Ueli and Tenji’s Non Ox Marathon in the dead zone of Everest. Ralf on the North side and Arakawa in the fixed ropes…
Mountaineering is a transient experience. I need to continuously repeat it to live it. Ueli Steck
Ueli Steck accompagnied by Tenji Sherpa are now in the Everest Base Camp preparing to climb up to C1 at 6400m, and lace on the booths.
From C1 Ueli Steck and Tenji Sherpa will try to shoot up the Hornbein route in one go to the summit of Everest 8848m, then decent the normal route down to the South Col to spend the night in a bivouac at 8000m.
The second part of their “double shoot” is then to climb up to the summit of Lhotse 8511m via the Denis Urubko variation couloir, and then decent from Lhotse directly to C1 at 6400m.
Let’s just hope that Ueli Steck and Tenji Sherpa will not get trapped in a traffic jam from the Everest summit and down to the South Col. But if they summit at the same time as the other commercial expeditions (that can include ARAKAWA ICI SPORTS JAPAN), it will just be to follow the slow “flow” down……so no need to “honk the horn”.
With a bit of luck, Ueli Steck and Tenji Sherpa can summit at the same time as Ralf Dujomovitz, is supposed to reach the summit from the North Side non ox.
Ueli Steck is completely equipped by Valandre as is Ralf and Arakawa.
Here is the plan:
-> From Base camp (5365m) ascend to Camp1 (6400m)
-> Climb the Hornbein Couloir
-> summit Mount Everest (8848m)
-> descend to the South Col (8000m) climb another couloir (Denis Urubko’ variation)
-> summit Lhotse (8511m)
-> descend to Camp 2 via the standard route and then continue through the Khumbu Icefall (6400m)
-> return to Base Camp (5365m).
for this project will be Tenji Sherpa with whom he already climbed Cholatse’s North face (6440m) in Nepal and the Eiger/Mönch/Jungfrau traverse in the European Alps. They spent time together in February to train and acclimate sessions in the Khumbu Valley. Tenji sherpa is part of a new generation of Sherpas looking to make their mark as alpinists.
Tenji Sherpa and Ueli Steck in Lukla
The crux of this new project will not really be the technical difficulty of the traverse, but the extremely high altitude and how the body will respond after spending so much time in such an oxygen-starved environment.
Finally – The La Fayette received the recognition from the Spanish specialized climbing magazine DESNIVEL. The La Fayette was the first differential cut bag from Valandre using pre-cut, but circular baffles. We used circular baffles to make it easy and basically test, if it was possible to develop and produce such a technology. Once knowing that it was possible, we developed the anatomical baffle system in a “full gas high tech style”, presented in the Shocking Blue.
The La Fayette was and is a bag intended to be used under extreme conditions: The colder the better, but in warm conditions not the right choice: It’s a super light non compromising design: Comfort – forget about it – this one kilo bag has to be as effective as possible.
So in reality, once it’s f…… cold, the cold also comes from the ground, so in order to protect the vital parts (heart and lungs), you have to sleep (read rest) laying on your side. So the La Fayette is a “center half size zipped bag”. The zipper length is calculated to allow to just enter the bag that is in connection with the “guillotine styled draft collar”. Once the collar closed it is very difficult to get a heat loss from the neck, so the heat stays in the bag.
To minimize the heat circulation, and to concentrate it to the vital upper breast part, a draw cord is placed at the waist.
And finally, as you get up on your side, and take protection in a fetus position, your knees put pressure on the front of the bag, with the risk of the down to shift away. To solve this 3 smaller side closed compartments are installed in the bag, eliminating the risk of down shift.
The La Fayette is a super sharp non compromising climbing and expedition bag. A kind of Lotus SUPER 7 without shock absorbers.
Actually the spirit of Valandre.
At the end of a hard day, all of us needs to chill out, get some rest, food, drink, and then get the necessary good night sleep, vital for next day’s performance.
Quality sleep is key, in high altitude climbing but also to any outdoor adventure. Our high-end expedition oriented sleeping bags: Shocking Blue Neo, Odin Neo and Thor Neo, offers not only insulation but also a five star hotel comfort. This is due to the use of anatomical shaped and precut baffles connecting the inside liner bag and the outside shell fabric in a perfect differential cut.
Our famous duck down sleeping bags the SWING’s offers an excellent price/quality/insulation due to the use of a selected high-end duck down 90/10, and a technically simplified compartment system.
In the SWING’s you get what you need, at a low price.
The complete backwards design principles
At the beginning of 2016, we decided to mix the high tech anatomical baffle technology (Differential cut), with our high end duck down creating the first technical top of the line and state of the art duck down bag. The idea is to make high tech construction available to a broader part of the outdoor market, a kind of socializing high tech!
On the outdoor market, the majority of sleeping bags uses an outside color to appeal to the consumers, as if OUTDOOR and Climbers select their sleeping bag due to a “funky color”, and then use a dull black or gray inside color.
What is important in a Sleeping bag is the Down quality/Baffle system things that are on the inside, so why not reverse the color game and come out with a unified line with a 450g, 650g and an 850g filling.
