Valandre Blog

Everest Spring 2017

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).

Ueli’s partner:
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.

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Nanga Parbat winter 2016 and the C25 SUPER COMBI

The International Rubber Duck Team


Huey, Dewey, and Louie

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

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!


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Nanga Parbat winter 2015/2016

Nanaga Parbat - Rupal side

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.


This winter 5 teams will be in Base Camp attempting to reach the summit:


1 – International Team
Nanga Winter 2015/2016- 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

Nanga Winter 2015/2016 - Nanga Dream Justice For All

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
Nanga Winter 2015/2016 - 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
Nanga Winter 2015/2016 - The North Face expedition

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
Nanga Winter 2015/2016 - Nanga Light Expedition

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.




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Leslie Fucsko


From the beginning I started mountaineering, I was strangely attracted by the art of suffering and enduring hard conditions, thus most of my expeditions have taken me to the wildest, remote parts of the world. These locations, far from the claws of human civilisation, were the places of my best adventures in which I scoured my best memories of my life. Most of these climbs or attempts have taken me to my extreme limit and I were often close to the edge. It’s just the deep nature of pushing it on hard unclimbed territory. In these remote places, big part of the challenge is managing the risk and surviving. And that’s how I feel, should be real adventure!
A  freezing winter big wall climb or an unlikely alpine line when  often found ourselves pushing everything to the limits, is the quintessence of climbing and mountaineering for me.

Continue reading “Leslie Fucsko” »

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Nanga Parbat: The Crown of Western Himalaya still stands untouched in winter

Elisabeth Revol - Nanga Parbat winter expedition 2015

There are 14 8000 meter summits in the world, and 12 of them have been climbed in winters, only Nanga Parbat and K2 still stand unclimbed.

Mountaineers are attempting to climb Nanga Parbat since 1988, which makes 27 years to the date. More or less 27 expeditions have tested their limits on Nanga Parbat in winter, and none of them could reach the summit of Nanga Parbat. A lot of questions rise: what makes Nanga different from other 8000ers? Why is it still unclimbed in winter? When Mount Everest can be climbed in winter, why can’t be Nanga Parbat? Over the years, the mountaineers who tested themselves on Nanga in winter have answered these questions.

Nanga Parbat winter expedition

Nanga was attempted first time in winter 1988-1989 by Polish team. The team was lead by Maciej Berbeka himself, who had made several first ascents in Himalaya (Nepal). Maciej was astonished after looking at conditions on Nanga; he said everything is cruel on this mountain and conditions in Western Himalaya are way worst in winter, “blue ice, lower temperature, faster winds and less weather windows.” The highest altitude reached by Poles was 6800 meter.
Continue reading “Nanga Parbat: The Crown of Western Himalaya still stands untouched in winter” »

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