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Alan Hinkes Kangchenjunga - 13 or 14?
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May 13, 2005 18: 53 EST
British climber Alan Hinkes is another of the 14, 8000+ summit Golden boys waiting to grab his membership. He hopes it will happen on Kangchenjunga, from where he just called to Berghaus, his sponsors.

The team reports Alan is in good spirits and following several days on the mountain to set up camp 1 he has returned to base camp for a well earned rest before making an attempt further up the mountain to set up camp 2.

He hopes to make a summit attempt from there, however conditions on the mountain are treacherous with a Swiss expedition already having two of its mountaineers helicoptered out with injuries, wrote his home team to ExWeb today.

No mountain is worth a life

And here's their latest from Alan: "I am hoping there won’t be a need for a third camp but with conditions already threatening the lives of those around me I need to make a sound judgement call when the time comes. As I have always stated no mountain is worth a life but with this being my final 8000er and having been to Kangchenjunga and failed twice already I have my sights set firm.”

The Berghaus crew ends the update: "Alan is again climbing with his good friend Pasang with whom he summited his 13th 8000er, Dhaulagiri, in Spring last year. If successful he will be the first Briton to have climbed all of the world’s 8000m peaks and only the 12th person in the world to have stood where so many can only dream of standing."

Controversy

Well, not so fast: Ed Viesturs grabbed the 12th position just yesterday, but even at number 13 - Alan might have one peak to revisit before he gets the golden key to the house of the elite. There is a controversy about his Cho Oyu climb. In fact, neither Liz Hawley nor AdventureStats have Alan logged for a Cho Oyu summit.

The reason is that there is a good chance Alan didn't make the highest point on the mountain. The climbing party consisted of the late French climbers Royer and Chamoux, two other French climbers (Valet, Detry), Czech Rakoncaj and Hinkes. The climbers came into bad clouds and fog at the edge of the vast Cho Oyu plateau. Detry and Valet said that they were only on the edge and then returned because of the heavy weather.

No proof

Alan himself said later that he continued alone for one hour into the fog to find the true summit. He said that he "has no proof to have not been to the summit" and so he counts it a done deal. The statistician's didn't buy it, and Alan was deleted on all of the Cho Oyu lists.

Climbers whose summits are questioned often come back for a second climb to remove all doubts. One of the "easiest" of the 8000ers, Alan might well come back for a proper Cho Oyu summit - if he strikes luck on Kang this spring.

Alan Hinkes summited Shisha Pangma Main in 1987, Manaslu in 1989, Broad Peak in 1991, K2 in 1995, Everest, Gasherbrum I and II in 1996, Lhotse in 1997, Nanga Parbat in 1998, Makalu in 1999, Annapurna in 2002 and Dhaulagiri in 2004.

Image courtesy of Berghaus

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