On February 14th, 2014,Majestic convention hall, 19.30 pm
Up until last fall, Annapurna I’s legendary, spectacular south face (2,400 metres) had seen just one alpine-style ascent. In 1984, the Catalan climbers Nils Bohigas and Enric Lucas established a route leading to the 8,051 metre central summit. Even today, their accomplishment remains one of the greatest Himalayan climbing achievements of all times.
In October 2013, three more climbers made successful alpine-style ascents of the south face of Annapurna I (8,091 m).
The Swiss climber Ueli Steck made a 28 hour round trip solo ascent of the face, while the two French guides Stéphane Benoist and Yannick Graziani experienced a 10-day odyssey on the same mountain.
Ueli’s ascent is historic and revolutionary. It’s hard to find the right words to qualify his accomplishment. This is the first time that such a tall, difficult face on an 8,000-metre summit has been climbed so quickly by a solo alpinist.
The epic adventure experienced by Stéphane and Yannick is just as remarkable, but tells a different story: that of a climbing partnership, of two friends who joined forces to accomplish their dream… and make it home alive!
Climbing the South face of Annapurna has left a deep mark on all of these mountaineers: one physically, all mentally.
In order to support Stéphane, who suffered severe frostbite requiring amputation, his friends have created the association Retour à la Montagne (‘Return to the Mountains’).
On February 14th, 2014, , in partnership with the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix, Retour à la Montagne invites you to the Majestic convention hall in Chamonix to celebrate these ascents and meet some of the alpinists who have marked the history of this face: Ueli Steck, Yannick Graziani, Stéphane Benoist and René Ghilini… And there are plenty of other surprises in store for you as well!
All profits from the event will go to the association Retour à la Montagne.
Translation of the presentation will be provided by a French-English interpreter.
A few facts and figures: the 10th highest summit in the world, Annapurna was the first out of the fourteen 8,000-metre peaks, to see an ascent, on June 3rd, 1950. The first ascent was made by the French alpinists Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, who both returned home with severe frostbite.
To compare with Everest, during the year 2012 alone, more than 400 climbers made it to the summit, most of them using bottled oxygen, fixed ropes, and camps set up by high altitude porters. In the case of Annapurna, between 1950 and 2013 more than 200 climbers summited the peak, and only five made successful alpine-style ascents of the south face.
Himalayan ‘siege’ style ascents involve a large team of climbers, a significant and advanced preparation of the terrain using fixed ropes, pre-established camps, high altitude porters, and often bottled oxygen.
Alpine-style ascents are the opposite of all this. The team of climbers is self-sufficient. There is no advanced preparation of the terrain, nor any fixed ropes, pre-established camps, high-altitude porters, nor use of bottled oxygen.