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Makalu West Pillar: Camp 3 set in time to escape from the wind
image story

May 6, 2005 11: 57 EST
The Spanish climbers fixed Camp 3 at 7350m on Makalu’s West Pillar today. The climbers have not planted the tents though, as high winds - expected for the next days – could blow them away. The team has been working through the constant snow fall; every night the ropes were buried under up to 50 cm of fresh snow.

After the wind, the wall

The upcoming wind - Forecasts announce gusts of wind up to 65 km/h at 7500 m - will make the work on the route impossible: The next section covers a very exposed spur. However, the wind has a positive side to it: It will sweep away the excess of snow from the wall. By May 13th the climbers hope to resume the climb in improved conditions. They are going to need better weather for the crux of the route: The Seigneur wall, a long difficult section at 7600. Once they fix it, they will set C4 at 7800m.

8485 meters high, Makalu is the fifth highest mountain on Earth. Its name means ‘The Great Black’. It is a four-faced pyramid, with a secondary peak - Chomo Lonzo or Makalu II (25,650 ft/7818 m) - separated from the main summit by a narrow saddle, known as Makalu La.

It was first climbed by a French team led by Jean Franco on May 15, 1955.

Makalu’s West Pillar was first climbed in 1971 by a French team led by Paragot. The West Pillar is a steep, 2000m long buttress that poses serious problems for Himalayan climbers. The climb includes highly rigorous sections, including a vertical wall known as the ‘Seigneur Wall’.

The Al Filo de lo Imposible team members are: Sebastian Alvaro (leader), Antonio Perez/Grueso, Ferrán Latorre, Eloi Callado, Alex Txicon, and Manuel Benito.

The GMAM team members are: Commander Alberto Ayora (leader), Commander Dr. Santiago Villanueva, Captain Fausto Blanco, Lieutenant Fermín Peñarroya, Brigadier Felix Criado, and Officer Francisco Borja.

Image of ropes on Makalu’s West Pillar, courtesy of Al Filo de lo Imposible/RTVE/Spanish Army’s GMAM

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