New and redesigned ice tools from Petzl


AZADI : Freedom

"AZADI: Freedom" Official Trailer from b4apres media on Vimeo.

I'm excited to see this movie.  Seems like it will be a great look into a very complex situation.  The battle for Kashmir has been a long and difficult one.  Anthony Bonello and B4apres will give great insight into the current situation and how the locals are carrying on with their lives while living in the shadows of tanks and fighter jets.



K2 summit push underway

After an incredible spring and summer of high altitude action, perhaps the most remarkable feats are about to happen on Pakistan's K2.  

First Korean Oh summits Annapurna becoming the first woman to climb all 14 8000 meter peaks.  Then the Spaniard Pasaban tops out on Shisha to become the second woman to send the 8000ers.  Now on K2, Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner is in position to be the first woman to climb all of the 8000ers without the use of supplemental oxygen.  Reinhold Messner was the first to accomplish this in 1986 and since then only 10 people have been able to pull it off.  

Another amazing attempt is going on as well, Swede Fedrik Ericsson is going for a ski descent of the Cesen route.  Fred is back for another attempt after his trip last year was cut short by the death of his partner.  He is super strong and has already skied sections of the mountain that were previously unridden, the most dramatic of which is the huge bowl that drops off of the shoulder.  It starts at 7800 meters on the lowest point (top of the S-SE spur) and extends up and over to the Bottleneck at 8300 meters.  This feature on the south face is probably one of the most appealing slopes to ride on K2, huge, steep, exposed, super dramatic no-fall skiing. Huge respect to Fred for riding this.  I had dreamed so many times of dropping into this wall, a 3000 vertical foot shot hanging on the south face, I'm so happy he got to ride it.

The usual weather window for K2 occurs around the 1st of August.  This is not like an Everest window where the winds die down and the weather is good for a week or two.  This is a K2 window, 3 days maximum.  From the forecasts that I've seen, it looks like the 5th and 6th have low winds up high (14 km p/h).  That would mean that the climbers would leave base camp on the 2nd or 3rd depending on if they were skipping camps on the way up.  Some climbers choose to climb from bc direct to camp 2, stay the night, climb to camp 3, rest for a few hours, then start a summit push from there.  This may be the strategy for a few of the strongest people but since no one has reached the bottleneck, there are no ropes fixed.  I'm sure there has been a collective discussion in bc to sort out who will fix the ropes.  The folks fixing the ropes will most likely follow a more conservative ascent schedule, launching a summit push from the traditional place, camp 4 on the shoulder.

The next few days will be very interesting ones, as this will likely be the last attempt of the season.  With many teams already on their way home, there are few left.  If the weather doesn't hold, most will be forced to leave due to depleted resources on the mountain (food, gas, O2) or to travel agendas.  Hopefully the weather cooperates and all top out like in 2004.  If so, we will see, the first complete ski descent, first woman to climb all 14 8000ers w/out O2, first couple to summit together (George and Lakpa).  Maxut and Vassilli will complete their project of climbing all 8000ers w/out O2.  As well as some other stuff that includes frisbees, golf clubs, hacky sacs, beer bongs, etc.

Positive vibes to all the the folks out there!  Check out Fredrik's site for the details on this expedition





Ms. Oh summits Annapurna, first female to climb all 14 8000 meter peaks!

Well, the race is over.  S. Korea's Ms Oh Eun-Sun topped out on Annapurna this week, becoming the first woman in history to climb all of the worlds 14 8,000 meter peaks.  Her closest rival in the "race" is a Spanish woman who has expressed doubts about Ms Oh's climb of Kangchenjunga.  Too bad such a great moment is spoiled by controversy.  Yeah, she may have some insufficient proof of summiting but whatever, it's only climbing.  It should be a great moment for Oh, she completed her project and she is stoked.  Now the ethics nazis chime in and discount the validity of her send, that is just a bummer.  Some will hear about Oh and say "thats cool, she's hard", others will ask questions about the style she climbed and chip away at the radness of it.  Climbing is a selfish and pointless activity, we do it for ourselves and to reach a goal and have people discount it is a bummer. Seems some folks have a skewed perspective on reasons for climbing and they project their type-A competitive judgments on the "achievements" of others.  There never seems to be a lack of critics chiming in from the peanut gallery.  Strong work Eun-Sun Oh, you sent it, I'm super stoked for you.

links to articles:


Women on the 8000ers

To date no woman has climbed all 14 8000 meter peaks.  This weekend we may see a Korean woman, Oh, become the first.  

If she summits Annapurna, she'll have completed them, although there is some dispute on weather or not she topped out on a couple of the mountains.  Here is a story from the BBC.

 A Korean climber may this weekend become the first woman to scale the world's 14 highest peaks. It's one of the most formidable feats in mountaineering - but doubts have been creeping in about her right to claim the glory.

A year ago three European women were leading the race to conquer all 14 mountains in the world above 8,000m high - Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner of Austria, Nives Meroi of Italy and Edurne Pasaban of Spain.

But over four months in 2009 two rival South Korean climbers scaled an astonishing four peaks each, catapulting one of them, Oh Eun-Sun, to the top of the league table.

She is now on the slopes of her final mountain of the 14, Annapurna, with a Korean TV crew, which is planning a two-hour live broadcast on Sunday, when it estimates she will reach the summit.

Nothing can be taken for granted. But if she succeeds it will be a bitter blow to Edurne Pasaban, her nearest rival in the race, who ascended Annapurna herself on Saturday and is about to leave for Tibet to tackle the last peak on her list, Shisha Pangma.

For the full story by Stephen Mulvey, click here