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Jean-Christophe Lafaille 2003: Broad Peak
 


 Current Pakistan Time

Translations by Adrian Sutton for EverestNews.com

Article ascension du Nanga Parbat et du Broad Peak Part 2!

Jean Christophe and Simone left camp 1 at 4,900 metres during the night of the 20th June in order to reduce the risk of falling rocks and avalanches etc.

Jean Christophe started the climb on 50 degree snow overhangs, and then over a section of mixed ground (rock, ice and snow) and then more overhangs. This type of climb requires a lot of concentration and great alpine experience to sustain the psychological and physical effort as far as the summit. Jean Christophe’s years of practice meant he was up to the challenge. The Mont Blanc massif has become a sort of fantastic laboratory for him. He prepares himself technically and psychologically before each climb – he goes to test himself and train in different areas (mental, physical and technical) and he never forgets, despite his experience, to respect the ascents he makes.

While Jean Christophe and Simone climbed this new route, Ed was progressing on the Kinshofer route towards Camp 3. The weather was fine and after a magnificent climb of 2,000 metres, prudence and experience told them to set up a bivouac at 6,900 metres and to put off continuing the route towards 7,200 metres and their reunion with Ed until the following day.

On the 21st, they left their Bivouac to resume their climb and meet Ed at Camp 3 at 7,000 metres. The weather wasn’t very good – it was snowing a lot. Considering the conditions, they decided to stay in the tent and leave for Camp 4 on the morning of the 22nd.

In the meantime, I hadn’t had any news of Jean Christophe and I was getting quite anxious. What’s more I had received a bad weather report from Yan. My last phone contact with Jean Christophe had been on the 22nd June at 16h00. On the same day, at 23h00, I received the bulletin from Yan that predicted the change in the weather. And not having heard anything from Jean Christophe, it was safe to say that your imagination runs wild in those situations.

At the same time, I tried to temper my anxiety, as I knew how careful and experienced Jean Christophe was. On the 22nd June, Jean Christophe, Ed and Simone left Camp 3 in average weather to get to camp 4 at 7,400 metres by the Kinshofer route. Simone cracked physically at about 7,200 and he couldn’t continue and he went back down to base camp with the phone and the radio. This meant Jean Christophe and Ed didn’t have a radio nor a telephone. I wouldn’t have wanted to risk not having any news. They carried on together.

On the 23rd June at 11h45, in average weather conditions and moving through a lot of snow that had fallen in the last 48 hours, Jean Christophe and Ed reached the summit of Nanga Parbat at 8,125 metres, without oxygen.

For Jean Christophe, it was the 10th summit over 8,000 metres and the 12th for Ed. The visibility on the summit was zero and they couldn’t admire the view which must have been superb from this mountain. I was really happy and relieved when I heard the news. He had once again demonstrated his extraordinary ability in succeeding in such conditions with the fatigue that comes with opening a new route, not forgetting that he had also summited Dhaulagiri a month earlier in similarly bad conditions.

On the 24th June, they finally got back to camp and we finally got to speak to each other. Jean Christophe was a bit upset that Simone had not succeeded in getting to the top. The difficulty in an ascent is managing to get to the top together, especially in the Himalaya.

A new route was opened on the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat by Jean Christophe and partially by Simone. The route didn’t stop at 7,000 metres – it went to the top. He had wanted to complete it with Simone, after all they had undertaken it together. Jean Christophe is uneasy because the completion of the route was announced while they were still on it. He christened the route ‘Tom’ as a present to his 2 year old son.

He is also happy to have marked the fiftieth anniversary of the first ascent of Nanga Parbat which unfortunately is not spoken of much. He paid tribute to Hermann Buhl who was the 1st to reach the summit on the 3rd July, on his own. It was a fine performance forgotten amongst the fuss surrounding the anniversary of the1st ascent of Everest.

Dispatches

His dispatches from Dhaulagiri this year are here.

His dispatches from Nanga Parbat this year are here.

 





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