Asia, Tibet, Himalaya, Rolwaling Himal, Shishapangma, Notes on the Lafaille Ascent and Winter Season

Publication Year: 2005.

Shishapangma, notes on the Lafaille ascent and winter season. When the Nepalese Government established a winter season for the Nepal Himalaya lasting from December 1 to February 15, their rules also stated that while camps could be established above Base during November, they could not be occupied until the start of the following month. Jean Christophe Lafaille began fixing ropes up the first section of the Corredor Girona on November 20. Only 300m of rope were fixed in total and on the following day he climbed to 6,500m and left some equipment before returning to Base.

He started up the face again on the 26th. Once clear of the fixed ropes he began to slant left up the great snow slope that lies between the Girona and British Routes. He camped the night at 6,500m and on the 27th more or less reached the British Route at 7,000m, having crossed the descent line used by Baxter-Jones, MacIntyre, and Scott in 1982, and the route climbed by Krzysztof Wielicki in 1993. Although Lafaille had hoped to install his top camp a little higher, he opted instead to erect his tent in a handily-placed crevasse. The following day he climbed 100m higher to establish a camp at an optimum height of 7,100m, then, with the wind forecasted to rise to 180km/hour at 8,000m, he descended to sit it out until the next break in the weather. All this took place prior to the start of December.

It is interesting to note that the first winter ascent of Dhaulagiri has been consistently credited to the Polish expedition that reached the summit on January 21, 1985. Japanese climbed the mountain on December 13,1982 but their “winter” ascent was discounted as they had arrived at Base Camp in October with a post monsoon permit and did much work on the mountain during November.

Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, CLIMB magazine