/ female ascent of all the alpine 4000ers
Does anyone know if all the alpine 4000ers have been done by a female? i was thinking about trying it this summer but not as a single traverse - would be using a car - and hopefuly do it in 40-60 days or so. (the list of 82.)
Would this be a 'newsworthy' event? (in terms of being able to get a little bit of funding or gear support - need a warm sleeping bag and bivvy bag!) i know it has been done a few times, and that driving between makes it less spectacular, but i wondered if it might be more notable since we would be a male-female pair, and both quite young (20 and 23).
To be honest I dpoubt that a male/female partnership would be newsworthy. An all female team might attract a bit of interest from the press, whereas if you did it solo then you might get interest.
Good luck anyway!
I believe Kate Ross completed all the 4000m in August 2009. I am not sure which list she was using. Barbara Swindin completed "All But One", (the title of her book published Nov. 2012,) 22 years ago. She used the Collomb list of 52.
" With today's climb to Lauteraarhorn, Daniela Formica, current President of Club 4000, has reached all the 82 4000's of the Alps. According to our knowledge, Daniela is the first italian woman to have gained this enviable record. Before her, only two other women could succeed in this exploit, Jocelyne Gay and Margareth Voide Bumann, both Swiss."
I think you mean in one summer, from your first post, no? I doubt any woman has achieved that - that's not supposed to sound as sexist as it does, by the way! There is also the 61 list, the Blodigs, which can be found in this book, The High Mountains of the Alps: http://www.bmcshop.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=5424 - despite this link saying it contains 58! Goedeke's book http://books.google.fr/books/about/Alpine_4000m_Peaks.html?id=OECqcPwQ6-gC&redir_esc=y - also has 61, though with one different summit.
There are a few stoppers, of which the Aiguille Blanche is probably the most notorious.
It would be a significant achievement for any team and would make a terrific blog as you go project handy for selling to sponcers. A all female team would be a whole lot more newsworthy.
Doing the hardest last would I believe depend on the state of the glaciers s side MB glaciers in Sept. But by that point of course the aiguille noire before the blanche won't be too big a deal!
Martin moran book about his continual traverse should be useful.
Have a blast
Only a "constructive" warning. Doing all the 82 official 4000's in 40 to 60 days requires not "just" a big technical, physical and logistical effort, but most of all, a massive amount of luck with conditions, which may happen or not depending on the season and the year. This is valid mostly for the 4000 on the Italian side of MB, and to some extent with the Aiguille Verte. The "Big Three" (the Brouillard 4000's, the Aiguille Blanche and the Rochefort-Jorasses sequence) may become impossible if the conditions are too dry, or too snowy, the Blanche in particular having a very narrow window in this respect.
Do you have this level of deep experience needed for this sort of undertaking and can you improvise the required fall-back positions if something goes wrong?
Margareth Voide Bumann was the first ever woman to complete all 82 peaks, and she only climbed her last one about 4 years or so ago. So this achievement by a woman is fairly recent, hence the fact that apparently only three have achieved all 82 to date. Clearly there's scope for a first by a British woman here, so I agree about the possibilities re. sponsorship etc.
As others have said, to do them all in one season would be an incredible achievement, irrespective of whether by a male or a female.
I get the impression that you view some of the above comments as negative but I wouldn't do this; all the comments are constructive and the questions being asked of you are ones you really do need to consider and find answers for. Needless to say both members of the team would need to be extremely fit and have loads of stamina (physical and mental) - as you'd be >4000m for long lengths of time on many of the peaks/ traverses. Both would need to be technically proficient and have enough experience to identify and seek ways to overcome issues before they become problems. While I believe that to try and fail is better than to not try at all, you still need to be in a position of great strength to even begin to try this at all.
As Jon has said, there are some real stoppers in the list - to which (from bitter experience) I'd add the Aiguilles du Diable traverse. I believe that it had been Margareth Voide Bumann's nemesis too and was, as I understand, the final peak of the 82 for her due to previous unsuccessful attempts when she'd been thwarted by too much snow and poor conditions. Moreover, as has already been said, not only would you need good weather/ conditions to complete some of these difficult 'stoppers', you'd also need a lot of luck with the weather generally over the whole season. You could produce a logical hit-list of groups of summits, but bad weather could make a mockery of all your planning and you could then end up in the invidious position of chasing your tail from one part of the alps to the other, trying to find a weather windows for that last remaining elusive summit in a particular group.
