Annapurna – final dispatch

Wir konnten heute zurück nach Kathmandu fliegen: Es ist Zeit für den letzten Bericht (ENG) von unserer Annapurna Expedition.

Dispatch no. 4 / final dispatch – written by Rick Allen:

We had successfully acclimatized on Tilicho Peak, moved to Annapurna N base camp and now everything hinged on the weather. We were really looking for an ideal ‘weather window’ of three days of low wind at 8000m combined with little or no precipitation. Gradually, it became clear it would not be happening. We lowered our expectations and grasped at the promise of a single day of low wind followed by a day of high snow fall. We set off on Wednesday, 17th May on our pure ‘alpine style’ attempt on the NW face of Annapurna. Alpine style is often equated with light-weight style but as we shouldered our 23kg+ packs, the lightness was difficult to appreciate. Our route, paradoxically, led us first down to the glacial lakes at the foot of the N Annapurna glacier, 200m below our base camp (4100m) before climbing slowly over boulder strewn terrain leading towards the moraines below our face. The glacier is extremely fractured and we toiled over alternating rock strewn ridges and abrupt, icy slopes separating deep fissures of crevasses before emerging onto more snowy glacier in the late afternoon. Here, as the characteristic snow shower passed, we pitched our 3 person tent on a flat spot around 5000m and caught the last rays of the evening sun.

An hour next morning took us to the base of a huge triangular buttress and an icy couloir running up its right hand side. We crossed the bergschrund (major crevasse) which separates the glacier from face and began to climb. This was to be the last moment for the next 3 days we had flat ground the size of six boot prints under our feet. The couloir started as a snow slope but increasingly hard icy streaks predominated at an average of about 55 degrees. It was also long, longer than we had estimated and the afternoon snow showers were well developed as we approached its top. No break in the angle provided any relief for a bivouac site so we began to cut a ledge in the ice at the foot of a rock wall where we could secure the rope. Torrents of spindrift poured intermittently down the wall and during these interludes we variously crouched or hung on, alert to the possibility that a full airborne avalanche may develop. At sunset, the snow relented once more and we had a glimpse of the sun and the Eastern flanks of Dhaulagiri. Finally, we had a ledge for half a tent and we could sit in a row, belayed inside our tent fabric with a single pole keeping it off our faces with our legs hanging free. We cooked a simple meal and brewed many hot drinks before lapsing into fitful rest. Through the tiny vent we watched a clear, starlit night develop over the central Nepal Himalaya.

Getting moving in the morning was slow as we melted more snow for hot drinks, carefully unwound our safety lines which attached everything to the wall and ourselves and packed our sacks. The icy slope slanted right from the top of the couloir and we chose to rope up from the start, one climber leading and placing ice screws as the other two followed simultaneously. Whether because of the sleepless night, the effect of two days effort or the brittle, thin ice over rock, we were moving more slowly than the day before and yet again the snowfall began and we had no-where to place a tent. The descending spin drift clouds added urgency to our search and one hour before dark we tried to make something of a sloping rock ledge at 6500m. This sloped alarmingly and gathered so much snow that at the end we were hanging in our harnesses from our belay points, shrouded in tent fabric. No question of removing our boots to change into dry socks, adding warm clothing and only with the greatest efforts by Felix did we manage to melt some snow to produce a drink. By contrast, the sitting bivouac of the previous night had been luxurious. We constantly disturbed one another as we sought to shift our positions to alter the pressure of harnesses on our bodies and shivering became almost constant. When one careless movement produced a rip in the tent ( not designed to be hung exactly like this) we suddenly had a new view of the world, through the hole in floor to the glacier far below. Things deteriorated overnight as we lost one sleeping mat to the abyss and in the morning as we began to extricate ourselves from the bivouac, one sleeping bag slipped through the cellar door and disappeared. It was an open question up to this point whether we should continue upwards or descend. On the one hand, we had climbed half the face, we had confidence we could handle the technical difficulties and we ample food and gas for several more days. However, the incessant afternoon snowfall was alarming, we had slowed on the second day and after two practically sleepless nights we were not going to accelerate. From here onwards, retreat would become much more serious and breaking through to the summit ridge would require full commitment. The loss of one member’s sleeping bag tilted the argument firmly in favour of descent. Multiple nights above 6500m without a bag would be impractical, even if we could find tent sites in the steep terrain above us, which seemed unlikely.

