In previous years, ExplorersWeb have published one big Year in Review on January 1st.
This year we are cutting it up in sections, to be posted every day until the awards, with the compiled report to go up early 2010.
Today we jump straight to the darkest chapter of last year; friends and legends lost.
Obituaries - 8000ers
They won an ExWeb award for their great 2006 Himalayan Trilogy; this year "The Peters" Himalayan saga was tragically ended when Polish Piotr Morawski perished in a crevasse on Dhaulagiri April 8 at 8.40 am local time, while returning from C2. At only 33, Piotr had summited six 8000ers, and made the first winter summit on Shisha Pangma (together with Simone Moro in January, 2005).
Dhaulagiri also claimed Iranian Mehdi Etemadfar who reportedly fell to his death while pushing for the summit on May 1st.
Czech Martin Minarik and French Elisabeth Revol reached Annapurna's Eastern summit (8,021m) following eight days of rough conditions on the peak's south side. The two split up on descent at 7100 meters where Martin became unable to move on his own. Revol was found exhausted in Manang village while a heli SAR for Martin returned unsuccessful. Before Annapurna, Martin Minarik commemorated Tibets National Uprising day by flying a Tibetan flag at his house in the Czech Republic.
Denis Urubko's free-spirited climbing partner Russian Sergei Samoilov, 52, died on Lhotse during unclear circumstances as a member of the Kazakh 2009 Lhotse-Everest traverse. A 2005 climb on Broad Peak's unclimbed SW face gained Serg and Denis an ExplorersWeb award, and a nomination for the international Piolet d'Or. In 2006 the two completed a new route on the NE side of Manaslu and in 2007, they summited K2 in its latest summit ever and the first K2 north side summit in 11 years. Denis Urubko and Sergei Samoilov are the only to have gained no less than three Best-of-ExWeb awards (2005-2007).
German (Calgary resident) Frank Ziebarth, 29, reportedly perished after summiting Everest w/o O2 via the South side on May 21st. Czech Veslav Chrzaszcz reportedly passed during the night at the North Col on May 18th, probably due to a heart attack. Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, 32, vanished in an Everest icefall avalanche while Kaji Sherpa, 45, was poisoned by methanol in BC. Chinese Wu Weng-Hong, 40, succumbed to HAPE.
In spring Manaslu claimed Italian Giuseppe Antonelli, lost to HAPE while retreating from C3, and Hungarian Levente Szabo who reportedly fell to his death on descent from an aborted summit push. On October 1st, despite a rescue haul to BC, Slovenian Franc Oderlap died of presumed brain injury on the peak.
Dennis Verhoeve reportedly fell to his death while abseiling from Cho Oyu summit on June 2nd. Later in fall, US Rep. Carolyn Maloneys husband Clifton Maloney, 71, passed while resting in a high camp shortly after summiting the peak.
He summited Makalu (his 5th 8,000er without 02) on May 21st; on June 4th Australian Mick Parker (36) was found dead in his hotel in Kathmandu due to a combination of exhaustion, lingering effects of HAPE and alcohol.
Italian Michele Fait slipped and fell while skiing down the Cesen route on K2.
Korean star climber Go Mi-Sun ('Ko Mi-young') fell to her death on descent at around 6200 meters close to camp 2 on Nanga Parbat. With 11, 8000ers summited in a very short time, Miss Go, 41, became known as a "dark horse" in the quest for the first female to summit all 14, 8000ers.
Austrian Wolfgang Köblinger was also lost on Nanga Parbat normal route. Traces in the snow indicated Wolfgang might have gone over a steep section at 8060m while on descent from summit.
El Grio (the cricket) Cristina Castagna, 31, reportedly slipped and fell into a crevasse while descending from camp 4 on Broad Peak with mate Giampaolo Casarotto. She had previously summited Shishas central summit (2004), GII (2005), Dhaulagiri (2007) and Makalu (2008).
