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Annapurna North - SUMMIT PUSH tonight!
image story

May 9, 2005 10: 09 EST
Idel just shot over the latest from Annapurna North:

"Yesterday morning 3 Italian climbers, Viesturs and his friend left BC for CII. Gnaro and Daniele Bernasconi decided to spend another day in BC and leave at midnight.

The climb up was very hard work in more than a half meter of fresh snow. At midday all 7 climbers reached CIII at 7.100 meters and found their tent buried by the snow.

The weather was good until they reached the ridge. After that a wind storm started, and was still raging at 6 p.m. this evening.

The climbers now wait for 3 a.m. to start their summit push - weather permitting as usual. Let's all cross our fingers for them."

The weather forecast

The AdventureWeather forecast 20-30 m/s winds for Annapurna summit with the jet sitting right above the mountain, but relatively dry above 7000 meters. Winds should start decreasing Wednesday.

Silvio Mondinelli is currently climbing Annapurna through the French route on the North side, along with his regular climbing mate, Mario Merelli, and also Mario Panzeri, Daniele Bernasconi, and, on his first Himalayan experience, Silvio's friend Christian Gobbi.

Year after year, climbers return to Annapurna despite its reputation as a difficult, dangerous mountain (a reputation earned in large part due to the high risk of avalanche.) Annapurna (8,091 m) is statistically the most dangerous peak of all the eight thousanders. The overall summit fatality rate is 40% (although not all climbers summit, of course).

Annapurna was the very first 8,000m peak ever summited. In 1950, French climbers Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal used only a rough map as a guide, and picked their way up an untried route to the summit. Their descent turned into a hellish nightmare, leaving them near death, with their extremities completely deadened by frostbite. Herzog and Lachenal survived their ordeal, but too many others have lost their lives over the years.

On Christmas Day 1997, Anatoli Boukreev was killed in an avalanche, an event that shocked the mountaineering community. In total, only 135 climbers have summited Annapurna - last year Ralf Dujmovits, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Denis Urubko summited the mountain from the North side.

Image courtesy of Silvio Mondinelli.

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