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    Makalu: Heading Up

    Gen4_ambass_house As promised, Steve House called again just before leaving base camp for the West Face. This is an interesting call because the revised weather forecast isn't as good as the team expected. Download or click the link to hear Steve explain.

    Listen to Makalu Update 7 (mp3 – 2:18 - right-click to download)

    Good luck guys. Stay warm up there.

    Previous posts from this story: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

    Makalu: You Gotta Believe

    Makalupostcard_2_2 With a little over a week left at base camp, everyone on the team is feeling healthy and optimistic about attempting their main objective. Weather is still an issue but the team's meteorologist, Jim Woodmencey at mountainweather.com, says a window is coming soon.

    In today's sat-phone report, an excited Steve House talks about the weather forecast, previous attempts on Makalu's West Face, and some of the philosophical reasons for attempting a climb of this magnitude – Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world.

    Listen to Makalu Update 6 (mp3 – 10:16 - right-click to download)

    The Cleanest Line would like to echo Steve's sentiments and send a big hello out to all of the Slovenian listeners. Thanks for tuning in. If you're new to this story, check out the previous posts to get caught up: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

    [Makalu's perfect pyramid. Nepal. Photo: Marko Prezelj]

    Makalu: Holding Pattern

    Gen4_ambass_house Steve House called again today from Nepal and he's sounding a lot better. You'll hear more about Vince and Marko's new route on Makalu 2 and what the team's chances are for completing their main objective: the west face of Makalu.

    Listen to Makalu Update 5 (mp3 – 4:39 - right-click to download)

    If you're just tuning in, check out the previous posts from this trip: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

    [Photo: Tim Davis]

    Makalu: Happy Birthday Marko

    Makalupostcard_2_2 Two Makalu trip updates for you today, one from Steve and one from Vince. First up is Steve House calling in from the sat phone. He might not sound so hot but his illness is getting better:

    Listen to Makalu Update 4 (mp3 – 5:35 - right-click to download)

    And here's the email Vince Anderson sent yesterday:

    10/13/08 - Happy Birthday Marko!

    We are resting again today and probably tomorrow. Acclimatization is going well. Yesterday, after spending a night at Camp 2 on the normal route (22,000 ft.), we ascended to Makalu La (24,000 ft.). Steve's cough bothered him enough that he stopped 100 meters shy of the pass. We certainly needed not go all the way to the pass, but it was alluring to go up there and take a look at the other side of the mountain and Tibet. It took us just over 4 hours to ascend the 2,000 ft. to the pass. I felt pretty good up there but kept it in a low gear all the way there.

    The views up high were fantastic! Just behind us lay Everest and Lhotse just 12 miles distant. Further off, we could see many other peaks in the Khumbu region and beyond like AMA Dablam and Shishapangma. We've also been blessed with generally very good weather, mostly sunny days and little wind.

    While at camp 2, we were able to test out some of our camping options: tent, sleeping bags, stoves, etc. Will continue to test these on our next trip up there in a few days.

    Regards,
    Vince

    If you're just tuning in, check out the previous posts from this trip: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

    [Photo: Marko Prezelj. Happy Birthday Marko from everyone at Patagonia and The Cleanest Line.]

    Makalu: Is that Red Light Supposed to be On?

    Gen4_ambass_house What do you do when the helicopter you booked is suddenly grounded with engine failure? You repack everything, get as close to the mountain as possible and haul ass on foot.

    In today's sat phone update from Nepal, Steve House describes how the Makalu trip almost ended in disaster, and he shares some tips on how to be successful at this game called expedition climbing.

    Listen to Makalu Update 3 (mp3 – 7:27 - right-click to download)

    Previous posts from the series:

    A Day at the Desk
    Update One
    Trekking, Snakes and Snow Monkeys

    [With thanks to Alex for the tech assistance. Photo: Tim Davis.]

    Makalu: Trekking, Snakes & Snow Monkeys

    Gen4_ambass_house Steve House called last night to give us another update from Nepal. The team has been trekking at altitude for a few days now to help with the acclimatization process.

    Listen to Makalu Update 2 (mp3 - 6:43 - right-click to download) 

    As Steve mentioned in his first call, two friends from Oregon, Ian and Mark, are also on board. They will be climbing the regular route on Makalu while Steve, Vince and Marko will attempt the West face. Next up, the group will head back to Kathmandu for some logistics and then fly to base camp.

