Jean-Christophe Lafaille and K2
The Frenchman Jean-Christophe Lafaille speaks to planetMountain before his departure for K2
|He had mentioned it in his interview after his new route on the Drus, and now the moment to depart has arrived. This time Jean-Christophe Lafaille is heading to K2, to explore its tremendously difficult South Face. This arduous project has rebuked many in the past, but lets hear what he has to say about his expedition. |
What do you plan to do on K2?
Jean-Christophe: My project on this very beautiful and difficult mountain is to solo its South Face. This snow and ice climb is characterised by its steepness, and this project is possible only if the snow conditions are excellent. I want to acclimatise on the Abbruzzi Ridge and after that Ill see
What do you know about K2? And what remains unknown?
Jean-Christophe: I dont know anything about K2 because Ive never attempted this magic mountain. Ive seen it only once, in summer 96 when I climbed Gasherbrum I and GII. But Ive read many books and over the last few months I studied many photos.
What climbing style will you choose for the ascent?
Jean-Christophe: The weather is very harsh in Baltoro region. You wait around for a long time for good weather and after a week or 12 days in Base Camp you only get 3/4/5 days where conditions are good enough for climbing. Therefore I want to climb very quickly (after having acclimatised well!), lightweight and alone. I like this climbing style and I think its possible to solo K2s South Face very quickly and lightweight; at least, I hope its possible...
You are an alpinist belonging to the new "multimedia" generation - how does this influence your passion? And how does this affect you as an alpinist?
Jean-Christophe: I don't really know if I belong to the new multimedia generation of alpinists because I'm very bad at computing! I'm a professional climber whos living in this day and age but I'm definitely not very good at using computers!! I like to climb and Im lucky to be able to do what I like most: climbing! This is my life and the media doesn't affect my passion. Ill have more work at Base Camp now because I have to phone and organise emails, but this isnt really a big problem as one has plenty of time to spare in a Himalayan Base Camp! I like being in contact with Europe when Im on a glacier for a long period of time, but when I actually climb all of this doesnt change a thing.
With which alpinists do you compare and confront yourself?
Jean-Christophe : I have a good feeling, and my ethics have been influenced by the ascents and books of Pierre Beghin and Messner. They remain the masters for the new Himalayan generation: small expeditions, no oxygen, not much equipment, only the possibilities of man in front of one biggest mountains: I like this concept and ethic.
Jean-Christophe Lafaile on Pumori with Everest and Lhotse in the background.
Jean-Christophe's 8000m peaks
- Cho-Oyu (8206m) Polish route
- Shishapangma (8046m) solo new route
- Gasherbrum II (8035m) and Gasherbrum I (8068m) - traverse
- Lhotse (8516m) West Face
- Manaslu (8163m) North Face, first solo ascent
Interview with Lafaille after his ascent of the Drus.