/ Jornet rescued from Frendo

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Pinch'a'salt on 08 Sep 2013
Oops...

http://www.ledauphine.com/haute-savoie/2013/09/09/chamonix-kilian-jornet-secouru-en-pleine-nuit-et-e...

Not got the time or energy to translate it all here for non-French readers, but Killian Jornet rescued by PGHM from a very lightweight attempt on the Frendo Spur.

Carpe Diem - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

the google translation was interesting:

On the evening of Saturday, PGHM had to land from a caravan to recover two "climbers", a man and a woman in the north face of the Aiguille du Midi on the Frendo Spur.
jon on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Carpe Diem:

Yep, that's not a great translation, is it! But probably more entertaining than the accurate one!

I like the Dauphiné's lines about Profit - crediting him with the first solo of the Bonatti Pillar!
Paul Atkinson - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt: some pretty scathing comments under the article. Seems to be a mix of genuine outrage at endangering the PGHM rescuers by undertaking ill judged ultralightweight shenanigans and good old fashioned local sour grapes
Ben Briggs - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt: interesting blog post from Jeff Mercier back in June- http://jeffmercier.blogspot.fr/2013/06/le-mont-blanc-nest-il-quune-affaire.html

"Une fois de plus, je le répète la Montagne n'est pas un stade. Y en a marre de voir des guignols remonter la Vallée Blanche en ski de rando sans corde, sans baudrier espacés de 20cm, marre de voir des types faire le record du Mont Blanc à ski se déplacer en solo entre les crevasses, marre de voir un idiot équipé de basket monter l'Inominatta et se laisser glisser sur le cul à la descente du Gouter, marre de savoir que les mêmes vont nous saouler cet été à tenter des trucs ou ils frisent la catastrophe à chaque pas"
In reply to Ben Briggs: Even more so since Jeff was part of the 'team' that plucked him off!
IainRUK - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Paul Atkinson: Aye. but any time he's escapades go wrong plenty will line up to have a pop. Presumably this was with Emelie.. I wonder how she'll take it didn't think she was such an experienced climber.
Robert Durran - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

I've always thought the "fast n'lite" approach, when applied with quasi religious lack of question, was asking for trouble and (don't know if this is the case here) downright unethical when a mobile phone replaces the weight of self-sufficiency in the sack.
IainRUK - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: We don't know what happened.. not saying I don't also have concerns but he is very experienced and we all make our own risk assessments. He lost his mate last year so he's very aware of the high risks he is facing.

But he's so high profile that you can understand the anger and concerns of others. But he's not the first, nor last to try faster lighter approaches.
IainRUK - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: https://www.facebook.com/kilianjornet

Comments on his thanking the rescuers post are worth reading..
Paul Atkinson - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK: taking some major ill deserved flak there IMHO
rgold - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:
> Not got the time or energy to translate it all here for non-French readers...

I did my best over on Supertopo. See http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2221441&tn=0#msg2221441 .

Enty - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to rgold:

I love how the French refer to trainers / trail shoes as baskets. I have an image in my head of Jornet on the Frendo wearing what my daughter wears for school!!
Converse All Star on the NF of the Midi lol!

E
IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Paul Atkinson: Aye.. I'm a bit uneasy with what he is getting.. but lots of people love a good 'I told you so'..

He is pushing the boundaries, he does a hell of a lot, seriously impressive. I do have my own concerns, more about others.. I think light weight kit is opening up too much serious terrain for people without the experience...

runners on glaciers because they have kahtoola's.. yet they won't rope up nor often have an iceaxe, likewise in the UK mountains in winter.. I think we'll see some deaths before people start to realise they need more experience. I don't include KJ in that.
highclimber - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to Paul Atkinson) Aye.. I'm a bit uneasy with what he is getting.. but lots of people love a good 'I told you so'..
>
> He is pushing the boundaries, he does a hell of a lot, seriously impressive. I do have my own concerns, more about others.. I think light weight kit is opening up too much serious terrain for people without the experience...
>
> runners on glaciers because they have kahtoola's.. yet they won't rope up nor often have an iceaxe, likewise in the UK mountains in winter.. I think we'll see some deaths before people start to realise they need more experience. I don't include KJ in that.