As you well realise, you've not chosen an easy challenge, but the best of luck if you decide to go for it. I, for one, would be glued to your blog if you did.
I think Kate Ross, who is British, has completed one of the 'lists', finishing on the Taschorn in 2009. She is quite modest.
Even with a car, completing in one season would be impressive (and you'll have freed yourself of the need to complete the 4000's and able to chase other things). (I have friends who have spent inordinate amounts of time visiting the Eccles 'Hut'...)
Well to be constructive you could set about things in an orderly way and see how many you can do. You can start with the easy ones around Sass Fee Weissmies, Lagginhorn Alphubel Rimpfischhorn which will get you fit. Then if you want to start building the numbers go to La Palud and up to the Torino where you could go for the Traverse of the Jorasses with n/s at the Canzio and not forgetting the Dent de Geant en route. If you feel exhausted you can probably reverse back from the Canzio and certainly from the Geant. Then after descending to the Gervassuti hut having done the rest, hopefully without a bivvy, you can make your way back to the car and down to Cogne and have an easy day doing the Gran Paradiso. After which if you are still feeling energetic back to the Torino and the Diables Arete descending via Mt Blanc de Tacul (don't miss out the summit). After which you can congratulate yourself on a pretty good season and take stock for the rest! You'll probably need to change partner en route if he ain't able to keep up with you. Then after that the world is your oyster, and suggest start knocking off the Zermatt lot.
If you do still decide that you are capable of trying it, you can get a great deal of detailed advice beforehand, as long as people are convinced you understand the magnitude of what you are considering.
It will need a great deal of 'mountain cunning' to achieve.
You'll need the best possible rest/recovery between each hit. Driving in Italy is unlikely to qualify.
we sat down with maps and guidebooks and decided that we will go for it.
Any further advice would be appreciated, we will let you know how we get on.
I am not sure what the list was but it wasn't 82.
Martin, you're 36. Pull yourself together!
Ah, you just changed it. 38. Yep, time to stop, cardigan, slippers...
Good luck on this quest Anna. To do all the peaks in one season not only will require a good slice of luck, but I'd guess very good judgement too, since you're highly unlikely to get sufficient blue-sky days in one summer to complete them all, and would need to be ticking peaks on some iffy weather days. That carries a fair amount of cumulative risk exposure, so you should register that in your plans. And of course if you pick up any failures and 'wasted' days, that ups the pressure further to push it and get back on track.
Anyway, I'm just jealous of the amount of time you've got! But do note that although jcw says above, that "you can probably reverse back [to the Torino] from the Canzio", in practice you probably couldn't, since this is difficult even in perfect conditions. Your g/bk research will confirm this, and Luca's previous posts here on the Grandes Jorasses will explain more and give you lots more tips.
Anna, you've received some atypically positive feedback on here for such an ambitious plan. Good luck with it. If in the planning you start to have doubts, you could always change (before approaching sponsors) to some thing like The Five Highest Peaks in the Alps (Alpine HiFive etc) in one season as this is a saleable goal that is much more achievable than the whole lot. You could go between them on foot, thus reducing the mechanisation and amplifying the journey.
Lots of sponsors, who are looking at what you can do for them, not what they can give you, are tired of yet more conditional 'firsts' and more are looking for the story behind the 'feat'. By paring back the physical objectives you can spend more time experiencing and relating the story behind the journey you and your friend are on.
This story starts now, actually it's already started, and threads such as this are now part of these kinds of stories. The travellers that engage, and keep, sponsors and followers are those that have an interesting story, well told, and involve those followers and sponsors along the way, from genesis to RGS. With Facebook, Twitter, iPhones this is all so much easier than outdoor communication just five years ago.
Concentrating effort on contrived 'firsts', besides being all a bit 1990s, distracts both participants and followers from the journey behind the effort. Ideally you could do both, but you only have so much time and energy in one day, and you will find that one is more rewarding than the other, in the long run.
You can still aim high, just in a different direction.
> Martin, you're 36. Pull yourself together!
Absolutely. I'm sort of saving the 4000rs as a backup retirement project, just in case I get too old for serious stuff.
Aye, but you've still got a bit of time in hand to catch up with Kate...
If you're quick!
Like many who've commented on your proposal, I don't want to be discouraging but I have a mixture of admiration and concern about it.
