ExplorersWeb 2009 Year in Review: Significant climbs

Posted: Dec 18, 2009 02:00 am EST

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 part 3: significant climbs.

New routes and significant ascents - 8000ers

The wall cost him three very good friends over the years and for them exactly, South Korean Mr Park summited Everest via a new route on the immense and difficult technical SW Face - 27 years since it last was climbed.

This year the last Himalaya giant was summited in winter: Makalu, by Italian Simone Moro breaking the Polish spell for a second time and with old friend Kazakh Denis Urubko by his side. Up until today, 9 out of all 14 eight-thousanders have been winter climbed. The remaining are in Pakistan, where all five 8000er summits are yet untouched by man in winter.

Only months later, Denis scored again. Kazakhs Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko climbed Cho Oyu's SE face in alpine style on May 11th - a remarkable finish of the 14x8000ers project for Urubko. This was the first alpine climb of the face; the Urubko/Dedeshko line goes straight up, eventually joining the winter Polish route.

Success arrived after years of tenacious planning and the pictures said it all: a frightening couloir, a vertical ice wall - the small group of friends survived and triumphed a partial new line 11th July on Nanga Parbat in a season when even summits on the normal routes were scarce. "More than 2000m of complete new ground, reported Gerfried Goschl, leading fellow Austrians Sepp Bachmair, Hans Goger, and Canadian Louis Rousseau.

New routes and significant ascents - lower peaks

Chang Himals 1,500m north wall was sent by Andy Houseman and fellow Brit Nick Bullock.

Skipping their original plan on Manaslu; Yannick Graziani and new Piolet d'Or chief Christian Trommsdorff instead climbed Nemjungs 2,400 meters-long south face in alpine style.

Simon Anthamatten, 26, shot up from nowhere as climbing partner to Ueli Steck in relation to Ochoas rescue attempt on Annapurna last year. This fall Simon, his brother Samuel and friend Michael Lerjen - all in their twenties - bagged a summit near Nangpa-la, in one of the years coolest 7000er climbs: a first ascent in pure alpine style on the 2,200 m south face of Jasemba.

Piolet dOr winner Marko Prezelj with fellow Slovenians Rok Blagus and Luka Lindic opened three new big wall routes on Garhwal Himalayas Bhagirati massif.

Ines Papert and her photographer Cory bagged Kwangde Lho in an all-or-nothing 4 day winter ascent of the peak's frigid north face.

Wuelian Feng 6627 m. The north facing buttress was graded M6 WI5 5.7 R and is 2650 meters. Bruce Normand, Jed Brown, Kyle Dempster and Jared Vihauer did it in a 5 day alpine style push.

Russians Sokolov and Gorelic forged a new route on the highly demanding Pobeda peak.

Jannu north face 2002 summiteers Alexander Ruchkin and Mikhail Mikhailov made the first ascent of Peak 6206 in Sichuan, part of the Minya Konka massif, via a 1000 meter Big Wall.

Americans Joe Puryear and David Gottlieb bagged the virgin summit of Lunag Ri/Jobo Rinjang (6778m), a beautiful peak near Tarnga, which they climbed by the south face (Direct Route).

Chinese climbers Yan Dongdong and Zhou Peng completed the first all-Chinese ascent of Siguniangs central south face. The new 1000 meters-long route includes difficulties up to M4/AI3+/VI and follows a direct line to the 6,250m main summit in Sichuans Siguniang mountain massif.

British Robert Jarvis, Paul Guest, Martin Moran and Leon Winchester made the first ascent of Changuch (6322m) in India.

Pat Deavoll (NZ) made a spectacular climb on June 21st. Unable to find sponsors and partners for her original target Kampire Dior; Pat instead made the first absolute ascent of Karim Sar (6,180m). Teaming up with Paul Hersey (N-Z), Pat scaled the last 1000 meters completely solo.

Close to 70 years old, Spanish Carlos Soria bagged the first ascent of Dome Kang (7264m) with Vicente Tente Lagunilla and three Sherpas.


A wider choice for election turned the revamped golden ice axe into plural Piolets dOr, multiplying the number of prizes. Three teams - two of them Japanese - were unanimously awarded (Kamets SE face, Kalankas North face, Tengkampoches North face). A 'life-time-award' went to Walter Bonatti, 79. A Spirit of Mountaineering, award went to the group of voluntary rescuers who attempted to rescue Iñaki Ochoa on Annapurnas South face.

Kazakh Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko won the 4th Piolet dOr Asia for their climb of Cho Oyu's SE face in Alpine style. Japanese climber Yuji Hirayama got the Golden Climbing Shoes award, while further honors went to Young-Seung Park and Oh Eun-Sun for their contribution in mountaineering.

CAI (Italian Alpine Club) awarded Simone Moro and Hervè Barmasse for the first alpine style ascent of Pakistans Beka Brai Chhok. The prize, currently in its third edition, was established by the CAI as a tribute to Marco and Sergio Dalla Longa, perished in 2005 and 2007.

The prestigious Eiger award went this year to Italian Simone Moro and Kazakh Denis Urubko for their first winter Makalu ascent.

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Day 2: Louis and Sepp overcoming a steep part at the beginning of the Göschl-couloir (click to enlarge).
Denis Urubko reaching for the summit of Makalu, touched for the very first time by man in winter. Image courtesy of Simone Moro (click to enlarge).
File image of Park Young-Seok on Everest courtesy of Philippine GMA7 team (click to enlarge).
In 2009, David and Joe climbed Lunag Ri SE/Jobo Rinjang Direct Route in alpine style. In image by Joe, David is arriving at 6,500 meters after 21 hours climbing.
Anthamatten brothers and Michael Lerjen on Jasemba. Image Simon's website (click to enlarge).
Image by Lindsay Griffin of Chang Himal's north face, with the Brit's proposed line up the central spur, courtesy of DMM's website (click to enlarge).
A delicate traverse on Nemjung's summit ridge. Image by Christian Trommsdorff at Mountain.ru.

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