Climbing behind the Iranian team with Polish mate Jacek Teler; Spanish mountaineer Luis M. Barbero was last seen near the summit on Gasherbrum II and reported lost some days later by his team mates in BC.
A snapped rope caused young mountain guide Roby Piantoni to lose footing and fall to his death on the British route at Shisha Pangma south side. Roby's dad had been killed in an Peruvian Andes avalanche in 1981. At the family's request, climbers on Shisha Pangma joined forces to help bring Roby's remains home to Bergamo, Italy.
Obituaries - lower peaks
Pakistani Army Air Corps helicopters along with local and international mountaineers tried in vain to rescue Spanish climber Oscar Perez, stuck at approximately 6,200 m of altitude with a broken leg and an arm immobilized after suffering an accident when he tried to scale Latok II in alpine style with Alvaro Novellón.
His amazing life came to an end on an unknown peak, in the company of local kitchen boy Jagat, on a climb very few knew about. Air Zermatt Swiss rescue team Pilot Robert Andenmatten and rescue-climber Simon Anthamatten finally found Tomaz Humar at 5600 meters on the south wall of Langtan Lirung on November 14. Robert dropped Simon with a 25 meter static rope on the accident site but it was too late. Tomaz had died, apparently after breaking his leg in a fall.
In an eerie reminder of Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff lost in a 2007 Sichuan avalanche; American Micah Dash, Jonathan Copp and Wade Johnson died in an avalanche near BC on Sichuans E Gongga.
Korean climbers Min Jung-Young and Park Jong-Sung perished in their attempt for a new route on the north face of Hiunchuli (6.441m) located close to Annapurnas south side Sanctuary.
Obituaries - other
Dr. Giuliano De Marchi, 62, perished while ski-touring in the Dolomites. Giuliano had summited Makalu, Cho Oyu, Shisha, attempted Everest and K2, and crossed Greenland from Kulusuq to Kangerlussuaq in 2000.
Climbing Mag Editor American Craig Luebben, 49, was killed by falling ice on Mount Torment in Washingtons Cascades.
Polish climber Andrzej Marciniak survived the 1989 Everest expedition that killed five of his fellow Polish climbers but lost his life in the Tatras mountains on August 7 this year.
Himalayan climber Sven Gangdal died in a boating accident on the night of September 13 at home in Norway. Sven was alone in a small motor boat which ran at high speed into a cliff. Sven had climbed five 8000ers and was twin brother of fellow mountaineer Jon Gangdal who became the first Norwegian to scale Kangchenjunga.
Aconcagua had a season deadlier than usual with the most controversial fatality being that of Federico Campanini. A video posted on YouTube showed the mountain guide surrounded by a group of rescuers asking for permission over radio to leave the crawling climber behind, claiming that he has "no more than 40 minutes to live."
Lack of funds forced British Mark Evison to postpone his aspiration to become the youngest person to ski solo to the South Pole. Instead, Mark (26) went to Afghanistan. Nicknamed '007' by his brothers in arms, the young soldier sadly took a bullet and passed away on May 12.
Obituaries - legends lost
Italian Riccardo Cassin died near Lecco on August 6. Part of Ragni di Lecco (the Lecco Spiders), Cassin made many legendary climbs in the Dolomites and around the world, fought in WWII and set up shop with his own climbing gear. In 1961 at age 52, Riccardo became the first to summit Denali via the Cassin Ridge, and he continued to climb well into his 80s.
American K2 explorer and high-altitude physician Charles Houston died September 27, at 96 years old. Member in the 1935 Nanda Devi expedition, Houston tried K2 in 1938 and 1953. Houston wrote K2: The Savage Mountain and later Bernadette McDonald compiled his biography in Brotherhood of the Rope.
K2 pioneer Achille Compagnoni died May 13 in a northern Italy hospital at age 94. On November 20 at age 83 fellow Italian Lino Lacedelli followed Achille for one last time.
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