The winter 2012 saw here in Europe, polar cold decent from Siberia covering the western European continent completely. Heavy snow blocked road transportations all over Europe, and temperatures hit serious negative values.
In the north east of Romania, there is a gorge called Bicaz and in this gorge, there is a face called “Hells neck”. In the days of February 15 to 22, Emil Camerzan and Leslie Fucsko, opened a new route named “ZEITGEIST” – A German word for “TIMESPIRIT”. Briefly it’s 420m of overhanging limestone, with 11 pitches of artificial climbing and 2 pitches of A4, some free climbing and two pitches of alpine mix at the end of the route.
The perfect conditions to test the articulated Immelman concept down jacket, as it is designed to perform in these, technical climbing conditions. And the holy ghost, sprayed freezing conditions of daytime -10°/15°C (15°/5°F) and night time -20°/26°C (-5°/15°F), on these 420m (1377 ft) overhanging limestone, allowing a serious field test.
Leslie and Emil exited the 420m (1377 ft) overhanging route after 7 days. And as they did not report having a cold at the exit, we presume that the Immelman did well in the daytime once needed, and that the Lafayette and Mirage, allowed them to rest well at night.
Hats off to Emil and Leslie, for this remarkable artificial winter climb.
K2 is, as we all know, a mountain that has haunted climbers since the first expedition attempts. “The savage mountain”, has always resisted as if no man was allowed to enter it’s domain. Human tragedy is deeply rooted in it’s image, forcing climbers to take every little event into serious consideration: You just do not fool around with the BIG SCARY BROWNIE.
In the April issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 2012, a brilliant article describes the International Amical Alpin climb of this big pile of rock and ice. Rightly they based the assent from the North side (North pillar), properly offering more stable conditions.
Naturally one could look at this climb, as the last in the line of Gerlindes 14 non ox climbs. It is, but it’s also a bit more: This climb represent a human manifestation of outmost will, determination, faith and profound trust. Confronted by this, K2 opened up the closed door and offered 15min to Gerlinde alone on top. No wind, Sun down light from a clear blue sky and surrounded below by all the 8000 she had formerly climbed in the area. An alpine blessing on her final 8000.
Old friendships are important, so I had the pleasure to meet with Ralf Dujmovits who introduced me to his new wife Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner at the 2012 winter ISPO show in Munich. Ralf reached his last 8000m peak (Lhotse) in 2009 and became the first German on the 14 8000 and number 16 in the line:
Ralf is a strong and dedicated DAV Guide, and his record contains numerous successful expeditions, guiding clients to a 8000m summit. A true pillar in German High Altitude climbing, and a great man.
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner is a Austrian climber, out of the “old school”, extremely attached and sensitive to the notion of “The mountain”. August 2011 Gerlinde and Ralf engaged a climb of the Japanese route of the North Pillar of K2. Here Gerlinde summited her final 8000m peak and became the first woman to complete the 8000m without supplemental oxygen:
1998 — Cho Oyu,
2001 — Makalu,
2002 — Manaslu,
2003 — Nanga Parbat,
2004 — Annapurna I,
2004 — Gasherbrum I,
2005 — Shisha Pangma,
2005 — Gasherbrum II,
2006 — Kangchenjunga,
2007 — Broad Peak,
2008 — Dhaulagiri,
2009 — Lhotse,
2010 — Mount Everest,
2011 — K2.
A full report of the K2 climb 2011, will be published in a 32 page report in NATIONAL GEOGRAFIC, translated and published worldwide, and due to appear in April 2012.
Mrs Oh Eun Sun’s summit equipment ( Bering down parka + Baffin down bibs), is on display at the Black Yak & Valandre booth at ISPO winter. After her summit of Annapurna, a BIG controversial discussion started, whether she summited Kanchenjunga or not. At Valandre we have no reason to doubt the honesty of a little woman who climbed 4 8000m peaks in 2009, and have no reason not to trust the words of PRESIDENT KANG. During a very direct conversation with Reinhold Messner at this year’s Winter OR, Messner confirmed that, after having examined all available documents and using what’s left of his brain cells, that Mrs Oh DID summit Kanch! So BRAVO Mrs Oh, you cross the line in a first place.