High altitude – no ox – in alpine style, is our passion, but in alpinism you find an ocean of different passionate directions. In the south of France (Marseille region), local climbers “train” in the Calanques. And to these climbers, the Calanques natually have it’s Eiger Nordwand, or El Cap: “La directissime de la Concave”. This unique line, offers a 35m (115ft) overhang out of 90m (295ft) with a total height of 135m (443ft). This route/line was opened in 1966 by G Livanos and M Vaucher. French cotations: L1:IV; L2: A2, L3: A2; L4: A1; L5: A1/IV+. The pitons are the original from 1966….a bit rusty….but that’s how it is!
Oktober 6th 2011 French climbers Pierre-Olivier Blanc and Paul Regnier, took an early start, and climbed this mystical route, beading in the beautiful autumn sun light of the Calanques in South France. Paul Regnier shot and mixed the video.
“Billli, where exactly are you?” Russell called me over the radio. “I am about 10 minutes away from the real summit,” I replied from the point everyone calls the “rock tower”. I had been climbing for exactly eight hours and as Russell was determined that I should make it back down to Camp II after the summit, he wanted me to hurry up. Most of my climbing mates, who had been using supplementary oxygen, had already made it back down to Camp IV, where they were re-hydrating and getting ready to descend to the safer altitudes of Camp II. “I am already on my way down to base camp,” I heard Herbert say over the radio, who probably could not wait to get some proper food after hardly having eaten for three days.
Austrian mountaineer, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, has just become the first woman to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks without the use of supplementary oxygen. She finished this amazing feat with an impressive climb up K2 using a different, and not very often climbed route – the North Pillar. Gerlinde and her husband, Ralf Dujmovits, were climbing with a team of four other mountaineers and during their expedition they had to overcome extreme difficulties. They had to deal with avalanches, rock fall and breaking trail through hip-deep snow at dizzying altitudes above 8,000m. On 23 August at 6.18pm, Gerlinde together with three other climbers, stood on top of the second highest peak in the world and with this achievement, she certainly wrote mountaineering history.
After having been on the mountain for more than two-and-a-half months, the couple arrived in Germany on Saturday, 3rd September and instead of getting a rest at home, Ralf and Gerlinde went straight to ‘das aktuelle Sportstudio’ to share their remarkable experience.
We are very relieved to report that Tommy and Ralf were able to meet Gerlinde, Maxut, Vassiliy und Darek at the deposit camp, which is at the end of the heavily crevassed glacier.
They are on their way down to the base camp and after a short rest will continue to the Chinese base camp.
The camels are already waiting there and the team will start their way back into civilisation tomorrow.
We are sending our heartfelt congratulations to the whole team, especially gerlinde for their amazing success.