completely agree.
Steff - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

I agree. There was some criticism from some quarters here in Spain, recently, about the way his sponsors make his efforts look in promotional videos.
In particular in Cavalls del Vent last year a competitor died of hypothermia. In the subsequent race video Kilian was seen running in shorts and T-shirt only, given the impression he was fine with this. In the event however, he was seen running in a light down jacket at some stage.
There is certainly room for a debate on this type of promotional material giving a false impression of reality to unexperienced runners / climbers.
highclimber - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Steff: I dislike the implication Killian would behave like Bear Grylls?
Steff - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber:

> (In reply to Steff) I dislike the implication Killian would behave like Bear Grylls?

I don't think Kilian would behave like Bear Grylls, but I think a outdoor clothing manufacturer might want their T-shirt not to be covered by some other's company's down jacket in the promotional video and thereby creating such a scenario, maybe without even realizing.
Ron Walker - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
Certainly seen a lot of folk in trail running gear on the Mer du Glacé and heading up towards the Gouter this year! Some were very fit and experienced and others much less so.
I hadn't realised that some folk were attempting Mont Blanc in the kit though and this must be a major concern for the rescue services and local guides.
I think we saw Killian before his wee jaunt up the Frendo, though why they chose Saturday given the bad weather forecast is a strange one!
Given the recent rescue where the climbers were billed for the rescue after they found the route too long and difficult for their fitness and experience, the PGHM seem tone taking a harder line.
See http://www.chamonet.com/events/news/3-400-rescue-bill-for-mont-blanc-mountaineers.html
Tyler - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

Why did they have to call for rescue, it's not clear?
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highclimber - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Ron Walker:
> (In reply to IainRUK)
> Certainly seen a lot of folk in trail running gear on the Mer du Glacé and heading up towards the Gouter this year! Some were very fit and experienced and others much less so.
> I hadn't realised that some folk were attempting Mont Blanc in the kit though and this must be a major concern for the rescue services and local guides.
> I think we saw Killian before his wee jaunt up the Frendo, though why they chose Saturday given the bad weather forecast is a strange one!
> Given the recent rescue where the climbers were billed for the rescue after they found the route too long and difficult for their fitness and experience, the PGHM seem tone taking a harder line.
> See http://www.chamonet.com/events/news/3-400-rescue-bill-for-mont-blanc-mountaineers.html

If only British rescue teams would do the same!
IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Tyler: http://iancorless.org/2013/09/08/kilian-jornet-emelie-forsberg-rescued-from-mont-blanc/

More here... so they went off route and got cold as the weather hit... sounds like they went for the route with a narrow weather window...

Which if they were quick they'd be fine...

As runners/lightweight mountaineers they can't just sit weather out.. or carry the gear to cope with such conditions.. so the safety blanket is speed out of the situation.. so going for a technical route when that retreat isn't possible with a narrow weather window wasn't overly wise.

highclimber - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Steff:
> (In reply to highclimber)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't think Kilian would behave like Bear Grylls, but I think a outdoor clothing manufacturer might want their T-shirt not to be covered by some other's company's down jacket in the promotional video and thereby creating such a scenario, maybe without even realizing.

The ones that weren't appropriately dressed for the event are the stupid ones, not KJ's sponsors or indeed himself.
nw - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber: Do you work in MRT? If not, you should leave it to them to decide their own ethics.
highclimber - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to nw:
> (In reply to highclimber) Do you work in MRT? If not, you should leave it to them to decide their own ethics.