Nine hours, 20 rappels from ‘Abalakov’ ice belays and several pitches of downclimbing later, we were back on the glacier, not a little relieved and glad to pitch our wounded tent on some flat snow. As we cooked up the first meal for two days, the sound of powder snow avalanches pouring down the face confirmed our decision to descend. Another full day took us back down the glacier and its moraines to the welcoming tents of base camp. Toiling back up from the glacial lakes, as the evening sleet continued, it became clear there never really was a ‘summit weather window’

Annapurna-1-Summit
Annapurna-1-Summit
Gipfel des Annapurna I mit Schneefahnen; Author: Felix Berg SummitClimb.ch
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Conclusion: Louis Rousseau and Adam Bielecki had conceived of a new route on Cho Oyu. They invited Rick Allen and Felix Berg to join them. Bureacratic obstacles had frustrated the original vision but a new objective had been formulated. Time constraints had taken Louis home early but Adam, Felix and Rick successfully climbed Tilicho Peak. They climbed half of the extremely serious NW face of Annapurna I before retreating in bad weather. The decision making on this kind of enterprise is crucial and most of us would say we would only contemplate such a route with someone we have climbed with extensively. Adam, Felix and Rick had never climbed together before but would gladly do so again. That is one measure of success.

Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Erste Erfolge am Everest

Everest Tibet (Nord)

Am 22.5.17 um 11.oo Uhr gelang der ersten Summitclimb-Gruppe ein Gipfelerfolg!

Weitere Versuche sind geplant. Derzeit befindet sich die Expedition in Camp 2 auf 7900m.

Everest Nepal (Süd)

Der Gipfelversuch am 19.5.17 musste leider abgebrochen werden. Am Lhotse konnten aber 2 Teilnehmer und 1 Sherpa den Gipfel erreichen, was seit 4 Jahren nicht möglich war.

Am 20.5.17 war es dann auch auf dem Everest Gipfel soweit: 1 Teilnehmer und 1 Sherpa standen auf dem Dach der Welt.

Veröffentlicht unter Everest, Expeditionen, Himalaya, SummitClimb | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Rückkehr vom Gipfelversuch – Annapurna

Gestern erhielt unser Büro den ersehnten Anruf von der Expedition: zurück im Basislager – alle wohlauf!

Entgegen der Vorhersagen zog sich das Wetter am Gipfel drastisch zu, so dass alles im Schneesturm versankt. Zum Glück wurden die Zeichen richtig gedeutet und die Expedition entschied sich auf 6500m umzudrehen.

Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Gipfelversuch am Annapurna

Heute ist die Annapurna-Expedition um Felix Berg Richtung Gipfel aufgestiegen.

Für die kommenden Tage sagt der Wetterbericht günstigeres Wetter voraus, so dass die Expedition die Gelegenheit nutzen möchte, einen Versuch auf den Gipfel des Annapurna zu unternehmen.

Wir wünschen viel Erfolg!

Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Annapurna Expedition – Tilicho Besteigung (Report)

Annapurna team dispatch no 3 – written by Rick Allen:

Early on 27 April we set off up Tilicho Peak again in search of acclimatisation, and in approximately 9 hours gained our crevasse, wind-tunnel, camp site on the ridge. Most of us had a bad night and we postponed pushing further until the following day. We awakened at 2.00 but the wind had gained in strength and did not relent. Finally, at 6.00 we reluctantly decided to begin the descent and were glad to reach base camp a few hours later. The following days saw repeated heavy snowfalls, totalling around a metre at base camp and we spent the time recovering and digging out our tents. The plan to acclimatise rapidly on Tilicho Peak was proving to be too optimistic. For Louis, whose available time was more limited than the rest of us, the opportunity ever to progress to the main objective on Annapurna was vanishing and on 3rd May he reluctantly descended to the village of Jomsom with the help of Adam. On 5th, Louis was able to secure a flight to Kathmandu and Adam completed the 2500m of ascent to base camp. Meanwhile, a forecasted weather window had opened and Adam moved straight on upwards the following day with Rick and Felix to the familiar crevasse at 6200m.  This time, there was no hesitation, we set off at 7.00 the following morning, moving together over soft, deep snow patches and hard neve, over crevasses, through rock bands and around seracs to reach the summit of Tilicho Peak at 14.00. Satisfied with this fine, 7134m peak, we snatched some photos as clouds built and gained a glimpse of the NW face of Annapurna, our next objective. The descent took us back to our crevasse and the following day we regained base camp.

