Dhaulagiri I and Annapurna I, Solo Ascents. For two months, I made a trip into loneliness as I lived in deep contact with the mountains with no other communication than with my small team (sirdar, cook) in Base Camp. It was a trip with adrenaline. It’s always a tough job to climb these giants in alpine style with no Sherpas and without altitude camps, going from Base Camp to summit within a day.
On April 5, we reached Dhaulagiri Base Camp. After three missed attempts due to conditions and weather, I started climbing on May 3 at 5 p.m. and walked throughout the night. At dawn I reached 7300 meters. At 12 p.m., I was on the summit. I had climbed from Base Camp to summit in 19 hours and returned in six. On the top, there was a dead man, Albrecht Ammamm, left up there since last year’s expedition of Norbert Joos. There was not a soul on the mountain as the Koreans had left.
It was a seven days’ walk to Annapurna’s Base Camp. On Annapurna, there was no one; I was all alone in Base Camp and on the mountain. My first idea was the west face, but it was really out of the question as it was covered with pure ice.
On May 14, a new departure: I went via the Spanish route on the north face. For one and a half hours, I walked under enormous ice towers. What a fright! It snowed slightly during the whole night, and I walked with difficulty; the snow reached my knees. From time to time, I toddled, going around ice cracks, in the mist. At dawn, I reached 7200 meters. Afterward there was less snow and at 11 a.m. I reached the summit in the midst of a storm. It was the end of the world: 22 hours to reach the top. At 6 p.m. I was back on the great plateau. I was really alone on the mountain. It was a great happiness to have succeeded, with a stay of only five days in Base Camp.
In the autumn I wanted to climb Makalu, but a paragliding crash squashed my vertebrae and left me with broken ribs, a broken ankle, and an open skull. After a week’s rest in Base Camp, I climbed up to 7000 meters and abandoned the attempt. It was a very hard walk back to Kathmandu.
André Georges, Switzerland