Now let’s flip this over, by simply using a “North Korean bunker gray” as the outside shell, and then use the color effect on the inside liner! 850 is a Orange inside, 650 is a purple inside and the 450 is a sky blue inside.
A true design process is never ending, so we still have some minor technical modifications to make. The Chill Outs are expected to go into production in October, and be available in November.
First photos of the Chill out 850 in the prototype version 04, 850g of high-end duck down and total weight 1395g.
The Chill Outs 450, 650 and 850 will be presented at the OUTDOOR trade show in Friedrichshafen (07.13 -> 07.16) and at the OR (08.03 -> 08.06) in SLC in the P 04 version.
The International Rubber Duck Team
Huey, Dewey, and Louie
Ups we almost forgot …
After the return to France of Elisabeth Revol, who was forced to retrieve and decent at 7800m just 300m below the summit of Nanga last winter, we at Valandre realized that our standard Combi suit, had never been designed to confront such brutal conditions.
We know our Combi well that has been key for many successful high altitude non ox expeditions on the 8000, but it reached it’s limit at 7800m on Nanga Parbat in the brutal winter conditions of 2015. We at Valandre was confronted by the challenge to develop the down gear solution for 2016. A simple question of showing a bit of professionalism!
So with the help of Elisabeth we started in the spring, the project of upgrading the performance of the combi, by increasing the baffle height and down load in two versions: +25% and +50%. Both versions was tested by Elisabeth on the Mt Blanc massif in the summer of 2015. Elisabeth concluded that +25% should be enough to do the trick.
Elisabeth is a MINI woman and the Small size combi used in 2015 was too big for her, so we down sized the Small into an Extra Small. And finally to maximize the head protection, we installed the “MESSERSCHMITT storm hood”, which we developed for the IG2 lightweight expedition jacket.
The C25 SUPER COMBI, was then sewed up and filled in an M size for Tomek, and an L size for Arslan. As with high altitude combi technique, the tree C25 SUPER COMBI’s were made in different colors.
Elisabeth Revol with the first C25 SUPER COMBI
A cross check was made to see if the C25 SUPER COMBI would fit into the inside volume of the SHOCKING BLUE NEO, which it did, so we produced 3 SHOCKING BLUE NEO but removed the draft collar. This bag will be used during the climb.
The team received an IG2 down jacket and a THOR NEO for BC as well.
Using the C25 SUPER COMBI eliminates the need for multiple underlayering, and the result is a super light team.
300m left…….Ok lets go!
New Year’s party is starting on Nanga Parbat 2015/16 and the first guest are arriving now.
This will be the 28th year in a row that expeditions will try to tackle the Naked Peak in winter that still stands untouched up until today. Situated in the Karakoram Mountains range in Pakistan, none has ever set foot on the top of Nanga nor K2 in winter due to several factors: Extreme cold conditions, high and strong winds and few weather windows.
This is High altitude alpinism in its purest form, nobody have ever reached these kind of altitudes in the Karakoram, and often expeditions retrieved with severe frost bites. Nobody knows if the human body can resist conditions like this……A steep into the unknown.
NANGA ON THE ROCKS
This winter 5 teams will be in Base Camp attempting to reach the summit:
1 – International Team
The International team, attempting to tackle Nanga Parbat this winter, on the Kinshofer route (classic set up with camps and fixed ropes started) started out as a strong 5 member team: Ferran Latorre and Alex Txikon from Spain, Janusz Golab from Poland, Ali Sadpara from Pakistan and finally Daniel Nardi from Italy.
Before the departure from Europe, Ferran Latorre announced that he would not join the expedition and information on the web announced the 23.12 that Janusz Golab had decides to abandon the team as well.
So The International team is now reduced to a 3 member team: Alex Txikon from Spain, Ali Sadpara from Pakistan and Daniel Nardi from Italy.
2 – Polish – Pakistani Team
A nine member team including seven climbers from Poland and two Pakistani climbers will attempt the Nanga Parbat from the Rupal Face, Schell Route in a traditional style with fixed ropes and camps.
3 – Nanga Revolution
Forth team is “Nanga Revolution” comprising Adam Bielecki (First winter ascent of Broad Peak and G1) and Jacek Czech. They will attempt Kinshofer route in alpine style.
4 – The North Face expedition team
The North Face are sending in once again, the extremely experienced Simone Moro together with Mrs Tamara Lunger who will attempt her second 8000 in winter (Manaslu 2015). The route selected is the Messner 2000, a route that has never been finished, but they plan to prepare the different camps.
5 – The rubber duck team
Mrs Elisabeth Revol (France), Tomek Mackiewicz (Poland) and Arslan Ahmed Ansari (Pakistan) will equally attempt to climb the Messner 2000 in a pure alpine style. Both Elisabeth and Tomek have several winter attempts behind them on Nanga and are extremely experienced reaching 7800m last year on Messner 2000. This is 300m below the summit and is the second highest winter height record on Nanga ever, and it is at the same time the highest point ever reached on Messner 2000. Straw hat off for the rubber duck team.