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  Jean-Christophe Lafaille to attempt Makalu in Winter SOLO!!!! (True SOLO!!!!!)

Jean-Christophe Lafaille

Winter 2005/2006: First Makalu’s winter ascent and solo!!!

Jean-Christophe Lafaille will realize during winter 2005/2006, his twelfth summit higher than 8000 meters with the first winter ascent solo and without oxygen to the MAKALU 8481 meters. This mountain was tried several times in winter by expeditions known as "heavy" (see appendix; "Alpine" style and "heavy" expeditions) of which one was by Reinhold Messner.

The ascent of the first 8000 in winter by Jean-Christophe, on December 11, 2004 on the "Shishapangma" (8036m) served to him as a test for the incoming project. He made up a very positive assessment of its mental and physical resistance under extreme conditions and could evaluate the aspects to be practised in its preparation. Polish, specialists in heavy winter expeditions, affirmed that it was impossible to carry out a winter ascent of a 8000 in alpine style (see appendix; The "Alpine" style and "heavy" expeditions) With the ascent of Shishapangma Jean-Christophe still showed that it was possible while being alone, without infrastructure at the base camp besides its cook!

Partners/Products: Since one year we are hard working on the preparation of this winter 2005. This preparation includes clothing and the technical material, the food, the physical training and the mental one. Beyond the physical and mental training, the word "protection" joins together the whole of our technical partners on different points thus complementary. Without them, without this confidence regarding their know-how this project would not be possible.

GORE-TEX Products. These products make possible the impossible, products which ensure an irreproachable and completely reliable protection to be calm in any circumstance. Collaboration with GORE-TEX lasts already for almost 10 years and enables Jean-Christophe to profit from new technologies, to have products made to measure to answer the extremely demanding schedule of his conditions. A product or a weakening membrane, badly conceived at 8000 meters can cost the life to Jean-Christophe. He does not have right to the error and neither the manufacturers. Collaboration that Jean-Christophe maintains with his technical partners goes beyond "sponsoring", it is above all the reciprocal confidence and the best which surround him. They form part of the key of its success. 

Jean-Christophe will use for this winter Makalu 2005 Mountain Hardwear in GORE-TEX XCR products and sleeping bags as well as the tents of altitude Mountain Hardwear which currently are the best on the market. Under the request of Jean-Christophe, they carried out a tent of bivouac ultra light for this winter. 

Lestra Sport and Jean-Christophe have designed an "innovative” sleeping bag for his expedition in December 2004, it will go out again with this perfect product baptized "Shishapangma" by Lestra Sports. The “dry salaisons"Black Mountain", bring quality products with essential nutritional interests in expeditions; Jean-Christophe regularly consumes them throughout the year and during his expeditions. Collaboration with LPG Systems which develops and manufactures machines which enable to work balance, coordination, the muscular reinforcement, recovery allow to refine this demanding preparation.

The Team: It is made up, of course, by the partners of Jean-Christophe but also by:

Katia Lafaille: wife and manager of Jean-Christophe.

Yan Giezendanner: Router weather

René Même: fitness trainer.

Professionalism: Since four years, Jean-Christophe has still reached a stage in his course, the ascents which he has carried out for all these years make that he has acquired maturity and experience while remaining passionate by what he does. The projects which he considers today join together these elements and require an extremely high preparation. Absolutely nothing is left randomly, material, alimentation, physique, mental, relax, each element of his preparation is thoroughly calculated, studied to reach the "perfection". It is something new in the world of the mountain, extremely enriching and interesting. Passion, professionalism, assiduity, perseverance, the patience of Jean-Christophe and those around him make possible his ascents very committed on the summits of more than 8000 meters.

Why?: The complete autonomy, as Jean-Christophe likes it; to well manage its strategy of ascent under conditions of extreme cold, its tiredness, and its mental force. He does not wish to climb the summits of more than 8000 meters only to collect them, he gives a great importance to the way in which he will climb this or that mountain. He likes the difficulty, engagement, to explore the universe of the high altitude. He has never used an artificial oxygen contribution in expedition (which lowers the person of approximately 1000m which means to say that one person who reaches 8000 m with oxygen is in fact physiologically at 7000m... in sporting terms it is not the same...) because what interests him is precisely to climb there by himself. If he did not have the physiological capacity to climb the 8000, he would simply climb less high tops. 

Apart from his potential, the characteristic which defines Jean-Christophe it is his very futuristic vision of the alpinism... In 1996, he connects in less than four days Gasherbrum I and II (8068m and 8035m), in 2002 with the ascent of Annapurna he shows that it is possible to traverse fifteen kilometres on an edge during four days in the "thin air" between 7200 and 8000 meters, in December 2004, he carries out the first winter ascent of Shishapangma solo and in alpine style. The barriers which he makes fall make possible to imagine tomorrow’s ascents…

Makalu 8481m: Situation: Mahalangur Himal, Nepal oriental.27°53’ lat.N / 87°05’ long.E

Altitude: 8481m.

First Summit : May 15 1955  via north west edge by Jean Couzy and Lionel Terray (France).

Base Camp Altitude: 5400m.

Timing (forecast):

27 October to 27 November 2005: end of the preparation abroad

01.12.05: Nepal departure

30 January 2006: back to France.

Expedition follow-up: Katia Lafaille, in liaison regularly with Jean-Christophe, will put on line on their site www.jclafaille.com information in real time about Jean-Christophe’s progression. The largest site on mountain will translate into English and will put on line the official communiqués that Katia will send to them on www.everestnews.com  (American site)

Katia Lafaille. 

APPENDIX: WINTER in Himalaya: 

The major problem in the ascent of summits of more than 8000 meters in winter is mainly related to the cold large mixture + altitude. In a very simplistic way here is in two lines what happens: when one is in a state of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) blood thickens, blood circulation slow down, the risks of frostbite are then high in winter with temperatures even colder and shorter days this process is reinforced.

Wind is also very problematic because the solid mass undergoes almost every day the famous "Jet Stream" whose airliners use for fly which blow on average of 160/180km/h. When he climbed the Shishapangma, the wind at the top was 70 km/h. The temperature this day at the top was of -35°, by adding the speed of the wind (wind chill) it reached approximately - 60 °.

« Alpine » style and « Heavy » expeditions: The difference between the alpine style and heavy expeditions are as follows: Heavy expeditions install progressively with their progression on the mountain fixed cords on which the mountaineers rise with a handle car-blocking (called the jumar) during the rise and the descent like self-insurance. Besides the base camp, several other camps are installed on the mountain; an advanced base camp, a camp 1, camp 2, camp 3 and even sometimes a camp 4. This style of ascent does not require technical qualities of climbing and requires much material on the mountain.

The alpine style is at the opposite and requires technical qualities of climber because there are not fixed cords installed (except for the delicate passage of a crack for example or a short portion and very technique of a passage on the route) thus not safety as well on the rise as in the descent. In addition, there is possibly an advanced base camp but then there are not several camps installed on the mountain. The same camp moves with the climber and follows him according to his acclimatization. This technique leaves the mountain "clean" but is very committed, the most committed one in the Himalayas.

Thanks to:




Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.


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