I'm sorry, I didn't realise I was lobbying to the Mountain Rescue teams by writing my OPINION on a public forum. And for the record, I did volunteer for my local team.
Arms Cliff - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Tyler: "ENG

On September 8th, I was climbing a mountain path on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi (France), the so-called Frendo spur. This was a route that I had done before with only the minimum of material. We were going according to schedule, so as to have enough time to leave before the bad weather arrived, and we were equipped with the necessary climbing equipment (for ice and rock). I was probably not as farsighted as I could have been as I thought the temperatures would be higher and so we had not taken enough jackets. During the last stretch of the climb we took a wrong turn and lost time returning to the right path. At 50 meters from the summit of the Aiguille du Midi, seeing that the weather had worsened rapidly and that I might put my companion at risk, we decided to call the PGHM (high mountain rescue team). They took us both to the summit of the Aiguille, with no more serious problem than a bit of a chill. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the mountain rescue teams for their work, which is always so professional and efficient.


This is a warning that the mountain is a hard and dangerous place, even when precautions are taken. One must be humble in the mountains, because a high price can be paid for our failures, especially when travelling light. We must accept and be aware of the risks that we are prepared to take individually and with the people who accompany us, depending on our physical and technical skill and also our experience."

from his blog http://www.kilianjornet.cat/ca/blog/nota-informativa-informative-note
Robert Durran - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Arms Cliff:
> (In reply to Tyler) "ENG
>
> On September 8th, I was climbing a mountain path on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi (France), the so-called Frendo spur.......

He does sound suitably humbled by the experience.
Maybe he has learnt the lesson: shit happens, be prepared for it (and that doesn't mean carry a mobile phone)
GridNorth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Arms Cliff: So in worsening weather a helicopter was called and it carried them 50 metres to the summit. That can't be right.
nw - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber: Ah now it all makes sense.
IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to GridNorth: Someone was saying there was no chopper.. evacuated on foot to the summit.
highclimber - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK: 50 meters from the summit must have been at the base of VB arete?
lowersharpnose - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber:

On the rognon somewhere?
IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber: It'll be interesting to see how he acts now.. 1 rescue can be somewhat laughed off.. bad luck... anymore and the critics and voices will get louder, and that could damage soloman.

The amount he does is seriously incredible. he'll run up the matterhorn and win running races a few days later. But the big thing about fast and light is doing it safely and self sufficient.. is he really needs to watch it now and stay within his limits.
Robert Durran - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> The amount he does is seriously incredible. he'll run up the matterhorn and win running races a few days later. But the big thing about fast and light is doing it safely and self sufficient.. is he really needs to watch it now and stay within his limits.

And if he started doing his speed things with a helicopter standing by in case he got tired or cold or scared, he would, I hope, rapidly become a laughing stock.

IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: For sure.
IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: Some of the runners are being overly dismissive... an unforseen event.. etc.. but some of the abuse is way over the top.
Steff - on 09 Sep 2013
There is a report of what happened on Emiie Forsberg's blog, but UKC won't let me post the link (it says the links is invalid, which may be due to the page being rather slow and failing the check).
a lakeland climber on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Steff:

You aren't kidding about the page being slow!

ALC
IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber: http://iancorless.org/2013/09/08/kilian-jornet-emelie-forsberg-rescued-from-mont-blanc/

Both accounts are on here... Emelies blog seems down.

Seriously think runners need to watch what they say here. Some are just being overly blase.. obviously there's anger right now, so just playing this down as unforseen, could happen to anyone is just going to anger others more.

I think they are getting too much stick right now, but just dismissing it won't help, and I don't think EF or KJ have.
loggan - on 09 Sep 2013
Is it impossible or hard to retreat from that part of the route?
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IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to loggan: Emelie talks of an abseil descent being possible, but that she was cold and couldn't focus her thoughts, so possibly starting to get hypothermic, so maybe not the best choice.

