Current Pakistan Time
Translations by Adrian Sutton for EverestNews.com
Article ascension of Broad Peak (In French)
part, I left France to fly alone to meet up with Jean Christophe in Pakistan.
We try to balance the climbing and family life and I made this trip to Nepal
to try and break the 3 months Jean Christophe was spending away from his
after returning to France, I met up with him in Pakistan for this last climb.
I arrived in Islamabad on the 29th June, after a very tiring, interrupted Jean
Christophe did all he could to be at the airport to meet me. After the journey
I had had, I was especially glad to see him.
waste much time in tackling the logistic and timing problems. After 2 days on
a bus, I was really pleased to meet Ed Viesturs in Skardu. We hadn’t seen each
other since the year before at Annapurna base camp. My English is awful, but
we manage to understand each other!
Jean Christophe’s opinion of him – he is calm, discreet and possesses human
values that are scarcely found these days.
On the 5th
July in the morning, we finally left Skardu and set off in the direction of
Broad Peak base camp. We took a 7 hour jeep ride before joining the trekking
trail. The route that we took was very dangerous. The path is very narrow in
places and often prone to rock falls. On the evening of the 5th, we set up
camp at Askole.
6th, we began the walk and on the 11th we arrived at Broad Peak base camp,
situated at 5,000 metres. I was really happy to arrive amongst the mountains
of the Baltoro glacier. They are really magnificent mountains, but after 5
days, the trek gets a bit monotonous – stones, stones and more stones!
I found K2
unbelievably majestic – a large, perfect 3,600 metre high pyramid. To see it,
you forget all about the trek in!
4 is also magnificent – you see it after 3 days trekking, and there are also
the Trango towers, Chogolisa, where Hermann Bull disappeared a month after
making the first ascent of Broad Peak in 1957.
Broad Peak itself, Jean Christophe reckons it is very pleasing to climb, but
it is not so pleasing on the eye.
timing, we have no problems, because the weather forecasts are all for perfect
12th July, Jean Christophe and Ed prepared their kit for departure the next
day. They planned to climb alpine style, that is quickly, and taking all their
gear with them.
morning of the 13th, it was snowing heavily at base camp and we had breakfast
at 5am. They were pessimistic, but I was optimistic, trying to inspire them
for their departure.
be risking nothing, and if the worst came to the worst, they could always
return to base camp. At 6am, they left base camp in the snow in order to get
to camp 2 at 6,200 metres. At 8am, the clouds parted giving way to a radiant
sun. I had radio contact with Jean Christophe and they were happy to be there
climbing. It was great because with my binoculars and my 400mm lens, I could
watch them and take photos.
to camp 2 a few hours later and they reckoned they’d be on the summit on the
15th, the only day with no wind predicted. On the 13th, they wanted to get to
camp 4 at 7,400 metres, but their rucksacks were very heavy, what with the
tent, the sleeping bags and their food, so they decided to stop at camp 3 at
7,000 metres in order to save their strength for the next day. The wind was
blowing, but they weren’t too bothered, as they had some shelter.
15th, they left camp 3 at midnight for the summit. They battled with the snow
beneath the col. There was a lot of snow and the wind was blowing away their
tracks. It was inconsistent snow, a bit like Polystyrene – very tiring to walk
through. They spent a lot of energy getting to the col at 7,900 metres, before
they started on the arete that leads to the summit at 8,051 metres.
At 9am, I
had radio contact, and they had reached the col. The wind was blowing harder
than anticipated. They told of the difficult conditions they faced getting to
the col. He told me that the conditions were worse than on Nanga Parbat, that
the wind was very strong and that it was very cold. The arete that leads to
the summit is magnificent. He could see China in the distance. But the arete
is delicate, it would be important not to make a mistake.
this, the radio stayed silent, then at 10h45, he told me he had arrived at the
summit. The sound was awful, so I asked him to repeat.
10h45 and I am on the summit of Broad Peak. I am really happy. Ed is coming to
join me and we are the first climbers of the season to get to the summit. It’s
magnificent, I can see China, the Baltoro glacier and K2. What a view!
However, the arete is really technical, there are very delicate parts and I am
very tired. We are going to have to vigilant on the way down.”