In theory, we were to transfer to Annapurna N base camp by helicopter the following day, 9th May, but cloud cover was too heavy and the Kathmandu valley was shrouded in rain. The trekking route to the original base camp used by the French first ascent team in 1950 is now so dangerous for porters that all expeditions now fly into this camp. The next day was little better and Felix and Adam descended to Jomsom leaving Rick with the sirdar at base camp. As luck would have it, the following day was perfect for flying and Rick guided the little red and white helicopter into land shortly after 7.30. Meanwhile, in Jomsom, Adam and Felix recognised at once the sound of the helicopter and hurried across to the helipad. ‘Have you seen a red helicopter?’ they asked. An official tried to check their documents (they had none) while they insisted all the more strongly they needed to be on the red helicopter when it landed. Meanwhile, the red helicopter had transferred all of the expedition’s baggage to Annapurna and was taking Rick and Ram to the new base camp. Other members in Jomsom, the pilot was told. Satellite SMS messages were exchanged and  the pilot agreed to pick them up. An hour later, the team was re-united under the shadow of Annapurna and a fourth flight delivered fresh food and equipment. We were finally in place.

We were sharing the open slopes above the North Annaupurna glacier with small Italian, Spanish and Chilean teams who were all on the mountain, pushing for the summit via the 1950 French route. This period of low wind enabled the established teams to complete their ascents while the new arrivals could only look at the longer term forecast of strong (90kph) summit winds in frustration. When the successful pairs descended, their tales of avalanche risk and serac collapse confirmed the dangers associated with the classic route and re-affirmed our team’s choice of Tilicho Peak for acclimatisation.

With our team in place and acclimatised, our chances hang on the weather in the final weeks of the pre-monsoon season. Our chosen route beckons; extremely challenging yet feasible. There will  be difficult choices for us as the available window closes and we await a break in the high winds.

Wetter am Tilicho Basislager
Wetter am Tilicho Basislager
Author: Felix Berg, SummitClimb.ch
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Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | 1 Kommentar

Annapurna Basecamp erreicht

Endlich!

Unsere Annapurna Expedition ist nun soweit akklimatisiert, dass sie gestern mit dem Helikopter ins Annapurna Basislager geflogen sind. Doch bevor es gleich weitergehen kann, muss das Wetter erstmal mitspielen. Im Moment zeigt sich dieses eher unbeständig. Nächste Woche könnte es dann soweit sein.

Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Neuigkeiten vom Everest

Unsere Everest Nepal Expedition sitzt seit einigen Tagen bei windigem und verschneitem Wetter im Basislager. Bisher konnten weder für den Gipfel noch für Lager 4 Seile gelegt werden. Allerdings sind vor 4 Tage einige Sherpas aufgebrochen, um Sauerstoff ins Lager 4 zu bringen. Sie werden heute zurück erwartet.

Die Everest Tibet Expedition befindet sich derzeit in Sigar, um morgen wieder erholt ins Basislager zurück zu kehren. Vor einigen Tagen konnten einige Teilnehmer am North Col bis auf  7315m steigen. Im Rahmen eines Basecamp-Meetings erklärte sich eine Gruppe mit Unterstützung der anderen Teilnehmer dazu, die Seile über 8300m zu legen. Nach der Rückkehr ins Basislager soll nun der Gipfel angestrebt werden.

 

Veröffentlicht unter Everest, Expeditionen, Himalaya, SummitClimb | 1 Kommentar

Gipfelerfolg am Tilicho

Am Sonntag, den 07.05.17, gelang es der Expedition mit Felix Berg den 7134 m hohen Gipfel des Tilichos im Annapurna Himal zu erreichen.

Hier ein paar Eindrücke:

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(c) Adam Bielecki
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Inzwischen befinden sich alle Teilnehmer wieder im Basislager. Dort hoffen sie auf besseres Wetter, um den 10. höchsten Berg der Welt, den Annapurna (8091 m), zu besteigen.

Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Annapurna – erneuter Gipfelversuch

Für das Wochenende wurde gutes Wetter angesagt, so dass die Expedition einen Gipfelversuch unternehmen wird. Wir werden über das Ergebnis des Versuches berichten.

Viel Erfolg!

Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Schlechtes Wetter am Annapurna

Gestern erhielt unser Büro in Berlin ein neues Update von Felix Berg:

Am 29.04.17 gelang der Expedition ein Aufstieg auf 6200m. Leider konnte seit dem kein neuer Versuch unternommen werden, da das Wetter durchgehend schlecht ist.

Zwei der Teilnehmer mussten inzwischen die Expedition verlassen.

Den verbliebenen Teilnehmern drücken wir alle Daumen und wünschen besseres Wetter!

Veröffentlicht unter Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Felix Berg, Himalaya, Nepal | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , | Hinterlasse einen Kommentar