gerlinde, Maxut, Serguey, Vasily, Santiago, Fabrizio, Kim, Pemba, Mingma, Dave, George and Ali all plan to meet and climb together from the Bottleneck, fixing the route along the way. This is an experienced bunch, Gerfried pointed out, sharing about 75, 8000er summits between them.

Summit question marks: Spanish Jorge Egocheaga reportedly summited K2, his 10th 8000er, on July 19 via the Abruzzi Spur route. Late Iñaki Ochoa’s regular climbing mate, the independent Egocheaga is known for fast and light ascents in small teams. The climber decided on a solo attempt with a break in the weather. He topped-out at 7.30 am local time; and returned to C3 in 3.5 hours. His summit claim was however questioned by a number of climbers in BC. Five Iranian members of the Tehran and Sarab expeditions were reported to have reached GII’s summit in high winds. The statement was however pushed back by climbers in BC, who reported that the mountaineers said they had turned around 50 meters shy from the real top. On Broad Peak: two Swiss, one German, and Cleo Weidlich reportedly summited on the morning of July 20th at 8:17 am. This statement has been disputed by Dutch expedition leader Eelco Jansen who states that this year nobody reached the main Summit of Broad Peak (yet – a team remains on the SW side). 11 mountaineers made it to the Fore Summit also known as the Rocky Summit (8035 m). AdventureStats will contact all disputed climbers for summit pictures and/or other evidence.

Broad Peak: Cristina Castagna, 31, lost on descent from C4 Nicknamed “El Grio” (the cricket) Cristina reportedly slipped and fell into a crevasse while descending with mate Giampaolo Casarotto. She had previously summited Shisha’s central summit (2004), GII (2005), Dhaulagiri (2007) and Makalu (2008). This season, she and Renato hoped to summit Broad Peak and then give GI a shot.

Broad Peak’s SW side: 29 days after arriving in BC, Iran’s Arash Mountaineers team is still trying to reach C3,” IMZ news reported. “They’ve fixed 2,050 meters of rope between 4900m and 6500m.”

Gasherbrum II: fatality Climbing behind the Iranian team with Polish mate Jacek Teler; Spanish mountaineer Luis M. Barbero was last seen near the summit and was reported lost some days later by his team mates down in BC.

GI summits – Veikka Gustafsson completes the 14x8000ers list! Following a 16-year long quest, Finnish climber Veikka Gustafsson is now one of the very few men in the world to have climbed all the 14x8000ers without supplementary O2. The victory came on July 26, when Veikka and his climbing mate Kazuya Hiraide (Japan) reached the summit of Gasherbrum 1 together with Bulgarian mountaineers Nikolay Petkov, Doychin Boyanov, Boyan Petrov, and Nikolay Valkov.

G1 summit push Polish Jacek Teler, Carlos Soria’s team are on a summit push at the time of this publishing while FTA hopes a summit attempt on Tuesday. Korean Oh Eun-sun and her team hope for summit today, Sunday, Black Yak told ExWeb correspondent Kyu Dam Lee. Oh will shoot for the top straight from C3 in order to take advantage of the weather window.

Latok I Oscar Perez and Alvaro Novellon are attempting the unclimbed north face of Latok 1 in alpine style. “Should everything go well, we’ll spend about seven or eight days on the wall,” they told their home team from BC. “That is just an approximate amount of time – since no one has climbed the face completely, we have no references.”

Greenland: it’s done! Devon McDiarmid, Derek Crowe and Adrian Hayes arrived at the head of MacCormick Fjord near to Qaanaaq (Thule) on Saturday 25 July. During the last 100 km the guys didn’t get much wind and had to sledge-haul most this distance, in area littered with hidden crevasses and melt water. “It resembled water skiing more than snow skiing and was a bit more challenging than even we bargained for!” said Adrian, after 67 days of kite-skiing across Greenland.

ExWeb interview with Adrian Hayes,“ Most vital is to get weather forecasts” Adrian called ExplorersWeb on their satellite phone from Thule Air Force Base near Qaanaaq and talked to ExWeb’s Correne Coetzer about how this Greenland expedition compared to an expedition on Antarctica and on the Arctic Ice.

