Hello EverestNews readers,
(in advance sorry for the translation)
You are numerous to ask for my news and I thank you. Until now it was difficult
for me to give some to you, one needed that I take again my life in hands, here
thus what I can say to you for the moment.
Me here of return in France since last 29 May after having spent 5 weeks in
Nepal with my children; Jérémi and Tom.
The objective of this trip was as much as possible to approach Jean-Christophe
in order to say to him goodbye for the last time.
After 10 days of walk under difficult conditions we arrived in front of this
giant and majestic “Makalu”. The weather was splendid and the mountain was
With the children and the sherpas, we have build our hands a memorial for
Jean-Christophe by depositing a prepared slab plate there with Kathmandu.
On this plate the name of Jean-Christophe and our message is written.
In the last village that we crossed before reaching the base camp of Makalu
later four days, we found a LAMA which accompanied us until the end by our way
in order to celebrate a “puja” (ceremony). Jean-Christophe had a beautiful
ceremony… at the end of his ultimate trip was gathered amongst other things a
score of Nepalese who requested and sang for Jean-Christophe… (the report of
this trip was published in the Magazine N°2974 Paris-Match of the week from the
18 to May 23, 2006)
The Italian expedition which was on Makalu found no trace of Jean-Christophe
except a handle of ice axe with a strap having been used to make safe the
passage of a crevasse around 6500 meters of altitude.
No tents at 6900m of altitude nor at 7600m… nothing of nothing… there were
very lot of falls of snow in Nepal at the beginning of April. This snow fell
during several days and without the least wind even in high altitude.
The tent of Jean-Christophe to 7600 meters of altitude must be crushed under 2
meters of snow…
The Italians were formidable, they did the utmost to try to bring back some
things for me. Mario Vielmo, the leader of Italian expedition, made a success of
the top of Makalu.
Doctor, Mauro Torre, came to my meeting to the base camp from Makalu to 4800m
(they were installed with the advanced base camp with 5400m) it gave me the
handle of the ice axe of Jean-Christophe.
was extremely disappointed not to have more information, with time I gave up
this search useless to continue to seek it him and his equipment. I have do what
it for the moment or it was necessary was needed.
Jean-Christophe went at the end of itself, at the end of his passion. What made
it vibrate in the projects that it undertook it was this concept of engagement,
being delivered to itself, to move in a natural environment without one being
able to come to seek it, one of the last places on ground where technology does
not exert its power yet…
It often compared its step in mountain with part of chess ; tactic, a lot of
preparation, various strategies, anticipation with the problems which could
arrive, enormously of safety, much of intelligence, patience and humility. this
time it lost… “Checkmate”… it knew that there was a risk, it accepted it…, he
returns in the history of the large explorers… his course, his life and rich
person of lesson for those which remain, he leaves us a beautiful heritage in
which there remains present…
With the children, we make a homage worthy of him and last weeks to him that it
passed on this Makalu. The children are them also to go at the end of themselves
for him to say goodbye and to impregnate themselves during a few days of the
places of its last voyage. We accompanied it, it is not alone, we released
ourselves from a weight which we left in his place, up there with him… a weight
which will prevent us from looking in front of…
am alleviated, my children also…
raise finally the head to look at the future and to put a foot in front of the
other… they are not the every easy day but I advance and I make confidence with
the life, in the future.
This slow rebuilding could also start thanks to the supports of the people close
to me… they will be recognized and I say to you THANK YOU…
benefit from it to thank and congratulate Veikka Gustafsson which reached on
last 15 May, without contribution on artificial oxygen, under extremely
difficult weather conditions its eleventh top of more than 8000 m the
“Kangchenjunga 8595m” (Third higher top of the sphere, which means “the five
treasures of the large snow”).
Veikka was near me lasting my travel to Nepal last February, it assisted me and
supported in the most difficult moments of my life. I offered to him what held
me more with heart in the material of Jean-Christophe….its ice axe, that with
which it had tried Makalu in 2004 and had opened a new way on the virgin slope
of Kangchungtse 7678m (Tibet), the most difficult rise technically which it
never carried out in the Himalayas. With this ice axe, Jean-Christophe also made
a success of the winter one in Shishapangma in December 2004… Jean-Christophe
was attached, very attached to this part of his equipment…
Veikka said to me “I will try Kangchenjunga
with the ice axe of Jean-Christophe” it did better, it took along
part of Jean-Christophe to the top of one of the 8000 which it missed… I think
that on the emotional level that should not have been easy for him to climb this
8000, close to Makalu, three months after the disappearance of Jean-Christophe
and even less to take along his ice axe there…
Side project, I prepare a book, my book, which will leave for the date birthday
disappearance Jean-Christophe in January 2007. There are other projects in the
head but sufficiently not structured to be evoked today.
See you soon ! Katia
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
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
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
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.
It is made up, of course, by the partners of Jean-Christophe but also by:
Lafaille: wife and manager of Jean-Christophe.
Giezendanner: Router weather
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.
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.
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
8481m: Situation: Mahalangur Himal, Nepal oriental.27°53’ lat.N / 87°05’
Summit : May 15 1955 via north west edge by Jean Couzy and Lionel Terray
to 27 November 2005: end of the preparation abroad
2006: back to France.
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
WINTER in Himalaya:
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
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.
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.
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