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Dispatches : Climbing

Expedition Watch: Speed Climbing and Skiing Cho Oyu

DYNAFIT_X4_day2_2
Benedikt Böhm leads the charge. Photo: Dynafit

One of the next big high-altitude speed feats will take place on Cho Oyu. In late September, German mountaineers Benedikt Böhm, 34, and Sebastian Haag, 33, will attempt to climb and then ski down the 26,864-foot peak in less than one day. Ski mountaineer Greg Hill will accompany the pair to get video footage of their ascent and descent. The 8,000-meter mission is nothing new for Böhm and Haag, who have completed speed climbs and ski descents of Gasherbrum II (26,361 feet) and Mustagh Ata (22,966 feet), and have completed speed climbs of Manaslu (26,247 feet) and Broad Peak (26,414 feet). We contacted Böhm by email to learn more about their mission up and down Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world.

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Weathering a Storm on K2

800px-K2_2006bK2. Photo: Kevin Mayea/Wikimedia Commons

Roughly a week after Explorers Web reported that 28 people reached the summit of K2 in a single day, at least one expedition found themselves trapped in a storm on the side of the mountain. Climber Al Hancock has filed a dispatch on his blog about the episode. It involves dividing up his team so that an inexperienced porter could be led back to Base Camp, surviving an avalanche, weathering a storm for five days, and then losing a tent in high winds.

Hancock runs through the ordeal in great detail, including a trip to the bathroom that could have ended in the worst way.

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Boulder Climbers Missing in Peru

Gil Weiss free-soloing Blitzen Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park.

"Ugh, not 2 more," wrote one commenter on SuperTopo yesterday in response to news that two climbers from Boulder had gone missing during an ascent of a peak in northern Peru. Gil Weiss, 29, and Ben Horne, 32, were attempting the west summit of Palcaraju (20,046 feet), a rarely-climbed mountain in the Cordillera Blanca. When they still hadn't turned up five days after their prearranged return date, two teams, including one from Peru's alpine rescue group, set out to search for them. On Thursday, searchers discovered the partners' tent, along with tracks descending from the summit, and, most disconcertingly, signs of an avalanche.

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Will Stanhope's Soulful Free Solo

"You might even live if you fell off of it," says Squamish pioneer Perry Beckham. But that doesn't make this gorgeously-edited film of 25-year-old Canadian climber Will Stanhope free-soloing British Columbia's Zombie Roof (5.12d) any less gripping to watch. While the tone of the video is more soulful than scary, it's still got a few nerve-wracking moments (check out Stanhope hanging by one arm at 7:15).

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Outdoor Retailer Sneak Peek: New Helmet, Ropes, Cams for Climbers

Climbers have a lot to look forward to in spring 2013. Check out the gear you’ll be taking to the crag or cliff next year in this, our first preview post leading up to the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City.

620215_vapor_frrd

Gram-counting purists will be elated by Black Diamond’s new ultralight, ultrabreathable, and ultra low profile Vapor helmet. It uses Kevlar and carbon sandwiched between foam and a polycarbonate shell to keep the helmet’s weight low without sacrificing protection.

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