    Previous posts from the series:

    A Day at the Desk
    Update One

    [Steve House. Photo: Tim Davis]

    Makalu: Update One from Steve House

    Makalupostcard_2 To Steve's credit, this call came in Thursday morning. Due to some technical difficulties we're bringing it to you a little late. Our thanks go out to Steve for taking the time to make these calls. Here's the first installment:

    Listen to Makalu Update 1 (mp3 - 2:36 - right-click to download)

    For those who missed "A Day at the Desk," Steve House and fellow Patagonia ambassadors Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj, are currently in Nepal where they will be attempting to climb the West Face of Makalu. Whenever possible, Steve will be calling in with his sat phone to share stories from the climb.

    Steve reported last year from base camp in Pakistan where the same trio successfully made the first ascent of K7 West. You can catch up on the podcasts and then watch a video of the climb in the Tin Shed.

    [Located 14 miles east of Mt. Everest, Makalu is the fifth highest peak in the world (27,762 ft). Photo: Marko Prezelj.]

    A Day at the Desk

    Makalupostcard_2 Editor's note: Today we have the first entry in another series of posts chronicling a major climb by Steve House. Steve, along with fellow Patagonia ambassadors Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj, will be attempting the unclimbed West Face of Makalu come September. They received grant funding from the Mugs Stump Award, American Alpine Club and Slovene Alpine Club. Previously, a Russian team climbed the right edge of the wall using fixed ropes. Their line veered off the face at half-height to join the west ridge. Sadly two of the nine climbers died on the final ascent and descent.

    [Located 14 miles east of Mt. Everest, on the border between Nepal and China, Makalu is the fifth highest peak in the world (27,762 ft). Photo: Marko Prezelj]

    Similar to his first post from the K6 & K7 West trip, Steve talks here about training for Makalu:

    “How’s your workout going?” asks the smiling balding guy whose cut-sleeve T-shirt reveals thick, hunched shoulders and arms sprouting grapefruit-sized biceps. I’m in the Redmond Athletic Club, a converted warehouse that is central Oregon’s heartland for metal heads. I’m not talking about Metallica fans. I mean weight lifters. At 4 pm I’m the smallest person in the gym. Even the women look like they are capable of palming my tiny hiney and pressing me above their heads with one arm.

    Continue reading "A Day at the Desk" »

    Photos from the North Face of Mount Alberta

    In March I went up to the Canadian Rockies, one of my favorite mountain ranges, and spent a few weeks doing some winter climbing. What was most exciting about this season was that there was so much climbing activity. Lots of locals doing lots of cool new routes and new variations. But what was missing from the season was a big ascent of one of the big alpine prizes.

    Vince Anderson and I managed to pull off one such prize by making the first ascent of the North Face of Mount Alberta in full winter conditions. (We were outside of calendar winter by less than 10 days.) And we did it by a new route, following features that made sense from the perspective of a winter climb, such as daggers of ice and crack systems that are too small to climb as finger-cracks in summer, but work perfectly as dry-tooling cracks. The route went entirely free and had lots of difficult climbing in the M7 range and one run-out and difficult pitch in the M8 range.

    Here are some photos of that adventure. As it warms up, remember the cold and icy parts of the world!

    Canada20081030969_3

    Vince skiing in to Mt. Alberta from the Banff-Jasper Highway. On the first day we had to cache our packs in a snow hole, return to the highway, and sleep at my truck due to difficult trail-breaking. The second day we made it from the highway to the hut in six hours. Photo: Steve House

    Continue reading "Photos from the North Face of Mount Alberta" »

    Paradise Found: Pakistan's Charakusa Valley

    Kc_arrive_k7_968__2

    Our friend Kelly Cordes, who tests gear and writes copy for us, went
    climbing in the Charakusa Valley of Pakistan last summer and sent us
    some photos to share. Though Kelly and his climbing partner, Scott
    DeCapio, were unsuccessful on their attempt at a new line on K7, they
    returned with some spectacular images -- enjoy!

    [Photo: Arrival into base camp in Pakistan’s Charakusa Valley, late August, 2007, with K7 in the background. All photos © Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "Paradise Found: Pakistan's Charakusa Valley" »

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