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.
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 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” »
July 31th and august 1th 2012 Paul Régnier, Pierre Olivier Blanc et Francois Ranise entered the foot (3092m) of the 3983m high Grande Pic de la Meije, to Climb the Allain- Leiniger route. This route is a beautiful almost 1000m rock climb on the south face of the Grand Pic de la Meije in the massif des Ecrins south of Grenoble – France. Rated TD (Tres Difficile/Very difficult), it consist of numerous pitches in 5 and one famous icy chimney in 6.
The La Meije was one of the last peaks to be climbed in the French Alpes due to the technical difficulties. It’s an 8 to 10hours climb up and a 4h decent of the glacier on the north side. Paul, Pierre and Francois had a late start waiting for the sun to warm them up, and then they entered the route and climbed up with heavy back packs containing the necessary gear. Having some difficulties finding the route, they were happy to be able to make a bivy at the edge of the squared glacier at 3600m (10.800ft).
……and up the chimney we go!
Just before sunset, after a memorable night, Paul shoot a video at the bivi, as all happened to have spent the night in their Valandré bags. Paul in a Swing 900, PO in his old time Lafayette and Francois in a Bloody Mary. After summiting, Paul sent the video to us in Belcaire.
The famous BLING sticker!
Paul, Pierre Olivier and Francois have received a Bling sticker and our Flipper booklet containing all information’s of the 14 8000m peaks to thank them for the video.
The booklet is “super gear” to bring along. It allows you to play “the 8000m peak quiz” in the bivy or in the camp – EX: Who was the first to climb Kanchenjunga in winter, and what date? and….Who was the first wonan on Nanga….with or without ox?
Send us a Valandré video, and you will receive a BLING STICKER and the FLIPPER BOOKLET!
Aujourd’hui, le 14 décembre 2012, les nouvelles nous ont secoués en nous apprenant la disparition de Maurice Herzog à l’âge de 93 ans.
Maurice n’était peut-être pas autant connu du public que Reinhold Messner, mais dans le milieu alpin il était, et reste, un remarquable pionnier, en bravant le premier 8000 le 03 juin 1950, accompagné de Louis Lachenal : L’Annapurna 1 qui culmine à 8091m situé au Népal.
L’Annapurna 1 est considéré comme étant le plus dangereux des 14 8000m. L’accès nord et la route originale n’est pas si technique mais les avalanches y sont EXTREMEMENT fréquentes.
Maurice et Louis avaient organisé une expédition complète, quittant la France pour braver le premier 8000 et ce en une seule saison. Jusqu’à eux, tous ceux qui avaient tenté de gravir un 8000 auparavant l’avaient fait en utilisant une approche plus longue, plus lourde et s’étalant sur plusieurs saisons; Maurice et Louis ont introduit le premier « short and fast » de l’histoire alpine, et ils sont devenus les premiers humains à fouler un sommet de plus de 8000m.
Mais leur performance est encore plus remarquable si l’on se souvient qu’ils ont gravit ce sommet sans oxygène – un point qui doit être souligné.
L’alpinisme, c’est d’abord de tirer des leçons, d’apprendre des expériences : cette expédition sans oxygène en haute altitude a eu un prix, Maurice et Louis ont tous les deux sous-estimé les combinaisons du froid extrême et de l’absence d’oxygène, oxygène nécessaire pour faire “carburer la machine“. Utilisant aussi un équipement léger (gants et chaussons), les deux alpinistes ont dû être amputés en urgence de leurs doigts et de leurs orteils dès leur retour au BC.
En mois d’un mois, la communauté alpine française est endeuillée par la perte de deux de leurs icônes : Maurice Herzog et Patrick Edlinger (le 16 novembre 2012).
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