Valandre Blog

Maurice Herzog passes away


Today Friday December 14, the news broke out that Maurice Herzog has passed away at the age of 93.

Maurice Herzog - Paris

Maurice may not be as well known to the public as Reinhold Messner, however in the climbing community he was and remains a remarkable pioneer, by climbing the first 8000 peak 03.06.1950 accompanied by Louis Lachenal: The 8091m (26.545ft) high Annapurna 1 located in Nepal.

Maurice Herzog au sommet de l'Annapurna 1950
The Annapurna 1 is considered the most dangerous of the 14 8000m peaks. The north and its original route is not that technical but EXTREMELY avalanche prone.

Annapurna North-West-Face - (c)

Maurice and Louis organized a full expedition, leaving France to attempt the first 8000m peak and in one season. Up untill then, all attempts to summit a 8000 was using a tactics of expeditions longer than one season. Maurice and Louis introduced the first “short and fast” 8000m peak, and summited to become the first humans on a summit over 8000m.

Conquistadors of the Useless - Louis Lachenal and Lionel Terray After Annapurna North Face Descent 1950
But even more remarkable, Maurice and Louis climbed Annapurna 1 “Non Ox” – a point that has to be underlined.
Alpinism is often learning the lesson the hard way: With no experience with non-ox high altitude climbing, both Maurice and Louis underestimated the combination of extreme cold combined with only little oxygen available to “fuel the fire”. Using too light equipment (booths and gloves) both of the climbers had fingers and toes amputated  urgently in the field, at their return to BC.

True Summit - Lionel Terray carrying Louis Lachenal from airplane on return from Annapurna 1950

In less than a month, the French climbing community have lost to historical icons: Maurice Herzog and Patrick Edlinger (November 16th).


Maurice Herzog Patrick Edlinger

Rest in peace!

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Patrick Edlinger (F) lets loose the grip at 52


Patrick Edlinger

It’s with great sadness that we heard the news of the death of French icon rock climber Patrick Edlinger at the age of 52 in his home in Savoy this morning (16.11.12). Please allow us to present our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and to all of us who witnessed his amazing performance free climbing in the Verdon gorge.

Back in 1982, we had a gamble going on: “If Patrick is not alive by the end of the year, I will buy a round of beer, and chew my hat”. I never bought that round of beer, and never chewed my hat – because I knew that he was (like others in the early eighties) a top professional breaking the limits.

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose”, so Patrick took this to the edge of the real world, and free climbed some of the most challenging routes in the Verdon gorge.

It was the years of “Think Pink” and Patrick was the inspiratory in France. He infused climbing in France with spirituality, philosophy with an ecological approach……yet still his gymnastic performances was – as his mind of steel – of extremely high performance.

Patrick let his grip loose last night, but this is fine with me. None of us expected an everlasting life, as the thrill was on the edge.

In one of his last statements to a hungry press Patrick stated: “I am a free man and do not regret anything I have done”. Yes life on the edge – with nothing left to loose – is true in its momentary essence, no future in front, no past behind. Just the eternal NOW

Does it really matter, we used to ask? – Your question is now Patrick: Did it really matter?

We at Valandré would like to thank Patrick Edlinger for the fundamentally true impulses he infused into the climbing community in the early 80’ties.

Rest in peace Patrick…..the job was well done!

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Patrick Edlinger lache prise à 52 ans


Patrick Edlinger

C’est avec une immense tristesse que nous apprenons la mort du grimpeur français Patrick Edlinger âgé de 52 ans à son domicile en Savoie le matin du 16 Novembre 2012. Nous présentons nos plus sincères condoléances à sa famille et à tous ceux qui l’ont aimé et ont été témoins de ses prouesses en grimpe libre dans les gorges du Verdon.

En 1982, nous avions lancé un pari : « Si Patrick n’est plus vivant à la fin de l’année, j’achèterai une tournée de bières pour tout le monde et je mangerai mon chapeau ». Je n’ai jamais acheté cette tournée de bières et jamais mangé mon chapeau – je savais qu’il était (comme tant d’autres à cette période) en train de dépasser et de transcender les limites de cette profession.

