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Marco Siffredi Autumn Everest 2002 

In 2001, Marco Siffredi (France), a member of the Himalayan Experience Everest Expedition snowboarded down Everest on 5/23 from the Summit of Everest. It took Marco approximately 2 and 1/2 hours to snowboard down to ABC. Marco is one of the world’s leading extreme snow boarders. At around 6am on May 23rd he started his descent, 2 & 1/2 hours later, Marco, on his Elan Snowboard, he completed the first-ever descent of Everest of this type. This accomplishment followed Davo Karnicar who completed the first ever complete ski descent last autumn. The word from Everest was, "Here it is, Marco made it to the summit today. He made it before the Sherpas at 6AM. He watched the day rise alone on top of the world, after Sherpas climbers joined him [on the Summit], he locked into his bindings and went for it. At the "Norton" couloir North Face, at 200 meters from the summit one of his bindings broke due to extreme cold (-35 C), a Sherpa came to his aid, fixed it with a tool kit, and he went on to pulverize extreme snowboarding history !!!!!!!!!!!!! 8848 meters to 6400 meters, no rappels, no ropes, approx. 2 to 2-1/2 hour descent.

When EverestNews.com asked one serious Everest Expedition leader about this event, he stated to EverestNews.com, "The snowboarder did it...he's got to be nuts!!!!" That Everest Expedition Leader had huge respect for what happened. Marco had made history....

Marco Siffredi a 23 years old young "Chamoniard" (people from Chamonix). His father is a "guide de chamonix". Marco is a great alpinist and snowboarder. He made a lot of "premieres" in snowboard in the couloirs of the Chamonix Valley. He discovered Himalaya in 1999 and rode Cho Oyu and the Shishapangma (both 8000 +) with his snowboard. In May 2001 he reached Everest summit and was the first one to ride the north versant (Tibet side) by the Norton couloir (on snowboard).

This Autumn 2002, for his second Everest expedition he wanted to ride the Hornbein couloir. He was with two Sherpas (Phurba Tashi and Lhobsang Temba) and another French guide from Megeve: Olivier Besson. It was the only expedition on the north side (Tibet) during this period that we are aware of. Marco phoned several times to France and said there was a lot of snow. After 3 weeks, he is believed to have reached the summit of Everest. Olivier Besson, who stayed alone in the camp, seems to say in the French press that he saw him on the summit with the binoculars. Then, Marco started to ride the Hornbein couloir....

The Sherpas climbed with Marco but he was, of course, the only one to ride the Hornbein. Olivier Besson- the other French guide - stayed alone at the camp. He watched Marco riding the first meters of the Hornbein with binoculars and then the couloir could not be seen from the camp.

The descent was supposed to last a few hours but Marco never have appeared on the Rongbuck glacier.... Olivier and the two Sherpas, are said to be trying to find him on the glacier and watched the couloir with binoculars. The French daily paper Liberation says: "no track can be seen after 8500 m and there is no evidence of an avalanche neither". The French press says the snowboard track stops around 8500 m and then, nothing.... [ Most reports are sketchy. ]

A lot of people love Marco very much in France. He is different, anything but a star. He didn't want any big sponsor and worked by himself to pay for his expeditions. He was elected "rider of the year" in 2001 but it didn't change anything: no sponsors, no ads. He was a great snowboarder, skier and alpinist.

Marco Siffredi, a true alpinist, one of those men who take the risk to go far beyond the norm, where others can only dream. He road the Hornbein on Everest....

Our Prayers are with him and his family...

Update: Hope of finding Marco alive has been given up, the searches have not found him. A Puja is planned for October at Everest Base Camp with family and friends...

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