Saturday, 11 December, 0700:
The portable rings, and it's Jean-Christophe's cook, Sera, calling from base
camp announcing that Jean-Christophe has just arrived at the summit of
Shishapangma!!! after one second of concern. I explode with joy, I am so happy
with the news of this exploit, this challenge!!
It's such an investment, of
concessions we make all year... that success is the result, the reward of
Jean-Christophe succeeded at
the first solo winter summit of Shishapangma while opening an alternative
route (variante) at 1300 meters!
I just talked to him on the
telephone. He reached his camp at 7000 meters. He is well, he is content: "It
was magnificent, magical, I saw the lights of Katmandu from afar... this night
I was cold since starting this morning... not frostbitten fortunately! At the
summit there was some North-West wind, but I managed well and prepared my
ascent strategy which went really well!"
Jean-Christophe will spend
the night at the 7000 meters camp and return to base camp tomorrow, December
Good day! Katia Lafaille
[EverestNews.com Editorial Comment:
Jean-Christophe's ascent was too fast and too soon to be an official "winter
ascent" for those who use the December 21st as the definition as "Winter".
The winter climbing season begins December 1st In Tibet/China, many including
Nepal and China (where
Shishapangma is located) define "Winter" as December 1st
for Nepal and China climbs. Some
climbing definitions like "winter" make little to no sense. Some
would have Winter begin everywhere in the world December 21st. To those that
don't think this is a Winter ascent, should Jean-Christophe go back up and tag
the summit on December 21st? You know he can! Please! Time to move on and give
credit where credit is due instead of trying to split hairs. That is our
opinion and you will note, it is marked as an opinion...]
Previous information below
Jean-Christophe: Winter Shishapangma 2004
From 10 December 2004
Background: After returning from a 1300 kilometer
bicycle tour of the American West, and after one week in France,
Jean-Christophe set out again for Nepal to try a project that he's been
contemplating since 1996... The first winter ascent of Shishapangma, in the
most difficult style, like always: solo, using alpine technique and, of
course, without artificial oxygen!
Jean-Christophe didn't wish to speak about this
climb because he didn't want to have "the pressure" leading up to the project
that he's been thinking about since 1996.
He climbed Shishapangma in 1994, going twice to
the summit during the same expedition by opening a new route, solo on the
In 1996, he wanted to try Shishapangma in winter
by using an alternative trekking route which starts in Langtang. However, this
year was particularly snow-covered and Jean-Christophe could not reach the
base camp of Shishapangma.
In 2003, Jean-Christophe set out again on this
Shishapangma winter ascent, but a few days before his departure he learned
that his father had become ill. He deferred the project to a later time when
he could be in a better mindset, and so that he could be with his father and
help him through his ordeal.
2004: This year feels good. He's ready and will
attack the southern slope with a new route and approach to the mountain.
It should also be noted that the official winter
season in the Himalayas begins on 1 December and ends on 15 February.
Jean-Christophe hopes to be able to summit Shishapangma during the first two
weeks of December.
is the way Jean-Christophe likes it: managing the climb, fatigue, mental
aspects, ascent strategy under extreme cold conditions... The major problem
with a summit to more than 8000 meters in winter is related to a combination
of severe cold and altitude. Very simplistically, what happens is that when
one is in a state of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) blood thickens, and blood
circulation is less efficient. The risks of frostbite is also higher in
winter, with temperatures lower and days shorter.
Jean-Christophe doesn't want to summit the 8000 meter
peaks just to collect them. He attaches a great deal of importance to the way
in which he climbs a mountain... He likes the difficulty, engagement, autonomy
and discretion. We worked very hard preparing for this project through
specific training with the invaluable assistance of our partner LPG who
develops and manufactures machines that work balance, coordination, muscular
reinforcement, and recovery. We also attach a lot of importance to diet, and
with the help of Rene who works for LPG we can rely on certain nutrition under
extreme conditions. We have a good balance between proteins, glucose, and
lipids throughout the year, of food to be used during training, during
Shishapangma: Shishapangma is the highest summit
entirely situated in Tibet (China) as well as the closest 8000 meter peak to
Katmandu. Its name in Tibetan means "the peak above the meadows". Its first
ascent was made in 1964 by a Chinese expedition. With the opening of Tibet to
foreigners in 1980, Shishapangma was climbed by many expeditions. The Southern
face is very steep, a rise of 2300 meters. This is the face Jean-Christophe
will attempt. The advantage of this mountain is that its access to base camp
is easy. From the Friendship Bridge at the Nepalese border, Nyalam is 5 hours
away. From this Tibetan village, Shishapangma base camp is a 2 day hike. The
Southern face is then very close to base camp, situated at an altitude of 5400
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