Veteran French climber seeks new Everest route and file

A 70-year-old French climber is aiming to grow to be the oldest particular person to climb Mount Everest with out supplemental oxygen and on the similar time discover a new, safer route. Marc Batard needs to discover a brand new means across the deadly Khumbu Icefall that every one climbers should cross to succeed in the world’s highest peak from the Nepal facet. The treacherous, ever-shifting expanse of glacial ice that requires climbers to navigate crevasses over rickety ladders has claimed greater than 40 lives.

In 2014, an enormous block of ice broke off a dangling glacier and barreled down into the icefall, killing 16 Nepali guides in one of many worst tragedies at Everest. “Too many individuals have died there,” Batard informed AFP in Kathmandu earlier than setting off. “This venture just isn’t just for me. I’m very comfortable to climb Everest once more. However I need to use my popularity to do some good issues… This new route just isn’t simple however it’s safer,” he mentioned.

Batard was 18 when he found mountaineering, climbing the Pyrenees that straddle the border of France and Spain, and started working as a mountain information. He first entered the file books in 1988 when he grew to become the one particular person to succeed in the summit of the world’s highest mountain with out bottled oxygen in beneath 24 hours. His solo 22.5-hour climb earned him the nickname “Sprinter”. Batard additionally made headlines within the Nineteen Eighties for pace climbing a number of 8,000-metre mountains.

French mountaineer Marc Batard prepares his tools earlier than an interview with AFP in Kathmandu.

Lately again from retirement, Batard now hopes to succeed in the 8,848.86-metre (29,031 ft) summit of Everest for a 3rd time. He’ll camp in Gorakshep at 5,150 meters, away from tons of of Everest climbers within the traditional tent metropolis at base camp.

The brand new route crosses the foothills of adjoining Nuptse to an unnamed peak, and Batard alongside along with his staff should climb down in the event that they need to be part of the common route on the Western Cwm. “We’ve already set part of the route… Batard is a robust and skilled climber, so we hope we will be profitable,” mentioned teammate Pasang Nuru Sherpa, 47, who has summited Everest 14 instances. Batard and Sherpa, 47, will each be joined by their sons-aged 26 and 42 — on the expedition. If profitable, Batard will break the file set by Italian climber Abele Blanc, who reached the Everest summit in 2010 aged 55 with out oxygen assist.

The oldest particular person to climb Everest with oxygen assist was Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura. He was 80 when he scaled the height in 2013. With the coronavirus pandemic winding down, expedition operators in Nepal are hopeful of a greater climbing season this yr. Kathmandu solely reopened Everest final yr after the virus shut down the mountaineering trade in 2020. The Tibetan a part of Everest continues to be closed to foreigners, presumably including extra climbers to the Nepal facet. Nepal has to this point this season issued 135 climbing permits for numerous Himalayan mountains, together with seven for Everest. – AFP



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