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Champ trio for big Alpine Doubleheader - Shisha SF/Everest Supercouloir!
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Feb 25, 2005 10: 43 EST
Previously published Feb 22, 2005 13: 54 EST

One of the coolest expeditions this season has just been confirmed...
German climber Ralf Dujmovits, his wife: Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, and Japanese climber Hirotaka Takeuchi are rejoining forces this spring for some doubleheader action in the Himalayas.

They’ll attempt an alpine style climb which includes Shisha South Face and Everest North Face, Ralf told ExplorersWeb.

Some unfinished business

The trio will start climbing Shisha Pangma’s South Face to complete the route they left undone last year.
“Last year, we had to turn around after we had climbed more than half of the wall, when a rock hit my left leg,” Ralf told ExWeb. ‘We felt really sorry not having climbed the whole face. The Scott-McInyre route is such a nice, direct line that we finally decided to return to it this spring”

Alpine style on Shisha

Climbing in alpine style, without setting ropes or higher camps before the summit bid, they’ll need to acclimatize on surrounding peaks. “Last year, we acclimatized on Xifeng Peak, an unclimbed 7000er close to Shisha Pangma North side. This year, we plan to acclimatize close to Shisha’s South Face, on Ice Tooth and Pungpa Ri. Afterwards, we will go for Shisha Pangma in pure alpine style.”

However, Shisha will only be an appetizer. The main course will come on Everest.

The lonely side of Everest

“After Shisha Pangma, we plan to go to Everest,” says Ralf. “We want to establish our Base Camp on Central Rongbuk Glacier. We are looking forward to attempting Everest North face in alpine style as well. On the lower part of the face - conditions permitting - we will follow the Japanese Couloir, to switch afterwards to the Hornbein Couloir on the upper slopes. The last time this route was repeated was in 1991 by Lars Cronlund from Sweden.”

Although a multinational expedition is expected to complete the new line the Russians opened though the center of the North Face last year, the guys will have the route for themselves. The Russian line is on the left side of the Japanese/Hornbein couloir, also called the Supercouloir.

They will be far from the buzzing crowds of Everest’s main Base Camps. Luckily, they are sending dispatches, so that we’ll be able to follow their progress up the mountain.

The Japanese Couloir/Hornbein Couloir combination route is one of the most difficult and dangerous routes on Everest. Few have attempted it, and fewer succeeded. Only Erhard Loteran and Jean Troillet summited without O2 in 1986. The last attempt took place in 2004, by an American climbing/snowboarding expedition led by Stephen Koch, but they had to retreat without launching a summit bid.

In 2004, Ralf, Gerlinde and Hirotaka summited Annapurna, after a serious attempt on Shisha Pangma South Face. In summer, they planned on climbing both Gasherbrums and K2, but poor weather conditions left them with only enough time to summit GI.

Ace female climber, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner has summited Cho Oyu, Makalu, Manaslu, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna and most recently Gasherbrum I: Six 8,000ers.

Gerlinde is considered one of the top female high altitude climbers and is the 6th women to reach Anna's summit. She has also summited Shisha Pangma Central and Broad Peak.

Ralf Dujmovits is the leader of Amical Alpine and has summited Dhaulagiri, Everest, K2, Cho Oyu twice, Shisha Pangma, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II, Nanga Parbat , Annapurna, and GI. He now has ten 8,000ers.

Japanese climber Hirotaka has summited Makalu, Everest, K2, Nanga Parbat, and in 2004, he summited Annapurna and GI. He summited Everest and K2 back to back in 1996 and, at the age of 25, became the youngest climber to summit the world's two highest mountains. He now has six 8,000ers.

The trio plans on climbing Shisha Pangma’s British route, on the South Face, and Everest North Face through the Japanese/Hornbein couloir, both in alpine style.

Image of Ralf, Gerlinde and Hirotaka back from the summit of GI last year, courtesy of Ralf Dujmovits.

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