Makalu II, new route for Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj
Vincent Anderson and Marko Prezelj have carried out the first ascent of the unclimbed West Face of Makalu II (7678 m)
On Friday 17 October Vincent Anderson from America and Marko Prezelj from Slovenia climbed Kangchungtse (7678m), otherwise known as Makalu 2, via a new route up the unclimbed West Face. The duo are in the region with Steve House, who remained in Camp 2 due to his high altitude cough, in view of the expeditions prime objective: the ascent of the unclimbed West Face of Makalu (8462m).
After having climbed up to Makalua La, Vince and Marko departed on 16 October for their second acclimatisation round, reaching Camp 2 at 6700m. They continued at 7.00am the next morning in good weather but with strong winds and intense cold, simul climbing until the steeper mixed terrain forced them to lead through. Above 700m they began to feel the first effects of the route and the altitude, and night fell before they reached the summit.
Vincent recounts on thecleanestline.com: "Darkness descended and with it, cold. We were still going up. Long out of water and unable to eat any more food without it, we were exhausted from the long day out in the cold, the hard climbing and the high altitude. We were now at 7,600 m. (ca. 25,000 ft.) and in the dark. The cold crept in. I paid out the last of the rope, disassembled the anchor and started climbing again. After a seemingly endless progression of four breaths for every single step, the rope led me up over the highest point then down a short ways to a small flat where Marko was belaying. We said nothing, exchanged bear hugs and, without any photos or celebration, started down."
During the descent Vince had blurred vision in his left eye, probably due to dehydration, and followed Markos' footsteps down to Camp 2 which they reached at 23.00 where Steve was waiting with hot drinks and soup. All three descended to Base Camp the next day and their sights are now set on an even bigger objective, the difficult and enormous West Face of Makalu.