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 K2 2001: Qgir - K2 Himalaya 8000 expedition 2001: Interview with Jean Christophe Lafaille

Qgir - K2 Himalaya 8000 Expedition 2001

The Czech Expedition: HIMALAYA 8000 K2 (8612 meters) & Broad Peak (8047 meters) Updates are here.

Their interview with Jean Christophe Lafaille (after his Summit of K2) at the BC the of Czech expedition at our request...

Question: When did you decide to climb K2?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: Five years ago, when I was climbing Gasherbrums here in Karakorum. That mountain charmed me even from a distance. I could not get here immediately, because I work a lot as a mountain guide. I am also a teacher in the national climbing school in Chamonix.

Question: How many eight thousanders have you climbed so far?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: This one was mine seventh one... [Sixth to the Main Summits]

Question: What was going on during the final attack?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: I did not sleep at all. Our last tent was at 7900 meters and we arrived there quite tired. Four of us arrived to the camp, but only two went to the summit. We departed for the summit at 5 am, very late. The Koreans, whose tent was about 40 m from ours left for the summit already at 1 am. I was ascending fine. I didn't have elevation problems and I felt strong. Sometimes we were going in such a deep snow, that I more often felt like I was swimming, rather than walking. At 7 o'clock we reached a bottleneck- a very dangerous part, which is a sheer ice lobby. I felt such danger, that I climbed as fast as I could. Ice was falling there a lot. Phew! I was standing on the summit at 14:30.

Question: Who was treading the track? [breaking the trail]

Jean Christophe Lafaille: I was alternating with the Sherpas. Sometimes it took us an hour to go 50 meters.

Question: Was the bottleneck the only dangerous place?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: We passed under a huge overhang of snow and ice that was dangerously leaning. This one will fall sometime soon. I know it from the pictures from past years, but it is definitely going to fall soon. Very intimidating.

Question: Your feelings at the summit?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: Nothing. The wind was so strong there, that I stayed about 15 minutes. We were not even hungry. There were a lot of clouds around 7000 meters. I did not let anything distract me too much though. I knew that the descent would be very dangerous and so I wanted to stay concentrated.

Question: Did you see the fall of the Korean climber?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: No they were going after us, but today when we were descending from our C4 we passed his body.

Question: Your feelings?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: You can feel the soul there...

Question: What are your next plans?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: I will eat, be with my wife and I will sit in the garden. Then will follow the sun and the rocks. No ice or stones.

Question: How would you classify your seventh eight thousander?

Jean Christophe Lafaille: This was the most difficult one. There were a lot of opportunities to make mistakes.

Jean Christophe Lafaille
1993 - Cho-Oyu
1994 - Shishapangma (North Face to Central Summit but not Main)
1996 - Gasherbrum 1 + Gasherbrum 2
1997 - Lhotse
2000 - Manaslu (New Route)
2001 - K2

Of the seven 8000ers he has made three new routes and climbed four peaks solo. His Shishapangma Summit is a great story... 

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