Spring 2001: Bertrand
Roche and Claire Bernier Roche
aka Zebulon, will return to Everest with his wife
Claire Bernier Roche. In 1990 Zebulon
summited Everest, at the time only 17 years old, with
his father Jean-Noλl Roche. They flew together on a
tandem paraglider from the south Col. They landed at
base camp on the 7th of October 1990.
Summits from a Two-seater Tandem Paraglider"
Their story told by Zeb and Claire
2001 Expedition Northeast Ridge, Tibetan side.
13th April to 25th May
Participants: Claire Roche-Bernier (age 28), Bertrand
Roche [Zeb] (age 28), Claude Alain Gaillant (age 27),
Frιdιric Roux (age 28), Christian Trommsdorf (age
Cameraman: Alain Grelet (age 34)
Logistics : Janac - cook, Tsiering - cook, Lakpa -
We reached Base Camp at 5200 meters by jeep and truck.
There, we distributed our supplies so that the largest
part of them could be sent to Advance Base Camp at
6400 meters by Yak (22kms further up). We then
took on the task to set up our Base Camp as
comfortably as possible. We had music, a library
and chess set available in the mess tent, as well as a
toilet and shower tent. We spent five days at
Base Camp, before leaving for ABC. On the 18th
April, we loaded up the Yaks, and were happy to be
underway to being closer to realizing our goal.
We spent a reasonable night at 5800 meters, amongst
the Yaks and their owners. We were soothed by the
clanging of their bells. We left the next
morning, following a long path length of the glacier's
moraine. ABC, at 6400 meters, is where the
majority of people spend the majority their time on
the North Side. In contrast, we wanted to stay there
the least amount of time. The 22 kilometers which
separate ABC from Base Camp didn't put us off, and out
of principle we maintain that it is not possible to
recuperate fully above 5200 meters. In total we
made five round trips between BC and ABC -- that's 220
KM of walking! Lakpa, our climbing Sherpa,
helped us set up our high camps. Here's a
breakdown of our time at camps:
Camp 1 - at 7000m on the North Col - we had up tents,
mattresses and food - we climbed to it and spent one
night acclimatizing on the 5th May, one night on our
first attempt on the 10th May and two nights during
our final ascent on the 19th and 20th May.
2 - 7900m - we had tents, sleeping bags, mattresses,
food, our paraglider and 8 bottles of oxygen. We
stayed from 16h30 until 22h30 at Camp 2 before making
the final ascent with Oxygen on the 21st May.
ascent: The climb from the North Col to Camp 2
was long and difficult - it seemed to never end, or
that's the impression we got while climbing. We
reached 7500 after five hours of effort and decided to
take a break. An hour later we set off again. It took
3 hours and 30 minutes to climb, making very small
steps, to Camp 2 at 7900m. We were exhausted.
Nevertheless, we could not doze in our sleeping bags,
we needed to melt ice and eat before leaving for the
summit in five hours. We made an effort to rest,
soothed by the rumbling of the cooker. The view
outside was splendid; we were perched on a ledge right
in the middle of nowhere. The sunset over the Tibetan
plains was dreamlike. Night fell and the wind
rose - each one of us grew apprehensive. Would we make
the summit? Was this the right day? Would we have to
wait an extra day? 10:00 PM - it was time, our
companions Frederick and Christian were already en
route, our Sherpa was waiting for us. We needed some
time to sort out our 'new' oxygen - we had never used
it. The mask stopped us from seeing where we were
putting our feet. We had become accustomed to the
regulator and everything else quickly. Finally,
we were ready, it was 10:30 PM. We set off with
confident hearts. The oxygen gave us extra warmth and
strength. At 2:00 AM we reached the crest of the
ridge at 8300m. We changed our oxygen cylinders.
Very quickly we realized that the cylinder's head had
frozen. It was impossible to melt. We spent more than
half an hour twisting it in different directions. We
finally managed to fix it after a lot of effort.
Unfortunately, Claire's regulator fell into the snow
where it froze. When we got it back on it registered
zero bar. We decided to move fast, because we were
getting cold there. We had been there for an entire
hour. Lakpa was obliged to go down, leaving his
regulator for Claire. On leaving, Zed realized he
couldn't find his - it took us 20 minutes to realize
that Claire had 2! We set off, this time we
weren't alone. A path of other climbers carrying lamps
had caught up to us. The night was magnificent, we
were reaching for the stars and the wind had dropped.
