Saturday, 14 November 2009

R.I.P Tomaz Humar

Sadly Tomaz Humar did not make it back home. I lift my hat for Simon Anthamatten. Simon risked his life trying to save Tomaz. Simon had got back to Switzerland after his first accent of the South Face of Jasemba 7350 m and yet he did not hesitate to go back and try and help a fellow climber. On a day like this you can see how strong the bonds are between the climbers who operate in small teams trying new things in Himalaya. 

"Pilot Robert Andenmatten and rescuer Simon Anthamatten could get Tomaz down from Langthang Lirung. Unfortunately Tomaz did not survive! All our thoughts are with his family and friends".

I play Johnny Cash - 'Hurt" to day in memory of Tomaz


Monday, 9 November 2009

New smart daisy cain from Grivel

Grivel is launching some new cool stuff for the 2010 season that I like. The quick draws look great and from what I hear they are super light and strong. But the new daisy chain is what really impressed me. Looks allot safer and better than existing once.

Photo courtesy

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Its all about the style

What's the definition of a god style on an alpine accent?

Is it reaching the summit? Not using O2? No Sherpas? No Fixed rope? Alpine style? Doing some thing harder and faster than last time? Is it done in winter? Is it off the beaten track? Are you trying to establish new lines? Are you bringing the style of accent that works at home to high mountains?

What ever style might be I would argue there is a superior style witch one can and shall use when conducting alpine climbing. To day no one would dream of landing on a glacier in Chamonix with a plane and spend the next 20 days fixing the entire North Face of Grand Jourasses. Why? Because its been done in far better style. Still siege style is applied in modern Himalaya climbing. On almost all peaks above 8000 meters this is standard practice in order to make sure as many paying clients as possible can summit. Expedition style or siege style accents are done in order to claim an accent way exceeding what the team can manage with in there own capacity.

In climbing circles this kind of abuse of virgin lines almost always receive severe criticism, still its used to make first accents mainly by teams from Korea, Japan and Russia. I think its a no brainer that futuristic lines should be saved for future generations to explore. And who can argue against that?

Still this kind of "trash and rape" is totally accepted when it comes to bring paying clients up 8000 meter peaks. Who can explain that? Why do we accept that a route on a 8000 meter peak is done in a style far from its best practice? Why is the 8000 meter tourism allowed to destroy the pleasure of being in the mountains for the rest of us? This hole game of making the Himalayas a play ground for who ever can afford it is crazy and destructive. The commercial expeditions contribute with less than zero to the development of Himalaya climbing. The clients on this kind of expeditions don't understand the difference between being dragged up like a rag doll or doing the same effort with style.

Few including media can appreciate the difference between styles and the sad outcome is that great achievements simply get diluted. To the world an Everest summit is a Everest summit. No matter if one was achieved as a client and the other post monsoon in alpine style up the Hornbine couloire. The pure efforts achieved in the Himalayas drown at the cost of adventure tourists with dubious summits claims. The environmental issues are getting bigger by the year due to the increased accessibility to the greater ranges. Ok in short terms its good for the local economy and a few great guys likeMortenson and Hillary contribute massively to the local communities that have showed so much hospitality to them, but the wast majority of the visitors just pollute in all senses of the word.

Price the posers out of the Himalayas

Regulations wont happen as these poor countries desperately need the tourism. How ever at some point a massive accident will happen and all sorts of calls for change will be brought up. One way of dealing with this hole mess would be to price the "posers" out of the market. Price permits for non Alpine Style Expeditions ten times higher than Alpine Style attempts.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Piolet 'd Or candidates are stacking up fast

The last weeks quite a few notable climbs has been ticked off in the Himalayas. A few of them certainly looks like good Piolet 'd Or candidates and they have been climbed by past winners so no surprise if some familiar names will return to the nomination list this year. Quite interesting is that Fowler has been active on several of the objectives now featuring new routes or partly new routs or just fine repeats. One can only admire the visionary Fowler and envy his accomplishments.

Guess the boss of the Piolet 'd Or organization will miss out on a price since he did not top out himself but the Trommsorff - Graziani route previously reported here looks brilliant. Personally I would not give a shit in the remaining snow flog either. I'm all for more route focus and less summit frenzy. But thats only me.

Bruce Normand with who I tried Gasherbrum 4 this summer bagged a super nice route on Wuelian Feng 6627 m. The north facing buttress was graded M6 WI5 5.7 R and is 2650 meters. Not a bad conciliation price. Bruce did the route with Jed Brown, Kyle Dempster and Jared Vihauer in a 5 day push. For more info look at

Marko Prezelj, Rok Blagus and Luka Lindic came home from India with three new routes on three different Bhagirathi peaks. The hardest route the trio accomplished was a 1300 meter ED+ / ABO (6b+ M8 WI6+) on Bhagirathi II. For more info please look at

Last years multiple awarded Piolet 'd Or climber Simon Anthamatten with brother Samuel and Michael Lerjen climbed the South Face of Jasemba 7350 m in alpine style in a five day push. The hardest part of the accent was dealing with tricky snow conditions. For further information

Four Russian climbers bagged a partly new route on Siguniang 6250 m. The attempted new line proved difficult and in the end the Russians traversed in to the Fowler Ramsden route. The route was graded Russian 6b. Several falls was taken on lead and one of the guys spent 3 days recovering from injuries sustained during a fall.

Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman has grabbed the first accent of the much eyed North Face of Chang Himal 6750 m in the Kangchenjung area. This 1500 meter North Face was listed in Alpinist as one of the great unsolved problems of the Himalayas. I'm sure Crux sponsored Bullock is quite please with this accent and I'm very impressed by the teams swift action once established in BC. Chapeau!

Photo of intended Bullock - Housseman route courtesy:

From Russia with love... Russian K2 West Face climbers Vitaly Gorelik and Gleb Sokolov has showed off there capacity with a new route on the North Face of Peak Pobeda 7439 m. The two climbed the route in alpine style over seven and half days. This was Sokolovs thirs attempt on this line and he is no stranger to Pobeda with several previous summits of Pobeda. This is impressive stuff and the line looks both interesting and hard.

Picture courtesy of

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Gear News

Photo: Courtesy of Black Diamond

Black Dimond has a bunch of nice new stuff coming out for the coming winter. The Xenos harness for winter routes looks super good with 6 ice clipper slots allowing you to rack as you like. The new Fusion axe also look great. This First Shot tool looks super smart with its mini saw and more compact than other models.