This summer Guillaume Pierrel, Boris Langenstein, Tiphaine Duperier and Aurelia Lanoe will aim to climb 1 or 2 of the Gasherbrums and descend them by skis.
They reached the summit of Gasherbrum 2 on July 11th!
The Quartet love a challenge so we will keep up with their journey with this diary.
“My throat tightens when I see them all 3 at the top. They wave to me and shout encouragement. I am about a hundred meters from them, it’s a long distance at 8000m altitude! “I can not cry now, already that I am breathing badly, if in addition I cry I will die of hypoxia!” I advance slow motion, my thoughts stuck by the lack of oxygen suddenly realize that it is there, I am there! This peak that seemed to escape me so many times during this last stage, when my body was screaming at me to stop, when my head asked me what the hell I was doing there and why I was doing all this to myself… to be with them, Boris, @tiphaineduperier and @guillaume_pierrel at the top of this giant, the Gasherbrum II, and to admire the incredible view of the Karakorum, the K2, the Broad Peak, the Chinese secret mountains … This special light, almost unreal, that I had observed in photos of high peaks and in which I am now bathing… It’s incredible! Sobs shake me as we hug and congratulate each other. I have never felt such an emotion, it is indescribable. Suddenly, all the suffering and all the doubts fly away to give way to a blissful fullness … I savor, I go from laughter to tears, I’m happy: it’s my 1st 8000. Thanks to this fantastic team.”
Photo of the summit! Gasherbrum II 8035m.
“Four o’clock awakening, it is snowing in the tent, an unforeseen wind has accumulated the snow to the point of blocking the entrance. Under these conditions, we decide to operate the stove indoors. The latter overturns and no longer wants to function. No tea, no breakfast, we leave hungry, nervous. It is soaked socks that Guillaume leaves the tent and must return there 15 minutes later, his feet frozen. False start. It is warming up, but Boris and Tiphaine are already far ahead, making a nice trail in the deep snow.”
“At 7700 m, the summit slope is perfect, with a view of the Karakoram on the left and India and China on the right!
The duo Boris and Tiphaine set foot on the summit first after crossing over a ledge. Guillaume and Aurélia arrive a little later. It’s 1pm, everyone is happy at the top.”
“We climbed the southern spur of the G2 which had been conquered by a French expedition in 1976 (Marc Batard, Yannick Seigneur, Louis Audoubert). Skiing down the same route is a first. It will require a mandatory 30 m abseil in the crux under the C4. We are going to sleep again at C3, the bags are enormous and Tiphaine suffers from an ear infection. Complicated night, and the next day final descent in the white day on C1. Very aesthetic descent but technical and exposed ski. Fatigue has gripped us, and we really take the time to help each other so that everyone can descend safely. We collect the equipment at C1, we set off with 25 kg bags to cross the icefall which has changed a lot with snow bridges which have collapsed, revealing gaping crevasses.”
“Arrival at base camp 12 noon, welcome by our Moussa cook with cigarettes, biscuits and coke on the glacier. Then by the Italian Marco Confortela (12 x 8000 at his meter) for a warm welcome in his tent with fontina and coppa. Exceptional improvised concert in the evening in our tent with Philippe Genin (pianist of the peaks) and all the other international expeditions. We who dreamed of a nap, we will be galvanized by the Pakistani songs that came to celebrate our summit until late at night.”
“So many emotions, and what a nice sharing of the two mixed roped parties. A film will be released in the fall.”
“Departure at dawn, semolina snow, we are roped up, difficult to protect on a spit, then mixed in rotten limestone. Delicate exit to the ledge. There, tent residues at the top of the spur immediately remind me of Bernard Villaret, who died there 45 years ago, during the opening.
We put on our skis with the skins 100m to reach our camp 4 (7300m).”
“Night departure with a delicate crossing under the gendarmes, particularly complicated and inconsistent snow. We planned a camp 3 at the exit of the spur, but we must organize a makeshift camp at 6850m. Guillaume uses the drone to go and observe the difficulties of the next day from the air.”
“We reach camp 2 and our tent which had remained there for a week on a small collu in the gendarmes of the lower part of the southern spur. Altitude 6600m. We had climbed the edge of this spur the previous week. This time we take the snow slopes to check the quality of the grip and the presence of ice.
The girls will spot the rest of the difficulties for the next day. There are still 2 gendarmes to bypass.”
“Departure from base camp at 6 am: ice fall exit in the snow where the skis await us, Then clearing, we arrive in the sun the sun at C1 5800m. Huge avalanche on the G1 with an aerosol which blows to the ledge of Camp 1. The face is beautiful and seems purged but it is a little reminder to order and humility.”
“First push on the French route. Gasherbrum II. Stopped at 6600m.
Waiting for good window to push further.”
“Upon awakening, a storm on the spur. A real rat trap. That’s enough for this first acclimatization and scouting push. From the first clearing, we ski down to the base camp. We are waiting for the weather window for the summit push.”
“We tackle the southern spur (French route) and set up a camp around 6600m on a snow pass, after 4 delicate pitches in rotten limestone where it is difficult to pit.”
“After 5 days of trekking, we left the 5000m base camp to trace the Icefall (the area where the glacier breaks between base camp and camp 1). We are the first of this season and making our way is particularly chaotic, between crevasses and seracs. An American guide with three Pakistanis left earlier and made the trail halfway. Boris and Tiphaine Duperier take over up to 5800m, it’s the end of the 6 kms of Icefall. In 5 hours we join the C1 without putting down any ladders or fixed rope.”
“On our way to Gasherbrum Base Camp! Six days of walking through incredible landscapes! On the Baltoro glacier, one of the largest in the world, we pass under the towers of Trango, then the Masherbrum appears from its almost 8000m altitude …! Broad Peak also pointed the tip of its nose between two clouds. We really feel very small in the middle of these giants!
“The path is not easy, between moraine and glacier, and we form a long caravan of porters, mules and mountaineers, creating real villages when we stop over. The experience is unique and strong! Too happy to be able to live these moments and to share this adventure with Guillaume Pierrel, Tiphaine Duperier and Bobo.”
“In the wild mountain skiing category, we think we have succeeded again.
“Two ski firsts in the Hindu Kush, a remote part of Pakistan – June 13 and 14, 2021 alongside Boris, Tiphaine and Aurelia.
“We left the Karakoram Highway, flashing west towards “virgin” peaks not far from a newly demilitarized region. Close to the Afghan border.
“We were very happy to have finally been able to reach this region. On June 8, a blockage forced us to turn around and opt for a plan B. But this time, after two days of trekking in autonomy, we were aiming for a summit which sits on the heights of the Chiantar glacier, rarely explored.
“A face of 1200m almost straight and a delicate exit on huge ledges. We skied the Garmush Zom 6244m in full.
“Next we went for its neighboring cousin, a 6200m whose name we do not really know (Garmush Zom II?) And would never have received a visit. The holy grail of being able to put our ski’s there!
“A banana-shaped corridor with mixed exit caught our eye.
“On June 14th, we reached the summit at 1:00 pm after a nice push at dawn! From the top a 25m abseil gave us a giant 1500m slide down.
“Now it is with joy and good humor that we are heading towards the Baltoro glacier and its 8000m giants.”