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Vanja Furlan, 1966-1996



Vanja Furlan who was bom on May 15, 1966, in Novo Mesto in the Republic of Slovenia. He was a member of the Alpine Club Railwaymen from Ljubljana. His relatively short but very intense alpine career was interrupted August 15 while climbing the Kovinarska Route on the north face of Velika Mojstrovka (2366 m) in the Julian Alps as a training tour on a course for aspirant guides. Vanja was a member and somehow the leader of a new young generation of Slovenian alpinists who made the step from big expeditions to small ones, and to alpine-style and solo climbing in the Himalaya.

Beside hard routes in the Slovenian mountains, Vanja did new Alpine routes on the north face of the Nesthorn and the east face of Monte Rosa, and visited the Canadian Rocky Mountains, New Zealand Alps and the Himalayas six times, all in a very short period of time during which he became one of the first Slovenian professional climbers. His solo of a new Slovenian route on the South Face of Mt. Cook led the same year to success on Siniolchu’s north face with Uros Rupar and then to Langshisa Ri, where he put up solo a new route, For Kango Chu, Two Friends, Van Morrison and a Goat, on the northwest face. All this he accomplished in less than one year. In 1994 he became the Alpinst of the Year in Slovenia. After bad experiences on Annapurna, Ama Dablam’s northwest face and Kumbakarna East’s east face (twice), he made his last important new route with Tomaz Humar on Ama Dablam this year. The best ascent of the 1996 spring season in the Himalaya, the Grade VI 1650-meter route took five days. The game of fate being what it is, he dedicated the route to the memory of Stane Belak, the legendary Slovenian alpinist and mountain guide who lost his life in an avalanche last winter on the same mountain that later claimed Vanja.

Franci Savenc