Friday, 6 February 2009

Its show down on Makalu and one of the hardest 8000 meter peeks might finally get its first winter accent. Makalu is considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. The mountain is notorious for its steep pitches and knife-edged ridges that are completely open to the elements. The final ascent of the summit pyramid involves technical rock climbing. Makalu is the only Nepalese 8,000 m peak which has yet to be climbed in true winter conditions.

When all of in Europe are still in our warm beds Simone and Denis will start a fight that ended the life of world class climber Jean-Christophe Lafaille. The French mountaineer disappeared on Makalu while trying to make the first winter ascent on or about January 27, 2006.

Simone is a true fighter and he has tried so many times to summit on of the worlds highest peaks that remains unclimbed in winter. The last two winters Simone spent in Pakistan trying to do winter accents but the Himalaya game is tough and unfair. There is no correlation between effort and success. Its harsh odds and few dare challenging such a off the chart venture. I truly admire Simone and Denis who are not only fighting there own demons, wind, exposure and bad odds but what I admire most is that they are braking new ground and setting new standards for what is possible for man to achieve if the termination and commitment is there.

Simone is not only a gifted alpinist but also a generous man not hesitating to help fellow climbers. The other day I shoot him a email asking for a contact in La Sportiva ( one of his sponsors and to my surprise I got and answer in about 30 seconds. The new satellite technology is opening new doors to communicate with sponsors, fans, friends and most important media. To be able to follow this kind of adventure on line is kind of surreal. I was not expecting an answer the same week and certainly not the same minute. But this is for sure a key selling point when approaching sponsors for backing this kind of extreme ventures in to the unknown. The down side of this availability is off course that when drama is unfolding media is hot on the heels of the climbers and those with no summit glory are the fastest to respond to the hungry media wolfs all looking for drama.

I guess thats the price we pay to watch real adventure unfold live. Lets all pry for Simone and Denis and guys please return safely with the summit in the bag.