We continued with disbelief - the countryside opening
up beneath us at dawn was splendid. On the First
Step, we were in the lead - motivation was giving us
wings. The Second Step was next, the most technical
part of the climb. Climbing with such equipment is a
unique experience. We could now clearly see the summit
- it was right in front of us! We were filled
with the certain knowledge and joy that we would reach
the top. At the foot of the summit pyramid, we
came across Fred who was coming down, exhausted. He
had summited at 5:00 AM. We were motivated more
than ever when he told us the wind was weak. This gave
us a great chance to fly. An hour later, we were
on the summit at 8:00. The view was
breathtaking. Not a cloud and the wind was between 30
and 40 KPH. We were in the heavens, with a strange
dreamlike feeling. We were there, the
promised-land that we had been striving for over a
month and a half. Our actions were slow, and after
several photos, we had to get going, find a place to
take off and above all to take care because above
8000m, the winds can change quickly. We found a
take-of spot 10 meters below the summit. We took off
our oxygen masks and prepared the sail. These tasks
which were so easy below were very trying up there.
It took an hour to get ready. Then, sat one on
top of the other, on the edge of the mountain, Zeb put
the sail up and very quickly the wind took us to that
mythical place. For a few minutes, we were birds. We
got a brief glimpse of the West Face and then we
headed off north, in the direction of the Chinese Base
Camp. We saw the whole route up, paragliding is
magical and effortless! The countryside flashed by.
The conditions weren't as calm as they seemed, the
west wind changed our flight path. Above the
North Col, the sail started to flap violently,
reminding Zeb of competition flights. We were
distancing ourselves from anything which could cause
turbulence. At 10:22 AM we set down gently on
the Rongbuk glacier, just above 6400 meters. We
had happy hearts! Thanks to our partners and
friends without whom this formidable adventure would
not have seen the light of day. Claire
on the picture for the full sized copy !
French are reporting both Roche Bertrand
aka Zebulon and his wife Claire
Bernier Roche flew together on a
tandem paraglider from the Summit of Everest (Not confirmed they
actually left from the summit.) It took them around 8
minutes to get to ABC on the North side !
will get a full report from Zebulon for you when he
returns and things settle down on Everest.
5/22: A report that paraglider has reached the Summit
and arrived in ABC 8 minutes later... We assume it was Roche Bertrand
28 Years old.
specialties : Paragliding
3 times world Cup winner 1995 - 1997
World Championship: 2 rank 1997
European Champion 1994
French champion 1997 - 1998
2 and fly of Aconcagua 1996 - 2001
summit and fly of Kilimanjaro 1999
summit and fly of McKinley 1999
summit and fly of Elbruz 1999
summit and fly of Vinson 2001
Paragliding instructor since 1995
Ultra light pilot 3 axes
Roche aka Zebulon.
27 years old
member of the paragliding French team for 5 years
Best result 12 positions overall world cup ranking 98
2nd in the World Cup of Grand Bornand 98 . Selected
for the World Championship 1999.(6 Best French men)
Selected for the European Championship 1998.
Everest Summiter 1990 pilot of the tandem paraglider with
my father from the south col to the base camp.
The Nose , ( El Capitan), west face of the
drus in Chamonix direct American route.
Grandes Jorasses eperon Walker , 2 times summits and
fly of Aconcagua 1996 - 2001
summit and fly of Kilimanjaro 1999,summit and fly of
McKinley 1999, summit and fly of Elbruz 1999,
summit and fly of Vinson 2001.
Adventure race : Raid Gauloise 2000 in Nepal 900km
from Tibet to Indian Border running, cycling,
rafting, trekking, I was in charge of the orientation
our team GTM finish ranking : 5 .
UIAGM mountain guide since 1997
Paragliding instructor since 1995
ultra light pilot 3 axes
really need more sponsors to finish our challenge. If
we succeed in this expedition Claire will be the first
French female to climb Everest by the North ridge.
interested in sponsoring Bertrand Roche aka Zebulon
and Claire Bernier Roche e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org