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Simone's first update: Unexpected company!
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Dec 6, 2004 12: 31 EST
This winter's big happening is kicking off with Simone's first dispatch. The guys are pre-acclimatizing before the actual Shisha climb - end December. There seems to be a ghost climber on Shisha, but Simone & co are waiting for the Calendar winter to begin:

"Ciao!!

Today is the beginning of the long series of daily reports from my expedition.

After 2 days preparing all the gear in Kathmandu we started our acclimatization in the Khumbu valley. We will spend 2 weeks here climbing Khala Pattar (5550 m) and Island Peak (nearly 6200 m).

When we arrived in Nepal we heard about one climber attempting Shisha alone right now. Nobody knows who he is and he ordered people he met not to say anything about him... we got information that he could be French but it's no confirmed news. In any case, winter begins on December 21 and we will start our expedition to Shisha only after that date.

We are currently in Namche Bazaar and will spend 2 days here trekking tomorrow to Thame and back. The weather is wonderful and the entire team feels good. We hope everything will continue like that...
Simone & C.

Up until now only 7 out of all 14 eight-thousanders have been winter climbed, all located, partially at least, in Nepal. All first winter accents were made by Polish climbers, from Everest in 1980 to Lhotse in 1988 - the last time someone set foot on a virgin summit higher than 8000m during the winter.

Now, the Poles are back - with an Italian! Simone Moro, Piotr Morawski, Jacek Jawien, Dariusz Zaluski and Jan Szulc will repeat their winter attempt of last year.

Simone Moro, 37, is the driving force behind this current expedition. He has earlier summited Mount Everest, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu and Lhotse. In the summer of 2003, he climbed on Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak and K2 with Denis and an all/star team. He opened a new partial route on the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat, though he did not reach the summit.

This past summer, Simone and Denis, along with Camos, reached the Kali Himal (Black Summit) of Baruntse, also known as the North Summit at 7014m via a new route up the North Face. After this acclimatization climb, they moved to Annapurna’s North Face. Simone had to turn back for health reasons, but Denis made the summit.

In 1996, Simone reached the N. Summit of Shisha Pangma. He is now attempting to make the first successful winter ascent of the peak, climbing via the South Face. Piotr Morawski, one of Simone’s partners, took part in the 2003 K2 winter expedition, led by Polish Krzysztof Wielicki.

Live image of a local peak and Simone in Namche, courtesy Simone Moro.
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