I am uneasy about MRT's being overly critical, some of the comments were harsh at best. You don't want another couple getting stuck, thinking they don't want to have the wrath of the MRT's and trying to push on with fatal consequences.
lowersharpnose - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to loggan:

If they are that high, they need to go up or be rescued. It is a very long way down.
IainRUK - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose: Must have been a long way because from the translations they had 5 hours to wait for the rescue - If I read that right. I don't think analysing the decision to call is worth too much because the shit had already hit the fan by the sounds of it, it was then just getting out safely, and a rescue enabled that. The mistakes, which they/she admits, happened before. Contrasting versions though.

jcw on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Ron Walker: No, you are confusing the Italian and French side. It is the Italians who bill if they think the rescue not justified. The French side which is the Pghm remains the same (from the horses mouth that very evening, when Killian was on the Frendo and one of our guests had to leave for another call out at 11pm).
Luca Signorelli - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

Emelie's account is here

http://emelieforsberg.com/being-rescued/
Luca Signorelli - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to jcw:
> (In reply to Ron Walker) No, you are confusing the Italian and French side. It is the Italians who bill if they think the rescue not justified.

The Italian side (actually is the VdA side) bills those whose rescue is NOT justified
jcw on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Hi Luca, that's what I said. Best John
jcw on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt: Important article in Le Dauphine today. Blaise Agresti (responsible for the training centre for the PGHM)and who had already raised the issue of the example it set with Jornet 's partner prior to the Mont Blanc record (he fell into a crevasse on the way down) concludes re the Frendo rescue: " this incident ...would only be of passing concern if it involved someone else. Unfortunately, the reverberations that are arising from it undermine our basic principles like free rescue".
adnix - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to loggan) Emelie talks of an abseil descent being possible, but that she was cold and couldn't focus her thoughts, so possibly starting to get hypothermic, so maybe not the best choice.

Depending on their gear abseiling down the snow arete could have been very close to impossible. They went out too light and got cold once their pace slowed down on the upper rognon. Climbing french 5 in sneakers is not easy and it takes time.
jon on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to jcw:

This pair maybe the Ultra Trail darlings, but frankly this latest stunt shows a degree of arrogance beyond the acceptable. Basically they are just taking the piss.
highclimber - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to jcw)
>
> This pair maybe the Ultra Trail darlings, but frankly this latest stunt shows a degree of arrogance beyond the acceptable. Basically they are just taking the piss.

Killian is quite the accomplished Alpinist, you know.
jon on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber:

I think you miss my point.
IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to jon: I've mixed views on it. People should push the boundaries, but I think this wasn't great, it was a lot of risk they took.

I don't like seeing them get too much stick, some of it is too personal. KJ is clearly experienced, reading her blog I get the impression she isn't on the climbing side and is getting drawn into it, and due to who she is character wise and who she knows, quite deeply.

I'm actually more concerned about the other runners who many have blindly leapt to their defence, with comments like unforseen.. it wasn't really, no matter how much people say it was. And these things happen, when accidents do happen, but this wasn't one of those cases.

As pioneers, which they are marketing themselves as through soloman, of some climbing running mix they do have responsibility. There is a lot of people wanting to say 'I told you so'. Quite frankly I understand why.

Its not KJ and EF but the many 100's if not 1000's you see out high up in the alps, in the british mountains in winter, who haven't really had an apprenticeship in being in the mountains. They've often come through running, road, trail, fell... then suddenly mountaineers going up steep terrain in microspikes with no axe.

I've said many times it won't be til we have a spate of deaths from this sort of activity before people start to realise its all too accessible now for runners who haven't had the experiences to cope.

I don't think its necessarily the case for these two. I was talking to someone today who disagreed and reckoned EF's head just went, but I don't think you should be tackling high alpine routes with minimal gear, with bad weather imminent, unless your head is bang on and you have a heck of a lot of experience with the head game.
In reply to jon:
> ...but frankly this latest stunt shows a degree of arrogance beyond the acceptable. Basically they are just taking the piss.

Jon, you're normally Mr sensible and un-flappable (although being two Mr Men characters seems a bit greedy), so those are strong words. Can you say why you think so?

