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Lafaille after Pèlerinage, Annapurna


Jean-Christophe Lafaille makes the first winter solo ascent of Pèlerinagein preparation for his eigthth 8000m peak, Annapurna, Himalaya

Jean Christophe Lafaille continues his high-level mountaineering at 360°. After last year’s ascent of K2 via the Cesen route and his new line on the Drus, the French guide has recently made the first solo winter ascent of Pélerinage on the North Face of Peigne. This route – first climbed in 1992 by Beaudoin and Parkin - is graded VI, 6 and was climbed in just 5 hours by Lafaille, who had attempted the line twice before but turned back due to poor conditions.

We caught up with Lafaille on the verge of his departure for Annapurna, his eighth 8000m peak. This is what he had to say about Pélerinage and his Himalayan project

Jean Christophe Рspeak to us about P̬lerinage?

Pélerinage is a very beautiful mixed route that doesn’t come into condition very often. What is good about this route is that there isn’t much in-situ gear along the route and on the belays. Protecting yourself isn’t easy and the route is wilder than the nearby “Rebuffat-Terray” or “Beyond the devil.”

This autumn and at the start of winter the ice conditions on the Pelerins and
Peigne north faces were very good. But I was very happy to climb this route in bad conditions (poor ice and a very hard first aid pitch) as it was good training, both technically and mentally.

Why this route?

I chose Peerinage because I wanted to climb some mixed routes in the Mont Blanc massif to prepare myself for the Annapurna project this spring. I first climbed the “Rebuffat-Terray” and “Beyond the devil”, and now Pèlerinage. It was good training and at the same time I tested some equipment for this type of mixed climbing and Himalayan ascents...

Now you’re off for Annapurna.

My plans are to climb with Ed Viesturs and Veikka Gustaffson along the East Ridge. It’ll be an extremely interesting experience to climb with two very strong mountaineers. The East Ridge is a very long traverse at altitude. Erhard Lorethan, who made the first ascent of this ridge, told me that it's very long and beautiful ridge – 7.5 km above 7000m, with three 8000m peaks in middle! If that isn’t motivation enough!
Then you know, Annapurna is long story for me: this spring it'll be the fourth time I attempt this peak...

All the best Jean Christophe!

Annapurna and the East Ridge(photo Loris Marin)

Drus West Face (2001)

Lafaille & Kammerlander summit K2 (2001)

Lafaille (taken from his
interview before his K2 del 08/066/01)

"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."

Official Annapurna 2002 site





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