Mountain Hardwear athlete Ueli Steck is headed to the Himalaya to attempt a first ascent on the South Face of Annapurna. Below is an excerpt from his blog.
The Summer Has Ended – The Himalaya Season Begins
The Annapurna is the less climbed summit of the mountain over eight thousand meters. Until the end of 2008 only 154 climbers reached the summit. 60 alpinists died, two third of them were victims of avalanches. With 8051 meters the Annapurna belongs to the small eight thousand summits. On its south side the mountain falls straight down to the south face. A complex face of rocks and ice, 2500 meters high.
Already in 2007 and 2008 I tried to climb this line through this face. Unfortunately without success. Both expeditions took place in the pre-monsoon period in April/May.
In the south the Annapurna is not boarded to any other mountain chain. This means that the wet air meets unimpeded directly to the mountain. This constantly leads to precipitations. In such a face 10 centimetres of snow can have catastrophic consequences. Avalanches reach such a dimension, no one can imagine.
The post-monsoon period brings mostly – in contrary to spring time – more stable weather. The days are shorter and it gets colder, which can be of advantage in a south face. The sun is less intense and has less strength, to soften the snow mantle. On the other hand the rock is not so warm anymore and you get cold fingers if climbing without gloves.
Adventures stand out because you can never calculate in advance what all could happen. You can guess what you could expect, but nothing is for sure. To walk through life in a comfortable way is still not my goal. This is why I want to try to climb Annapurna a third time. I would like to implement my dreams and visions into reality. Annapurna is one of them.
The start of the expedition is on September 16, 2013. With Quatar Airways we fly to Kathmandu. After 2 to 3 days we will continue our journey to Pokhara. From there – after a short bus ride – we will trek to Annapurna base camp. Base camp is located at 4100 meters on a moraine of the glacier, which goes to the south face. It is a comfortable place in the green.
The way to the face from there is quite long. The foot of the face is at about 5500 meters. To get acclimatised we will carry all our equipment to the foot of the face, where we will install our starting point. Which route we will take we will decide on place. Conditions and weather will be decisive.
Canadian Don Bowie will accompany me another time to this expedition. After we were together in Tibet in 2011 we are looking forward to another expedition together. We will have approximately 2 months time for this expedition – until November 15, 2013.
Janine and Dan Patitucci will ensure that the expedition remains in memory with a lot of images. Please find more information on http://patitucciphoto.com
Information about the course of the expedition you will find as usual on http://www.uelisteck.ch