Alan Hinkes summits Kangchenjunga - Bags his 13th 8000er!|
Jun 2, 2005 09: 18 EST
Sponsoring outfitter Berghaus has just released the news:
“British climber Alan Hinkes reached the top of Kangchenjunga. Accompanying him on his final summit attempt was friend and climbing partner Pasang Gelu.”
“As ever, on reaching the summit, Hinkes took out a photo of his daughter Fiona and his grandson Jay to have his summit photos taken. Hinkes has undertaken this ritual on every one of his successful summit expeditions."
Back in Base Camp at 6000 m, Alan reported:
The hardest climb of my life
"The final summit push was without a doubt the hardest climb of my life. We left base camp on Thursday 26 May and began to push up the mountain. The weather had not been good which meant there was an awful lot of fresh snow to break through. Risk of avalanche was incredibly high and every step of the way was a matter of physical and mental endurance.”
“The snow was so deep that we were unable to make camp three and had to bivvy on the hillside at around 7400m. We tried for a summit attempt on the 29 May but we were beaten back by the weather.”
Alone on the summit in bad conditions
"A second summit attempt saw us leave at about 1am on the 30 May. More snow had fallen but we made good time. My climbing partner Pasang had to stop around 15 minutes short of the summit due to exhaustion. I reached the summit on the 30 May at around 7pm in driving snow and wind. It was the worst summit conditions I can remember. I took the obligatory photo spent around 10 minutes on the summit and then began my descent.”
"It was about 9pm when I caught up with Pasang but with no head torch it was difficult to locate him and I honestly thought he was dead. It was with great elation that I found him and we got back to the bivvy site around 27 hours after setting off on 31 May.”
"The next couple of days saw us descending back to base camp through fresh snow with high risk of avalanche. Getting back to base camp was one of the best feelings of my life. I sat down in my tent and thought I've finally done it!"
13th or 14th?
Hinkes claims Kangchenjunga as his 14th 8000er, which would made him the first Briton to achieve such a goal. However, there is no official confirmation on Alan reaching the actual summit of Cho Oyu. In fact, neither Liz Hawley nor AdventureStats have Alan logged for a Cho Oyu summit (see previous stories).
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 and put an end to the controversy.
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.
File image of Alan Hinkes on the summit of Annapurna, courtesy of Berghaus