Of course they made mistakes, but it sounds like they were very close to topping out, they made a number of attempts at forcing their way to the top of the climb, and it was only after quite some time trying to sort themselves out that they called for rescue. She says she didn't take enough warm clothing with her - but I'm sure its not the first rescue that the PGHM have done where that was part of the reason.

People get rescued when they make mistakes, so of course everyone should be humble and thankful when it happens to them (which indeed Jornet appears to be). Is it just that he's famous that this has become an issue? Or has he gone too light and fast (this coming after generations of aspirant alpinists being told that being light enough to be fast WAS safety)?
highclimber - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to highclimber)
>
> I think you miss my point.

I think I did. What was it?
IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA: Has there been anyone so high profile before? Featured in the NY times.. can't think of many.

I can see the concerns, I think a statement said something like, 'had it been anyone else it wouldn't have been an issue'..

KJ cuts across the disciplines.. from trail to mountain to mountaineering to even ski-mountaineering. I can't think of many so well known.

My issue was there was no real plan B.. no gear to cope, no chance of a fast descent and bad weather due. So any delay was going to put them in trouble, and they knew they'd have issues with the route (by way of their reports saying how they planned to out flank the snow sections). As runners your big get out is the fast descent, and on such terrain they've effectively removed that.

Doug on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to TobyA) Has there been anyone so high profile before?

René Desmaison ? (made Paris Match)
IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Doug: So at least historically he's a pretty unique case. This KJ's summits of my life is a huge story for runners. I think its great in many ways, the guy has a genuine love of the mountains, really humble quiet guy. Emelie seems to also. It'll be interesting how they approach Everest.. that was the one that made me raise my eye brows a bit as it smelt like a tad of a publicity stunt.. but supposedly it won't just be a trade route.

Fast ascents of classic routes are nothing new though, maybe its just how marketed he is being. Which you get the impression he's not a huge part of.

Ben Briggs - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA: light and fast is good but has its limits and wearing trainers on the Frendo just seems stupid to me. On the terrain where Killian has set his records there is lots of ground where he can run and when your pushing boundarys you have to take risks so wearing trainers seems justifiable.
He does have a lot of experience on moderate routes (not sure about harder ones) which is why I am surprised they took this approach on the Frendo, not trying to set any records, roped up and not moving extraordinarly fast (its says on emilies blog a couple of hrs to the top if the rock and people have climbed the whole route in that time).
Having said that everyone makes mistakes and he does seem to be getting a particularly hard time for it. I think a lot of why some people are angry is beacuse others look at what he is doing and try to emulate it. It's not like when Ueli runs up the GJ north face which is beyond most peoples comprehension, any trail runner can see what he does and think its a good idea to run up Mont Blanc in trainers.
At the end of the day he has been humble about it, probably learnt a lesson and we should cut him a bit of slack.
IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Ben Briggs:
> (In reply to TobyA) I think a lot of why some people are angry is beacuse others look at what he is doing and try to emulate it. It's not like when Ueli runs up the GJ north face which is beyond most peoples comprehension, any trail runner can see what he does and think its a good idea to run up Mont Blanc in trainers.

Yeah thats the nub of it..

> At the end of the day he has been humble about it, probably learnt a lesson and we should cut him a bit of slack.

I hope so.. but they have to be very careful now, knives were clearly out before this so now they'll be waiting..
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Oceanic - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

Leading climbers have always pushed the limits. Joe Tasker, Al Rouse, Alison Hargreaves, John Bachar, Jean Christophe Lafaille.

Stephane Brosse like KJ, pushed the limits of speed in the mountains, and like the climbers listed above, he sadly died as a result of pushing too hard.

I'm thankful that this time, the result of KJs miscalculation was nothing more than a rescue, and some awkward questions being asked in the papers.

On a personal level I'd been thinking recently that in the last couple of years I've been heading out into the mountains in lighter gear than I ever used to, and wondering if the fashion for the 'adventure racing' approach was leading me to not just have more fun, but also to take some foolish risks. I guess that as a result of the publicity surrounding KJ's rescue, others might ask themselves similar questions, and maybe that's a good thing.

