ridge. A close up to the challenge ahead
We start our look at why
the Fantasy Ridge is the last
ridge on Everest to be climbed, why you ask? Let's start with a couple of
Ed Webster, a
man who has a landmark achievement of being part of the smallest team to climb
a major new route up Mount Everest: only 4 climbers, no oxygen, no radios, no
The East (Fantasy) Ridge of
Everest is such a different type of climbing problem that either of the other
two Kangshung Face routes. The primary challenge of the East Ridge are
the continuous double-cornices....
I can tell you what it looks like : It's a very, very long
and narrow ridge, double-corniced nearly the entire way, with a couple
of awkward horizontal sections, that leads you to halfway up the NE Ridge --
with a REALLY LONG [including over the Pinnacles] ways still to go to
the summit !! Awkward, Dangerous, No options for Retreat when things go
Wrong, and plenty of tiring horizontal climbing before you get
anywhere near the top... cheers, Ed Webster
In 2006 a group of
experienced and dedicated climbers will attempt to reach the top of Mt Everest
by a new route. Among the more than 2000 Everest summits to date, no one has
ever reached the Summit by way of the Fantasy Ridge. The new route will offer
an entirely new exploration of the great mountain.
The name, Fantasy Ridge, was
given by George Leigh Mallory. It is believed that the name reflects the
almost impossible difficulty of the route. It is thought that the route was
attempted twice to a height of 6400 m. and then abandoned. Next Spring, a team
will try to turn “fantasy” into reality!
Although the exact details of
the plans will be kept strictly confidential for the climbers and sponsors, it
can be announced that the approach will not be the traditional Kangshung
Glacier. The proposed route was photographed, video taped, and studied over
the last couple of years to explore the new approach via East Rongbuk
Glacier. The results were so encouraging that climbers saw in this a real
opportunity to explore new territory leading to a successful summit by the new
Departure will take place in
early March 2006 giving enough time for acclimatizing and completing all
planned climbs, as well as taking advantage of the colder temperatures.
Fantasy Ridge is an exposed
major ridge with a greater chance of avalanche. The colder temperatures will
be an advantage. Several vertical pitches offer a high altitude challenge
testing the ability to perform under severe circumstances.
Because the Fantasy Ridge has
never been climbed before, we acknowledge the unknown factor and therefore
need to be prepared for any surprises. Simply put: a better prepared team
has a better chance of success.
While the Fantasy Ridge is a
real challenge for any respected climber, its top ends more than 1000 meters
below the summit of Mt. Everest. From the top of the Ridge, climbers must
continue across the notorious Pinnacles, another high altitude technical
undertaking. Just above the third Pinnacle the route eases above the last
camp of the traditional route (8300 m). With luck the team will stay on the
Northeast Ridge completing the first true Northeast Ridge traverse.
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