Valandre Blog


Denali and the Cassin ridge (20.320ft/6773m)

Ralf Dujmovits and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, returned from a training session in Norway this week to their home in the black forest in Germany.

During their stay in Norway we at Valandré cranked out two custom combi’s for both. We embroided “Team Valandre” across their backs using silver thread and placed their names under the Valandré logo, and sewed on their sponsor logos…..and that was the biggest job….there are so many of them.


Ralf and Gerlinde was kind enough to try the combi’s out before their next challenge and have today sent a photo of how it looks. To us they look….how can I put it….like happy professionals! Incredible we did 13 of the 14 8000’ers with Ralf and all Gerlinds remaining 8000 since she met Ralf.



This time they have a different aim, as they both have no 8000ers left to challenge: The Cassin Ridge on Denali in Alaska. They leave the German spring summer to challenge the rough and bitter cold in Alaska. I can imagine the buzz at the Denali BC as they set up their tent!

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And the big news to our friends worldwide is, that Ralf & Gerlinde will be present at this year’s OR show in SLC at the Liberty Mountain booth. I can only recommend to our US friends not to miss the chance to meet both in person……


See you all at the OR!

A TEAM VALANDRE on a Climb of the Grande Pic de la Meije (3983m/11.950ft)


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.

Grande Pic de la Meije (3983m/11.950ft)

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!

Maurice Herzog nous a quitté


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 Herzog - Paris

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.

Maurice Herzog au sommet de l'Annapurna 1950

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.

Annapurna North-West-Face - (c)

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.

Conquistadors of the Useless - Louis Lachenal and Lionel Terray After Annapurna North Face Descent 1950

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.

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

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).


Maurice Herzog Patrick Edlinger

Repose en Paix

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!

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!