We still need to remember though, that people we admire for pushing the limits are, well, pushing the limits.
pneame on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
> (In reply to Pinch'a'salt)
>
> Emelie's account is here
>
> http://emelieforsberg.com/being-rescued/

It's a delightful and honest commentary, but she does seem to be very inexperienced. I can't help feeling that the onus is on KJ for (inexcusably) overestimating his partners abilities.

On the other hand, it's good that there are people who will push what is feasible - it's the only way to advance. No-one got hurt and, lets face it, there was only modest risk. If the chaps on the peutery ridge were billed for their rescue, then KJ definitely should be in this case. But I don't like the precedent.
adnix - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to jon)

> Of course they made mistakes, but it sounds like they were very close to topping out, they made a number of attempts at forcing their way to the top of the climb, and it was only after quite some time trying to sort themselves out that they called for rescue. She says she didn't take enough warm clothing with her.

The crux on the Frendo is at the top. It was very foolish to climb there without any plan B and no insulated gear. The chopper couldn't fly (it never flyes in bad weather) and rescuers abseiled down from the top. The rescue seems to have taken some time.

The situation was rather grim really. I suppose it would have been a very cold night without the rescue. Imagine being a night in the open with tights and sneakers and no belay jacket.
Robert Durran - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to jon)
> .........this coming after generations of aspirant alpinists being told that being light enough to be fast WAS safety?

But this should always be balanced by pointing pout the obvious risks with going light - once anything goes wrong, it will almost certainly escalate more quickly and dangerously. Far too often it isn't. The light is right thing has, in my opinion, been pushed in a silly and downright dangerous way.

IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: True.. but I also think KJ.. EF.. are being made scape goats for what is going on in mountain running.. which everyone from shops, to suppliers, to athletes, to magazines have to also be held responsible really.

We have too much accessibility now. You can go from trail runner to glacier runner with just a few hundred quid spent... I think that is what concerns these people and they see KJ et al as the pioneers.. which is a bit of a narrow view of the reality.
Robert Durran - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to jcw)
>
> This pair maybe the Ultra Trail darlings, but frankly this latest stunt shows a degree of arrogance beyond the acceptable. Basically they are just taking the piss.

Very well said.
If I went out on Ben Nevis in winter totally under equipped for bad weather and ended up getting rescued, I would be quite rightly criticised. This is no different. Complete nonsense to make excuses about "pushing the limits"; the Frendo is a trade route for goodness sake! Just being ill equipped has nothing to do with pushing limits. It doesn't matter who you are.
Robert Durran - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> We have too much accessibility now. You can go from trail runner to glacier runner with just a few hundred quid spent... I think that is what concerns these people and they see KJ et al as the pioneers.. which is a bit of a narrow view of the reality.

Yes, from a mountaineering perspective it looks very different........
Damo on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to adnix:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Imagine being a night in the open with tights and sneakers and no belay jacket.

...only for some Scottish guide to come along, ignore you, except to ask "have you not got a guidebook?" :-)

Oh, wrong thread.

I think Kilian is awesome and look forward to seeing what he does on bigger mountains, but I think the different reactions to him are partly a generational thing. He has a huge following in the non-climbing world and particularly with under-35s and that whole scene is very fashionable at the moment (literally).

To make a crass generalisation, for many people of this age (Gen Y) there can be no 'judgement', no harsh words, nobody is 'wrong', or bad or stupid. Rather, those who criticise their darlings are judgemental, negative, insensitive and narrow minded. Bad luck is blamed, or 'freak' weather or whatever, but never the person. It's about doing things 'my way', what is comfortable, what I like, what is good for me. Acceptance of limits posed by others is uncool, even if the other is a bloody big mountain. Emelie's blogpost is actually not too bad in this regard, she admits a 'stupid mistake' and no Plan B, so she's hardly some great villain here, though some of her language does flop back over the touchy-feely me me line - ETA for a rescue?. It's some of the commenters with the worrying comments - "It´s not a matter of humility, it was just a bad day." etc but there is balance even in there.

