“We have lived like real men, courageous, loyal, in fraternity, solidly and idealistically, it was worth it!," wrote Abele.
Image by www.montagna.tv courtesy www.montagna.tv, SOURCE
Image of Abele Blanc (left) and Christian Kuntner (right).
Image by Christiankuntner.com courtesy Christiankuntner.com
This adventure that we have shared: Abele Blanc summits Annapurna

Posted: Apr 27, 2011 03:19 pm EDT
(Newsdesk) For two months we have lived like real men, courageous, loyal, in fraternity, solidly and idealistically, it was worth it.....! Only one certainty remains, from tomorrow we will go back to being the usual selfish bastards who fool friends and play with others emotions, because only the Mountain succeeds in performing miracles.

That's Abele Blanc, 57, for you and now Italian climbing websites report that he has scaled Annapurna, his final 8000er, at last

This is a major triumph for the Italian mountaineer who had attempted the peak six times already and lost his best friend there.

The year was 2005, and the accident took place shortly after Ed Viesturs's final summit. Somewhere between camp 2 and camp 3, a big serac broke off. On their ultimate mountain, the falling ice went straight for Christian Kuntner and Abele Blanc. Abele was injured; Christian died of inner hemorrhages.

The great Himalayan saga of the quiet ace climbing brothers Abele Blanc and Christian Kuntner was over. Abele broke down. And yet the soul of the two mountaineers' climbs remained, summarized in Abele's final dispatch from Annapurna in 2003, while Christian was still alive:

This evening, once again reunited in the big tents of base camp, well still open the bottle of champagne. It was supposed to celebrate the climb to the peak, but as this is now precluded, well celebrate what has brought our group close together in an extraordinary way, and this adventure that we have shared.

(Story edited Apr 28, 2011 10:32 am EDT: The original top image posted with this story featured Alex Busca, another Italian climber from Valle dAosta, and not Abele Blanc. The image has been corrected courtesy of our friends at Montagna.org.)

Most 14x8000ers collectors leave Annapurna for the end and some of the best ones have met death on its avalanche-prone slopes. Such is the case of Kazakh Anatoly Boukreev and Abele Blanc's regular climbing partner Italian Christian Kuntner. A falling serac killed Kuntner in 2005 during his summit push on Anna, his last 8000er. The accident left three of his mates injured, among them Abele Blanc - also out on his final peak to complete the quest.

Although shy, Abele Blanc has an aura of old-time chivalry about him. A mountain guide by heart and breed he was born in Aosta Valley, at the foot of Mont Blanc his character is similar to those described in the old, epic mountaineering novels from the first half of the twentieth century about heroic mountain guides in the Alps. His online diary is full of deep impressions and beautiful descriptions of the experiences he lives and the places hes passed through.


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