As far as
I was concerned, I was very emotional and very happy. These projects see lots
of sacrifices and lots of investment by Jean Christophe, myself and the
children. The goals of these projects also hinge on a balance that you must
maintain throughout the year. I nourish Jean Christophe’s sport career so that
he can fulfil his psychological and physical potential to the maximum, in the
Himalayas and elsewhere and thereby stay as close as possible to the margin of
safety in this activity where the commitment is total and errors fatal.
of Broad Peak has a reputation as one of the easiest of the 14 summits over
8,000 metres. It is nevertheless steep and not easy to climb!
another radio call with Jean Christophe and I sensed the fatigue and the fact
that he was not himself. He was slow, very slow. To top it all, he fell into a
crevasse just before camp 3. He struggled and got out on his own (no one saw
him fall). He wanted to stop at camp 3 and rest at 7,000 metres by spending
the night and coming down to base camp the next day. That marked the start of
a tense period. I got angry because he needed to get down, to lose altitude –
he knew that better than me – at those heights, the body deteriorates. A
climber from the Kazakh team – Denis Urubko, who was at camp 3, decided to
accompany Jean Christophe in his long descent – a descent that would take them
10 hours to complete.
As for Ed,
he was carrying a maximum weight to relieve the burden on Jean Christophe in
this urgent withdrawal. Denis had left in order to get to the summit of Broad
Peak on the 16th July. He gave up on his attempt to help Jean Christophe. We’d
like to thank him again for his help and his kindness. We since found out that
he succeeded in getting to the summit of Broad Peak – a big ‘well done’ to him
spent part of the night in the cold on the glacier, I finally saw Jean
Christophe coming down to reach Base Camp at 6am on the 16th July. He was
white and his breathing was like someone suffering from an asthma attack. As
he was having trouble getting oxygen, his body was slowing down – each step
tired him out. After a few hours, his breathing improved, even though he
remained very tired.
left Base Camp in a helicopter, bound for Skardu. Little by little, Jean
Christophe began to recover and regain his normal state. The diagnosis was
pulmonary oedema. Lots of questions, but few answers. Jean Christophe doesn’t
know why he got oedema seeing as he was well acclimatised and he has a good
psychological predisposition to high altitude. We will follow it up at home. I
reckon that fatigue, built up over two months climbing 3 8,000 mountains and
the psychological demands placed on him during this time could have been
In 1996 I
went to Alaska to attempt Mount McKinley where I had to put up with an
unbearable individual. At 4,800 metres I got the beginnings of oedema. On my
return to France I was tested for hypoxia and the results showed I had a good
predisposition to altitude. I made many attempts on Mont Blanc without any
adverse effects, yet at the same altitude as Mont Blanc I suffered from
oedema. Therefore, psychological factors play a large part.
Christophe made a great achievement. He now only needs to climb Everest,
Makalu and Kangchenjunga to complete the 14 8,000 metre summits.
Now he can
enjoy a well-deserved rest with his little Tom, finish the last details of his
book – ‘Delivre de Annapurna’ which comes out in September, published by
Guerin, and begin to prepare for the Himalaya in 2004.
Mountain Nanga Parbat
Altitude 8,125 metres
Route Tom (Diamir side). 2,100 metres over
snow, ice and rock, plus 1,025 on the Kinshofer route – total of 3,125 metres.
route 5,000 metres
Technique Open route, alpine style to the summit.
Simone Moro teamed up with Jean Christophe as far as 7,200 metres before
descending to base camp because he was too tired to carry on to the top.
Chronology Started on the 20th June, arrived at the
summit on the 23rd at 11h45, return to base camp on the 24th.
Description: The route starts off on a moderate incline of 50/55° for 700
metres before arriving in an ice gully of about 100 metres at an incline of
60°. Delicate exit from the gully due to snow collected on the rocks at about
5,800 metres. The climb follows a long snow slope of about 500 metres at an
incline of 50/55° before joining a new section of mixed climbing of about 200
metres with a final delicate section (reliant on one piton) leading out onto a
horizontal arete which leads to the final 300 metres of snow slopes before
rejoining the Kinshofer route at about 7,100 metres.
is magnificent, very aesthetically pleasing and nice to climb. There are few
dangers on the approach trek to the foot of the face (risks of serac falls
etc) There are few possible bivouac sites on the face. There is a very good
site at about 6,700/6,800 metres.
route, without taking into account the difficulties linked to the altitude
that one must gain, resembles an Alpine North Face route (e.g Les Courtes, the
Aiguille du Midi or the Lauper route on the North Face of the Eiger in
Dhaulagiri this year are
Nanga Parbat this year are