Having any kind of public profile, it's hard when you makes mistakes and they line up to take shots, but it comes with the territory.

The problem with pushing the limits is that sometimes the limits push back.
IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: As I said above.. its up to them now.. any more rescues.. issues and it does not look good. Mountain running took a hit for sure this weekend and it was handled badly if I'm honest. I think post event more could have been done. Most notably a high profile donation from Soloman. They've been poor through this, stick with your runner through thick and thin...

But say he has a long career in running and more ascents.. 1 rescue you can get past.. a regular occurance.. well much more than once of what as you say are pretty mid grade alpine routes and you have to look closer for sure.

But the anger is excessive, they should be allowed to get on and see how they go from here. Both are still young.
IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to adnix)
> [...]
>
>
> To make a crass generalisation, for many people of this age (Gen Y) there can be no 'judgement', no harsh words, nobody is 'wrong', or bad or stupid. Rather, those who criticise their darlings are judgemental, negative, insensitive and narrow minded. Bad luck is blamed, or 'freak' weather or whatever, but never the person. It's about doing things 'my way', what is comfortable, what I like, what is good for me. Acceptance of limits posed by others is uncool, even if the other is a bloody big mountain. Emelie's blogpost is actually not too bad in this regard, she admits a 'stupid mistake' and no Plan B, so she's hardly some great villain here, though some of her language does flop back over the touchy-feely me me line - ETA for a rescue?. It's some of the commenters with the worrying comments - "It´s not a matter of humility, it was just a bad day." etc but there is balance even in there.
>
>

I think that is spot on.

johncoxmysteriously - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Oceanic:

>We still need to remember though, that people we admire for pushing the limits are, well, pushing the limits.

Isn't the point that the people we admire for pushing the limits take responsibility for what happens when it goes wrong? Whereas when you push the ill-equipped on trade route limits and it goes wrong, other people get to risk their lives coming to fetch you off.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to Damo)
> [...]
>
> I think that is spot on.

Yes, so do I - excellent post.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Damo:

>>The problem with pushing the limits is that sometimes the limits push back.

That's not the problem per se. The problem is that when the limits do push back, in this particular case, you endanger others rather than dealing with the consequences yourself.

What would Tilman have said?!

jcm
IainRUK - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: Re your last comment.. deleted? anyway for me the issue is, as EF said to be fair, there was no plan B....

So when the limits pushed back they were f*cked..
dek - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
What an epic! I don't think even Uli Steck would fanny around, on that notorious top rognon in a pair of running shoes!
Misha - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:
Agree with much of what had been said above. The silver lining is that they are safe and hopefully learned a lesson. We all learn from our own mistakes and it's better still to learn from other people's - so hopefully others will take heed.
dutybooty - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:
People say they are pushing the limits. What are the limits?

Are they not just pushing their own limits? The same way any of us would trying a new harder route then we have done before.

They failed, they failed to an extent where they needed a rescue.

I'm sure many people have done the same thing on here, and personally I don't see why they are being chastised so badly.

If its for not taking equipment considered as required, I'm in two minds about that. But if you think about the number of new high-altitude peaks getting pushed in alpine-style now days, that would of been unconceivable only 30/40 years ago. Almost regarded as stupid and without thought to safety.

However, I can see points about how it may make it seem that mountain running on serious terrain (from his other exploits) can lead to others trying to follow the example, possibly leading to severe consequences for many inexperienced people.
Morgan Woods - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

How much does a lightweight pair of mountain boots and alu cramps weigh these days?
Captain Fastrousers - on 11 Sep 2013
While I agree with the general consensus that they were foolhardy for having no back up plan, I can't help but have a sneaking suspicion that there wouldn't be the same scathing criticism from PGHM if KJ had been born in Chamonix. Then I suspect the narrative would have been more along the lines of 'elite athletes pushing the boundaries of the possible'

Oceanic - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> That's not the problem per se. The problem is that when the limits do push back, in this particular case, you endanger others rather than dealing with the consequences yourself.

