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Shishapangma: French Military Men on Top

Posted: May 15, 2014 03:11 pm EDT

(By Raheel Adnan) Four French climbers Sébastien Moatti, Sébastien Ratel, Antoine Bletton and Max Bonniot have summited Shishapangma via South Face, in light style. As we reported yesterday, the team was on the mountain since last week. News arrived this morning that the climbers are down to ABC after summiting Shishapangma on May 14th (yesterday) at around 1330hrs local time. Team reached the summit after three bivouacs at 5900m, 6600m and 7200m. They followed the 1982 British route on ascent, without support or fixed camps.


After unsuccessful autumn 2013 expedition, it was second French Military attempt on Shishapangma South Face. The team consisted of Lionel Albrieux as expedition leader, Benoît Ginon as doctor and four climbers Sébastien Moatti, Sébastien Ratel, Antoine Bletton and Max Bonniot. They flew to Kathmandu on April 2nd. However, as Nepal-Tibet border was to be opened after mid-April, the climbers trekked to Langtang for acclimatization.

On April 20th, the team drove to Nylam and after due official procedure reached BC at 5300m on 24th. They witnessed less favorable conditions than autumn.

The objective of the team was to climb the mountain in a fashion close to alpine style; no fixed ropes, no camps and no support from altitude porters. On April 27th, they set up Advanced BC at 5600m. From April 28th - 30th, they were on the mountain for acclimatization. On day 1, they bivouacked at the bottom of the face, at around 5900m. They spent two nights at 6150m and 6650m, before returning to BC on 30th.

During the bad weather period, from May 1st to May 7th, the climbers rested at BC. On May 8th, they headed back to ABC. While precise details about summit push are not available, it seems that the conclusive summit push was launched on May 11th. After three bivouacs, they summited on May 14th and managed to come down to lowest bivouac the same day.


North side Summit Push:

There are only four climbers on Shishapangma, now; Martina, Alois, Dominik Mueller of Amical Alpin and one Mexican climber. After resting and recovering, the climbers went up again, yesterday. They spent the previous night in C1 and have reached C2, now. As per Amical team, "tomorrow, we will try to get to the end of the corridor. If everything goes as per plan, we shall leave for the summit, tomorrow night."

Shishapangma, the lowest of eight-thousanders, is also at times wrongly considered as easiest. The ‘true’ summit of the mountain has been reached less than 320 times. The British route on South Face was pioneered by Doug Scott, Alex MacIntyre and Roger Baxter-Jones in 1982.


Based in Lahore, Pakistan, telecom engineer and mountaineering enthusiast Raheel Adnan is a reporter for Explorersweb's mountaineering sections. He shares regular updates on Twitter and runs his own blog at Altitude Pakistan posting initiated climbing news from Himalaya and Karakoram.



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Members of French team.
Image showing route of ascent with snippets of climbers heading up the mountain. The images were taken by expedition leader at BC during summit bid.
Max arrives at 6650m bivouac during acclimatization.
Shishapangma, the lowest of eight-thousanders, is also at times wrongly considered as easiest one. The 'true' summit of the mountain has been reached less than 320 times.