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  Tibet - Chomolonzo Expedition 05: The clouds are returning, bringing snow under 7,000m. The monsoon is coming... Will they make it in time?


 

 

Update 5/16/2005: After May 8th's success on the NW ridge of Chomo-Lonzo's North summit, and the storm-induced retreats of the other two teams on the W face, all expedition members regrouped at base camp for a well deserved rest, conveniently necessary due to continuous high winds in altitude. Due to a knee injury, Christophe Moulin, will remain at base camp for the time being.

 

May 13th, the team Yann Bonneville and Aymeric Clouet set off to retrace the steps of the first group along the NW ridge to the N summit, with the plan to continue on to the central summit (7,560m). But arriving at the bivouac site on May 14th, they were greeted with an unwelcome surprise: the tent and other stashed equipment had blown away; all that remained was a rope stretched between two ice walls. Armed with only one sleeping bag for two, they had a very difficult night. In the morning of the 15th, they realized they were no longer in a position to attempt the N summit and would have to abandon their goal. Tough decision to make after over a month and a half of preparation, but that is what alpinisme is also about - knowing when to turn around, knowing how to learn from your mistakes. Leaving some equipment at the 6,800m bivouac site for the benefit of the other group, they were forced to descend.

 

Today, Monday, May 16th, the team Christian Trommsdorff, Yannick Graziani, and Patrick Wagnon have set off with the same  goal to climb the central summit via the North summit, and weather permitting attempt the huge traverse to Chomo-Lonzo's main summit.

 

Simultaneously, the team Stéphane Benoist and Patrice Glairon-Rappaz have returned to the W face. Although our radio connection Sunday night May 15th was barely audible, it seems the tream erected their bivouac at 1:30a.m at 7,000m just below the rock band which joins the North summit with the central summit. Exhausted, they will try to rest a little before making

further decisions.

 

And so, suspense is mounting on the Chomo-Lonzo. With a lot of

uncertainties yet to be resolved, the upcoming days will be crucial. One amelioration: the winds are forecasted to lose their intensity. But the clouds are returning, bringing snow under 7,000m. The monsoon is coming... Will they make it in time?

 

Saturday, May 7th: Mission accomplished. Opening a new itinerary on a virgin summit of more than 7,000m is a rare exploit in the Himalayas. Today the team Christian Trommsdorf, Yannick Graziani, and Patrick Wagnon reached the summit of Chomo-Lonzo's North peak (point marked 7,199m on maps) at 7:OOp.m. local time (1:00p.m. Paris time) after 13 hours of continuous effort.

 

After a difficult night at 6,850m due to violent winds and freezing temperatures, the team left at daybreak, reached the summit at 7:00p.m, and having decided to descend despite night fall, regained their bivouac at approximately 11:00p.m. local time.

 

The climb was difficult and hardwork particularly in overcoming the smooth rock steps at 6,950m and 7,000m. Having expended much energy in the descent as well as the ascent, the team will spend the night at the bivouac and will probably redescend to base camp sometime Sunday.

 

The other two teams attacking the west face (team Christophe Moulin, Yann Bonneville, and Aymeric Clouet and team Stephane Benoist and Patrick Glairon-Rappaz) were forced to turn around without reaching their objectives, but will most likely be ready to climb again after a couple days of rest at base camp.

 

 

French Expedition to Chomo-Lonzo: From Jean-Claude MARMIER, chairman of Himalayan Committee

 

Some information on the French Chomo-Lonzo expedition

 

The Himalayan Committee of French Mountaineering and Rock Climbing Federation is organizing the expedition to Chomo-Lonzo this spring. The peak, located in Tibet, is a subsidiary peak north of Makalu and has been only climbed twice : first in 1954 from the Nepalese side by the French team Lionel TERRAY and Jean COUZY on their reconnaissance trip to Makalu and second in 1993 from Tibet by a Japanese expedition. This year we have a very strong and experienced eight member team :

Stephanne BENOIST

Yann BONNEVILLE

Aymeric CLOUET

Patrick GLAIRON-RAPPAZ

Yannick GRAZIANI

Christophe MOULIN

Christian TROMMSDORFF

Patrick WAGNON

 

Our goal is to climb both virgin peaks : N and central summits (7,199 m and 7,560 m) It is a lightweight expedition, without camps or fixed ropes. They are climbing as three independent parties :

1 - Christophe MOULIN, Aymeric CLOUET and Yann BONNEVILLE

2 - Stephanne BENOIST and Patrick GLAIRON-RAPPAZ

3 - Christian TROMMSDORFF, Yannick GRAZIANI and Patrick WAGNON

 

The groups reached base camp in the Kangshung valley on April 13th. After three weeks of acclimatization and reconnaissance they are now ready for the summit attempt. Today, Christian Trommsdorff's group is at 6,800 m on the NW ridge of N peak; they hope to summit within two or three days; The Christophe MOULIN and Stephanne BENOIST teams are at the foot of central peak at 6,100 m. Their intention is to open two new routes. All groups are summiting in a single push and they will probably attempt the complete traverse of Chomo-Lonzo up to Sakietang La. Mountain conditions are not perfect.  Their first intention to climb the tremendous NE face had to be revised due to heavy snowfalls and avalanche danger; the decision was made to go with the safer W face. Climbing two virgin seven thousands peaks is very exciting and challenging. Further information will be delivered very soon.

Members:

No NAME IN FULL Nationality
01 Mr. Christian Trommsdorff French
02 Mr. Benoist Stephane French
03 Mr. Wagnon Patrick French
04 Mr. Bonneville Yann Nicolas French
05 Mr. Glairon Rappaz Patrice French
06 Mr. Clouet Aymeric French
07 Mr. Moulin Christophe French
08 Mr. Graziani  Yannick French

Nepali Staff

01 Mr. Karma Gyalzen Sherpa Guide
02 Mr. Ong Chen Sherpa Cook

 

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