« La Liberté, c’est juste un mot lorsqu’on a plus rien à perdre », Patrick a donc emprunté cette phrase à la frontière du monde réel et a grimpé en totale liberté les voies les plus difficiles des gorges du Verdon.

C’était l’année du “ThinkPink” et Patrick en était l’inspiration en France. Il a initié et diffusé en France la grimpe accompagnée de spiritualité et de philosophie, avec une approche écologique… mais ses performances physiques étaient – à l’image de son mental d’acier – d’une exceptionnelle puissance.

Patrick est parti la nuit dernière. Personne d’entre nous n’attend la vie éternelle mais le frisson était proche.

Dans l’une de ses dernières déclarations à la presse, Patrick disait : « Je suis un homme libre et ne regrette rien de ce que j’ai fait ». Oui la vie sur un fil – sans rien à perdre – est la vérité dans son essence momentanée, pas de futur devant, pas de passé derrière. Juste l’éternel MAINTENANT.

Cela importe-t-il, nous lui demandions souvent? – Cette question est maintenant Patrick, cela importait-il ?

Chez Valandré nous voulons remercier Patrick Edlinger pour sa véritable implication et son apport à la communauté depuis le début des années 80.

Repose en paix Patrick … tu as bien travaillé !

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Gangnam Style

South Korea has more to offer than Hyundai cars and Samsung smartphones – actually they have a wild unbridled culture, where style is key.





JB KIM works in the marketing department of Black Yak in Seoul. JB graduated from law school at the University of Seoul, but his attachment to mountaineering drove him to develop what he calls: The NOMAD STYLE.

Korean NOMAD STYLE is a mixture of engaged high altitude climbing mixed with Rock & Roll and sex. NOMADE STYLE people naturally attend funerals of climbing friends in a suit….but it does not necessarily need to be clean.



JB KIM is a creative NOMAD STYLE climber, and besides working at Black Yak, JB fiddles around with videos. In the video above you can meet JB KIM in the role of “the diver” in the SINCITY video.


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Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash is a 6,638 m (21,778 ft) peak situated in today’s Tibet. It raises up into the sky, in the center area of the source of Asia’s  3 major rivers: Indus river, Brahmanputra river and the Ganges river.
“All mountains are sacred”… quote Mrs Oh Eun Sun, disputed first woman on the 14 8000, the Kailash is by far the most sacred mountain in Asia, to Hindus it’s considered to be the eternal home to the Lord Shiva, and Tantric Buddhist believe that Mount Kailash is the home to the Buddah Demchok.

Mount Kailash From The Nepali Side

Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists. Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32 mi) long.

The Norh Face of Mt.Kailash 6714 m (Center)

Climbing the Kailash is not advisable, and it has never been done, as it’s told that it will put a curse upon the climbers, who will start to grow old very fast. Prospected in 1926 by Hugh Ruttledge and later by Herbert Tichy  who was in the area in 1936, attempting to climb Gurla Mandhata. When he asked one of the Garpons of Ngari whether Kailash was climbable, the Garpon replied, “Only a man entirely free of sin could climb Kailas. And he wouldn’t have to actually scale the sheer walls of ice to do it – he’d just turn himself into a bird and fly to the summit.”

Mount Kailash

 Reinhold Messner was given the opportunity by the Chinese government to climb the mountain in the 1980s but he declined. In 2001 the Chinese gave permission for a Spanish team led by Jesus Martinez Novas to climb the peak, but in the face of international disapproval the Chinese decided to ban all attempts to climb the mountain. Messner, referring to the Spanish plans, said, “If we conquer this mountain, then we conquer something in people’s souls … I would suggest they go and climb something a little harder. Kailas is not so high and not so hard

You are right Reinhold….better stay away from this one!
You are right Reinhold….better stay away from this one!

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