News like this is front page stuff, even if we have to point out that details are few and far between. Tomasz Humar, the Slovenian who made his mark in Himalayan mountaineering at the end of the last century (just think about his 1999 solo ascent of Dhaulagiri), has now carried out the first solo ascent of the impressive and extremely dangerous south face of Annapurna, reaching the South summit on 28 October. This secondary summit is 8026m high and located to the east of the nearby Main summit which clocks in at 8091m
All the news reports (including those which filtered through the web) are based on one single source: the news which was published on www.asian-trekking.com, the agency used by Humar for the expedition logistics. The report read as follows: "Asian Trekking is very pleased and proud to announce that our great friend and popular mountaineer Mr. Tomaz Humar from Slovenia successfully made a Solo Summit on Mt.Annapurna I, East Summit (8026m) via South Face on 28 Oct 2007. The name of the expedition is "Humar Solo Annapurna I Expedition 2007". The summit news have been conveyed by Tomaz Humar through his satellite phone from the mountain. The above expedition is handled by Asian Trekking (P) Ltd."
Little emerges from this statement and it's clear that the how (style, line of ascent, mountain conditions) and some whys (why for instance did Humar not continue to the Main summit?) remain unanswered. But seeing that what may well turn out to be one of the most important ascents (not only this year, regardless of the Main summit), we feel it is well worth waiting patiently for more information to come through.
38 year old Humar confronted one of the most difficult, impressive and famous mountain faces in the world, and mountaineering history is testaments this. The first ascent was carried out in 1970 by an expedition led by Chris Bonington: Don Whillans, Dougal Haston and Ian Clough summited, but Clough was tragically killed on the descent. In 1978 Alex MacIntyre, René Ghilini and John Porte attempted the first alpine style ascent but this expedition turned into traggedy, too, taking the life of another mountaineering icon on the '70's, Alex MacIntyre. 1992 was the year of Jean-Christophe Lafaille's miraculous survival odyssey, during which he descended alone and injured from 7500m after his companion Pierre Beghin had fallen to his death.
Now, after the 1988 first repeat of the Original British Route at the hands of Soro Dorotei, Benoit Chamoux, Stephen Boyer, Josef Rakoncaj and Nicolos Campredon, a new positive page can be added to the history book of the terrible and difficult Annapurna South Face. The positivity of Humar's smile, which we now wait for to find out all the details of this latest adventure.
Tomasz Humar select ascents
2005 - Cholatse (6.440 m)
2003 - Aconcagua (6.960 m) S Face
2002 - Shishapangma (8.026 m) NW Face
1999 - Dhaulagiri I (8.167 m) N Face
1999 - Dhaulagiri I (8.167 m) S Face
1998 - El Capitan "Reticent wall"
1997 - Pumori (7.165 m) SE Face
1997 - Labouche east (6.119 m) NW Face
1996 - Ama Dablam NE Face
1996 - Bobaye (6.808 m) NW Face
1996 - Nuptse W2 (7.742 m) W Face
1994 - Ganesh V (6.986 m) SE Face
1994 - Annapurna (8.091 m) N Face