Patagonia update: Turning around Aussie couple Rob Rigato and Linda Beilharz took 23 day’s food with them for their expedition on the Southern Patagonia Icecap. Progress across the wet, deep snow was extremely slow. After much consideration they decided to turn around after nearly two weeks into the expedition. The two have posted a photo library with a debrief.

Greenland glaciers measured in a Greenpeace supported initiative Aussie polar explorer Eric Philips is on board the Greenpeace vessel, Arctic Sunrise, currently anchoring in front of the Humboldt Glacier in Northwest Greenland. Eric told ExplorersWeb he is on board the vessel as the expedition safety guide.

Expedition Manager needed for a South Pole return ski John Wilton-Davies is back with plans for the 2010-11 Antarctic season, this time with a teammate, fellow Brit Justin Miles. They are planning an unassisted, unsupported return ski expedition and are looking for an expedition manager, “suitable for armchair adventurers to be properly involved in a major expedition,” John told ExplorersWeb.

Heads up: Cristian Donoso and Mario Sepúlveda’s Antarctic Peninsula kayak, ski and climb expedition Chilean kayakers and climbers, Cristian Donoso and Mario Sepúlveda, will attempt a self-sufficient kayak voyage and sledge-hauling and climbing expedition at the Antarctic Peninsula during November 2009 till January 2010.

ExWeb Interview with Eric McNair-Landry, “an expedition in which more decisions had to be made on the trail than during the planning” Brother and sister Sarah and Eric McNair Landry of polar fame recently did a kiting expedition across the Gobi Desert; ExWeb ran an interview with Sarah and now the time came for Eric’s take.

Helen Lloyd’s bike ride through Africa kicked off On 14 July, UK Helen Lloyd left on a mission to cycle 20 000 km in 2 years from Cambridge in England to Cape Town in South Africa. Her route will take her through Western Europe, West Africa, East Africa and eventually Southern Africa.

Heads up: Peter Gostelow’s cycle through Africa British adventure cyclist Peter Gostelow will set out on 16 August 2009 to cycle from the UK to Cape Town, South Africa; a 25,000 km journey through 25 countries that will take him between 18-24 months. Peter told ExplorersWeb that he will be following Helen Lloyd, but his route will include cycling through Central Africa.

Heads up: Mark Wood’s 2010 Alaskan dog sledding expedition In March UK polar guide Mark Wood and Alaskan musher Brent Sass will be guiding two dog sledding journeys through one of most awe inspiring landscapes, the Alaskan Wilderness. For 10 days the team of 10 people will be running their own Alaskan Huskies through snow covered forests and riding snowmobiles across frozen lakes. Aurora-watching on top of mountains and dips in natural hot springs are on the schedule as well.

Indian Ocean Rowing Race wrap-up: The race rules ‘Rowing for Prostate’ crossed the finish line as the fourth boat to finish the Indian Ocean Rowing Race, but they have provisionally been awarded second place. The Woodvale Organisers explained how the race rules work.“Without doubt the closest race during the Indian Ocean Rowing Race has been between the two remaining pairs boats ‘Southern Cross’ and ‘Flying Ferkins’,” added the organisers late last week. The 2 Pairs boats still out on the Ocean have been rowing for 100+ days.

Sarah Outen update: Hundred and eleven days Longest out there and closing in on 120 days, late last week independent Indian Ocean rower Sarah reported rowing through a fairly silent, mostly waveless sea, waiting for the wind of a new system to kick in and 570 nautical miles remaining to Mauritius. The rower is expected to hopefully land early next week – as the first woman to accomplish the feat.

Roz Savage Pacific row: The UK rower has been out for 70 days now in her row from Hawaii to Tuvalu in the Pacific.

Young guns sailing the world When American Zac Sunderland departed on his yacht from Marina del Rey, California on 14 June 2008 he was 16 years old. His dream was to become the youngest person to sail around the world. Thirteen months later, on July 16, 2009 he arrived back at his starting point. Another 17-year-old, British Mike Perham, is also on a yacht voyage around the world and is currently mooring in Panama. He was 16 when he left and his intention was to sail around the world non-stop, single-handed, unassisted. Said Mike, “I always knew that some people would try to pit us against each other and it bugs me when that happens. Was it Zac vs Mike? No. I tell you what it is. It’s two teenagers going out there, living their dream and having the adventure of a lifetime!”

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