One thing that hasn't been mentioned - though Damo's excellent post hints at it: have you thought about how you'd reply to some of the questions a prospective sponsor is likely to ask. For example:
(1) "What evidence can you provide that my money is following a project that has a reasonable chance of success?"
(2) "What is your track record, and how does that bear on the likelihood of your being successful?"
(3) "OK, so Martin Moran has done it, but he's a guide, and he had getting on for 15 years more experience than you: are you sure you aren't taking on more than you can chew at this stage in your alpine careers?"
Worth joining the alpine club id have thought as there is a fair number resident in the alps some retired with maybe some spare time.
Beware psychological burn out, its what's usually ended My alpine trips.
The marketing departments of most companies can be very shrewd and very sceptical about extravagant claims of the benefit to them of sponsorship, certainly the proposed exploit needs to be very unusual, and as you say, to have a pretty substantial chance of success, based on track record.
Getting sponsorship is hard, needs to present a professional and polished image, and even when it does produce some money or kit, YOUR return on investment can be very poor, i.e. how much money will you be effectively paid per hour, compared with say working behind a bar. It may be less than you think.
There is another downside to sponsorship that is far from trivial. If you are paying your own way on a project and it all goes mammaries to the sky, or you just lose enthusiasm or drive, you can just slink home with your tail between your legs. If you have an obligation to meet your sponsors expectations, there can be considerable pressures to keep going, in the teeth of good mountain judgement, or just simply running out of steam and/or courage.
Very interesting. Salutary and useful, too. I've never tried to raise a penny from anyone for my climbing - except borrowing from my parents and I'm not sure what they made of the investment!
> Martin moran book about his continual traverse should be useful.
also 'In search of Limits' by Mark Bles. I think he climbed 48 peaks in the same season, and that was with the considerable help of the Army.
Just to give you an idea of the terrain. Here's the traverse of Pointe Helene/Elena of the Grandes Jorasses, taken from Patrick Berhault "Au Fils des 4000". Berahault was himself attempting a traverse of all 4000m peaks in one single push (he had already climbed all of them separately).
Berhault died few days later in an accidental fall.
And while we're thinking of books: Will McLewin's "In Monte Viso's Horizon" would be very useful.
> And while we're thinking of books: Will McLewin's "In Monte Viso's Horizon" would be very useful.
Great, great book (only do not take his safety tips too seriously :) )
Yes, it is. It always brings me to the verge of tears. One of the most insanely exposed places of the Alps
Yes, but really annoying. I wanted the helicopter to stop going round and round in circles and pan out to give a proper perspective. It never did!
> Yes, but really annoying. I wanted the helicopter to stop going round and round in circles and pan out to give a proper perspective. It never did!
Well...that's the proper perspective I'm afraid. It really gives an idea how exposed and aerial that place is. If the helicopter had stopped, it wouldn't have been so effective (the music helps a lot, however).
The only "issue" with this sequence is that in summer there's not that much snow.
Normally the crossing of Helene is not right on the ridge but a slightly below, on the N face. If it's not icy or snowy like in this video is not difficult, just a bit exposed. The TRULY exposed bit is descending/ascending the ridge linking Pt. Helene to Pt. Marguerite. If you don't abseil it, you've to climb it with your hands on the ridge and your body hanging on the North Face, all the 800 mts of it.
> Well...that's the proper perspective I'm afraid. It really gives an idea how exposed and aerial that place is.
But my head is still spinning this morning!
Not sure about that....
I hope this doesn't mean I have to go back just to do the Pointe Helene for my 4000s list, what do the jury think? (And no, I have NO intention to do the Pic Luigi Amedo at this point - that's a spot height, not a peak!)
Yes yes yes, you do! How could you live with yourself now we know?
jon's right. Back you go. There is a clue in the word "top" :-)
(And no, I have NO intention to do the Pic Luigi Amedo at this point - that's a spot height, not a peak!)
The Authorities may allow that providing of course you do Mont Brouillard
We'll tell everyone...
> (And no, I have NO intention to do the Pic Luigi Amedo at this point - that's a spot height, not a peak!)
It's a very fine peak. I can personally highly recommend it. Definitely on any true list.
Commendably honest, John!
What could be better this summer than 84 days of "advice", reminising and vicarious excitement. Remeber how much fun the "hard rock challenge" was...
I tripped over my crampons walking along from the whymper to the next one along, fortunatly i had the presence of mind to simply fall forward.
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