Update 5/18/2005: Expédition Chomo-Lonzo 2005
Worrying, waiting, and hoping on Chomo-Lonzo
May 18th, 8:00p.m. live report
from climber Christian TROMMSDORFF at 6,850 meters.
«Last night, the bivouac wasn’t destroyed as we had feared. The wind really did
die down overnight; but, at day break, the violent westerly gusts came back with
a vengeance (probably attaining 80 to 100 km/h). In these conditions, it was
impossible to leave the tent - the risks of frostbite and losing balance were
too great. But we didn’t lose the entire day; late afternoon it finally became
possible to fix three rope lengths to get a jump-start on tomorrow.
For the three of us, today was a day of inactivity and indecision… it’s a little
disheartening to have come so far, just to wait and wait some more…..
Yan Giezendanner, the weather forecaster, seems positive: he promises calm
weather is on its way; he even says he’s 95%
We are chomping at the bit, but we don’t have a crystal ball. What if we go
beyond the point of easy return and we hit that 5%? Easy to mull over all the
possibilities with so much time on our hands…
Tonight will hopefully bring some answers.
In any case, come dawn tomorrow, we’ll have to make a decision
after all we don’t have a never-ending supply of food and gas.
Should they stay or should they go now?......... suspense continues on
Chomo-Lonzo; tomorrow will crucial.
Update May 17th:
At 6:00p.m., on Monday, May
16th, culminating 3 days of effort, Stéphane BENOIST and Patrice
GLAIRON-RAPPAZ reached Chomo-Lonzo's North summit (7,199m) thereby opening a
new and direct route on the West face.
Well-supplied with weather predicitons by Méteo-France's Yannick GIEZENDANNER,
the team left their bivouac installed near the rimaye at 6,000m at dawn, May
14th. Saturday night they bivvyed at 6,700m and Sunday night at 7,000m near
the ridge joining the North summit with Chomo-Lonzo's central summit. Today
May 17th, they have redescended by the NW ridge, which the team TROMMSDORFF,
GRAZIANI, and WAGNON opened ten days before.
accustomed to this kind of climb (Tauliraju 2002, Thalay-Sagay 2003), this is
a magnificent success for the team, definitely a degree above all their
preceding experiences; this time they've opened a new route of 1,200m in pure
alpine-style (without preparation, fixed ropes, or pre-installed camps) on a
7,000+m peak with serious difficulties. The obstacles they encountered at such
high elevations (including vertical ice goulottes and delicate mixed passages)
are of the highest difficulty realized to date in the Himalayas at similar
key to the team's success is the combination of being perfectly acclimated for
such an effort at altitude as well as the kind of strong determination
normally associated with their high level of technical experience.
Christian TROMMSDORFF, Yannick GRAZIANI, and Patrick WAGNON is now in position
for the final act of the Expedition Chomo-Lonzo 2005 - the ascension of
Chomo-Lonzo's central summit, a virgin summit of 7,540m.
morning May 17th our friends set off from 6,100m and, in only 6 hours, have
already reached the serac crowning the first rock band of the NW ridge
(definitely a record with respect to their arduous ascension 10 days ago). The
weather remains clear, but the wind is picking up again with strong gusts
prevailing during the afternoon; the tents could be in danger with predicted
wind speeds of over 100km/h... fortunately the calm is forecasted to return
sometime during the night.
excellent morale and physical condition: they want this central summit!
point, we have a reasonable idea of what is to come:
May 18th: finish climbing the N summit, descend approximately 200m, and
continue along the horizontal ridge in the direction of the rock band which
links the North ridge with the Central summit. Ideally, they want to install
their bivouac at the base of the rock band. From information gleaned from the
group BENOIST, GLAIRON-RAPPAZ, heavy snow accumulation may slow their
May 19th: overcome the rock band (about 200m). Uncertain of its condition and
difficulties, maybe 2 days will be necessary.
20th or Saturday May 21st: climb the central summit (if the weather holds) -
the final push to the summit doesn't appear to hold any major obstacles.
crucial choice: which way down? Most likely the same as up, but the decision
is still open.
suspense, the pressure is mounting on Chomo-Lonzo! We'll keep you informed of
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Expedition to Chomo-Lonzo: From Jean-Claude MARMIER, chairman of Himalayan
information on the French Chomo-Lonzo expedition
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 :
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 :
Christophe MOULIN, Aymeric CLOUET and Yann BONNEVILLE
Stephanne BENOIST and Patrick GLAIRON-RAPPAZ
Christian TROMMSDORFF, Yannick GRAZIANI and Patrick WAGNON
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.
NAME IN FULL
Mr. Christian Trommsdorff
Mr. Benoist Stephane
Mr. Wagnon Patrick
Mr. Bonneville Yann Nicolas
Mr. Glairon Rappaz Patrice
Mr. Clouet Aymeric
Mr. Moulin Christophe
Mr. Graziani Yannick
Mr. Karma Gyalzen Sherpa
Mr. Ong Chen Sherpa
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