Touching the sky over and over again leaves some with no dreams left, while others with an increasing hunger for more. This hunger is one factor that seems to unite the Moro/Urubko combo. Another is the repeated trust of ones life to the other.
Simone Moro is marching up the fragrant valley of Khumbu towards the rocky glacier of his upcoming double-goal: Everest without O2 and a new route on Lhotse.
Denis Urubko, whom Simone considers not only "a perfect climbing-mate" but also an old friend turned into a brother, will soon be by his side. The two will enter familiar grounds, following not only previous ascents of the peaks but also a joint attempt a decade ago of the still unclimbed Everest-Lhotse traverse.
Over the years, both have climbed their way into the top ranks of Himalaya mountaineering - sometimes together, other times each on their own - latest jointly bagging the very last first winter ascent of an 8000er in Nepal/Chinese Himalaya.
ExWeb's Angela Benavides caught up with Simone during his trek for a quick chat about the upcoming climbs, politics, ethics, and the brotherhood that high risk and shared tall-order visions tend to bring on.
ExplorersWeb: The two planned Everest traverses and Edurne's early Shisha attempt were all thwarted this year by Chinese authorities denying climbing permits. Just like your Cho Oyu expedition was last year... What are your thoughts? And should climbers start to take this added risk into account?
Simone: I'm not a bit surprised. My own fate last year was just another demonstration of Tourism management, Chinese style.
Lucky enough it's quite easy to find projects outside China so my advice to the climbing community is to always have a plan B when organizing a project there. I had a back-up plan myself last year but didn't follow through on it to stay friends with the rest of my team.
ExplorersWeb: As for this year - what are your expectations?
Simone: Our expectations are two-fold: Everest is a personal project I want to climb it completely without supplementay oxygen. It would be my fourth Everest Summit in the fourth different style: 2000 from south, 2002 from north, 2006 solo traverse south to north, and 2010 - hopefully - without oxygen.
We have some ideas for Lhotse but we'll check our own condition and the conditions on the face before deciding where and how to do something new there.
ExplorersWeb: After years of exploratory alpinism, how do you expect to find yourself once again in super-crowded Everest-Lhotse BC?
Simone: It will be an immersion in high altitude tourism, but the world and the mountains are - or should be - accessible and free for everybody to live their dreams. The only thing I hope for is that everyone there is honest in declaring and understanding what a summit climb is and what it is not; the difference between a new route vs the classical; and what is oxygen use and what is not.
Those things should be obvious, but Everest history is full of mistakes, lies, lack of sense, reality and team spirit.
Anyway, I respect everybody and hope to follow my style of alpinism and realize something unusual, different or new, even in that crowded Base Camp. We'll see if I will be able to do it or not
ExplorersWeb:Denis and you have known each other for many years. When you started teaming up in the Himalayas you were already a reference in the mountain world, while Denis was a relatively "unknown" climber from some obscure Kazakhstan. Now he is a mountain celeb all-star :-) You have remained good friends...how have things evolved since you first met?
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