Lhotse 2006: Simone Moro's new route on the West face

Posted: Mar 15, 2006 05:15 pm EST

(MountEverest.net) January last year, Simone Moro summited Shisha Pangma after a fast 5 hour summit push in very strong winds. It was the first calendar winter ascent on a 8000er since 1988, and the first winter climb on Shisha Pangma. The climb was awarded among the Best of ExplorersWeb 2005.

This spring, Simone is coming back for Lhotse, the very peak where he had his first high-altitude climbing success, although no cigar: In 1994, a blinding storm made it too hard to avoid the treacherous summit cornices and Simone was stopped short of the top.

The summit came instead in 1997, without oxygen, together with Anatoli Boukreev. The climb led to a winter attempt on Annapurna later that year, an expedition that killed Anatoli in an avalanche.

Four years later, Lhotse made Simone famous. While attempting the Lhotse/Everest traverse with Denis Urubko in 2001, the two climbers got involved in spectacular rescues of other climbers.

The West face

This year, Lhotse is celebrating its 50th anniversary and Simone will pay his respects by "doing his own climb there:

Yes, I am going to Lhotse for the third time well, why not? Ive already said Im not interested in collecting 8000ers, so there's nothing wrong with repeating peaks, he tells ExWeb.

The goal is a new variation or a new route entirely on the West face - where the classic route is also located. Simone wont use supplementary O2 or altitude porters. In fact, he will show up in BC alone. I am not soloing the mountain since up to C2 (6300m) I have no other choice but to share route with both Lhotse and Everest climbers, says the Italian climber.

A new route or a variation

Above that point however, Simone hopes for conditions to be good enough for one out of two alternative climbs to the summit:

If he manages to start his new itinerary from Everests C2, it would be considered a new route and not a variation, since he would climb the entire Lhotse face well separated from the normal Swiss route.

However, if conditions on the face are bad (excess of snow and high risk of avalanche) he will have to follow the normal route further up, and will then end up doing a variation.

Simone will leave Italy in two weeks, on March 29, and expects to set BC by April 10. Summit push is targeted between May 15 and 25, weather and conditions permitting. As for neighboring Everest, Simone has summited it twice: Once from Nepal (2000) and once from Tibet (2002).

Simone Moro and Piotr Morawski accomplished the first winter climb on Shisha Pangma during the first weeks of 2005. The two climbers summited the peak on Friday January 14, 2005 at 1:15pm (local) after a fast 5 hour summit push in very strong winds.

The climb was awarded among the Best of ExplorersWeb 2005. It was the first calendar winter ascent on a 8000er since 1988, and the first winter climb on Shisha Pangma.

Also in 2005, Simone attempted Batura II in Pakistan, and Patagonian Cerro Torre in the winter season.

Shisha was in fact Simones fifth winter climb: In addition to a tragic December attempt on Annapurna in 1997 where Boukreev died, Simone had successful climbs on Aconcagua and Cerro Mirador (new route in alpine style in 1993), and on Marble Wall - the northernmost and coldest 6000er in Central Asia - with Denis Urubko in 2001.

Simone Moro has summited Mount Everest (twice), Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, Shisha Pangma (winter), Lhotse (once) and 5 peaks over 7000 meters. He has accomplished the first winter climb of Marble Wall 6400m (Tien Shan), a 24-hour climb on Fitz Roys West Face (Patagonia), and many other climbs around the world.


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Simone Moro hopes to follow a new variation or a new route on the West face (click to enlarge).
Lhotse's normal route is the same for Everest's up to 7800m meters - at which point the paths separate, with Everest climbers heading for the South Col (click to enlarge).
Simone has attempted Lhotse twice and summited it once: In 1997, with Anatoli Bukreev as his climbing partner. In the Image, Simone calls to give the summit news. All images courtesy of Simone Moro (click to enlarge).