Same mountain, Shisha Pangma, the only completely Tibetan 8000er. The same great wall, the south face. Same season, winter. Same objective, same team. On 29 November Simone Moro, Jan Szulc, Dariusz Zaluski Jacek Jawien and Piotr Morawski will once again attempt the first winter ascent of Shisha Pangma 8027m. In late January this year the team had been forced to abandon its attempt, just when it looked as if they would successfully reach the sumit.
In January 2004 Simone Moro and Piotr Morawski managed to climb theCorredor-Girona to the crest, but then turned back. Moro recounts the happenings as follows: "-52° and the time (15:30) left us little time for survival after the 90minutes of light we still had availible. We would definitley have reached the summit, but the mountain's history would no doubt have become connected with the end of ours. A forced bivy would have been devastating on our already cold bodies, fightingagainst the wind on the summit crest. We sportily accepted our defeat, even though it was mitigated by the first winter ascent of the south face..."
The expedition has not yet chosen the route to climb the 2500m high difficult south face. "We'll decide when we get there, it all depends on the conditions and the amount of snow" Moro told us. "The Spanish route we climbed last year follows a gully in the lower section which can become very dangerous with heavy snowfalls." Seven routes climb the S Face (the 8th, on the extreme right, was climbed during a descent). All are extremely difficult, starting with the first route climbed by the English Scott, McIntyre, Baxter-Jones and Prescott, and finishing with the line climbed by the Spaniards Callido and Fernandez in 2000 which reaches the Western summit at 7968m. The team intends to acclimatise and then start the ascent proper after 21 December. Their chosen style of ascent? As usual "no oxygen, no high altitude porters." And, once again, they will be the only team operating on the mountain.
One Italian and 5 Poles with a great dream. Seeing that seven of the great Himalayan giants still have to be climbed in winter, this dream is by no means easy. K2, Makalu, Nanga Parbats Gasherbrum I and II, Broad Peak and, obvioulsy, Shisha Pangma all still await their first winter ascent. Add to this the fact that the first successful winter ascent was carried out in 1980 by Wielicki and Cichy (Everest) and the last dates way back to 1988 (Lhotse at the hands of Krzysztof Wielicki once again) then it soon becomes clear that this objective is by no means a walkover. And surely it is not by chance that all winter ascents (those after 21 Dedcember) were carried out by Polish mountaineers... However things may be and turn out, one thing is certain: "The team is really united."
All the phases of the expedition will be updated live on Simone Moro's website: www.simonemoro.it