That certainly seems to be Blaise Agresti's point.

When Stephan Brosse died I thought 'bloody hell, he died because he was trying to move so quickly'. I realised though, that if I was going to be impressed by KJ and Stephan Brosse's speed ascents, I had to accept that in order to achieve them, they were taking risks that many would consider to be unjustifiable.

KJ has said that he made a mistake on Monday. The wider question (that I am more interested in) is the idea of whether KJ's reccord breaking speed ascents of trade routes are to be praised or condemned.

You could also extend the same question to Ueli Steck's speed ascents of alpine north faces, or Steve House soloing big routes in Alaska with no rucksack.

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MG - on 11 Sep 2013
1) Weren't we all marvelling at KJ just a couple of weeks ago after the Matterhorn and Innominata escapades? It seems a bit inconsistent to regard those as fantastic achievments and this as reckless when the only real difference is the first two worked whereas this went wrong. Had KJ got stuck on the Innominata, which would have been entirely possible, would that have been a reckless exercise? Surely whether something is reckless doesn't depend on the outcome?

2) Why is this being veiwed as running? It is clearly climbing - you tell by the the ropes and rock and ice and stuff.
aligibb - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:
One (I think) important thing to note was the weather forecast was pretty crap, and it was a very small/tiny/non existent window they were aiming for. Conditions didn't lend themselves to being super lightweight. A few days earlier and they'd have been fine weather wise.
IainRUK - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Damo:
> Emelie's blogpost is actually not too bad in this regard, she admits a 'stupid mistake' and no Plan B, so she's hardly some great villain here, though some of her language does flop back over the touchy-feely me me line - ETA for a rescue?.

She just put his on her FB page...

"For some that wondered, I didn´t name all the gear we had, but YES we had crampons, ice axes, ice screws, rockclimbing gear. And also, you wondered how I could say that I wished for an estimated time to "know" wgen the rescue could come. Yes I still do, becasue there is a risk in staying Cold for 7 hours aswell as an risk of rappelling down beeing cold and stressed."

strange as she did say..
"After the icepart we decided to go more in the rocks instead of the most common way up that was on the steep ice. That was in our plan the whole way, because we didn´t bring the proper gear for the ice. And that we knew before we started."

so not sure what was missing..

But, regardless choppers dont fly in bad weather.. not sure why she expected a rescue within the next 3 hours or so at least.
Oceanic - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> 1) Weren't we all marvelling at KJ just a couple of weeks ago after the Matterhorn and Innominata escapades? It seems a bit inconsistent to regard those as fantastic achievments and this as reckless when the only real difference is the first two worked whereas this went wrong.

I agree. That said, KJ made the point in the video of his Matterhorn climb that it was nice to receive assistance from the Italian guides, as he had received criticism elsewhere for climbing in trainers. So while this debate may be new to UKC, it's been around for a while elsewhere.

AlanLittle - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Oceanic:
> You could also extend the same question to ... Steve House soloing big routes in Alaska with no rucksack.

I agree with your general point, but Steve House in Alaska probably has no realistic expectation of anybody rescuing him, unlike people doing stuff in the Alps

Oceanic - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

> so not sure what was missing..


The ice pitch at the top of the Frendo is about Scottish Grade III. It may be that they had gear suitable for ascending the ridge up to the 'pherique station, but not suitable for climbing Grade III ice.
Oceanic - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:
> (In reply to Oceanic)
> [...]
>
> I agree with your general point, but Steve House in Alaska probably has no realistic expectation of anybody rescuing him, unlike people doing stuff in the Alps

Although if Steve House had got into trouble when he soloed the Washburn Wall in Alaska with no rucksack, a rescue would have been a lot more dangerous for his rescuers than carrying out a rescue from the Frendo Spur.
Robert Durran - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Oceanic:
> (In reply to AlanLittle)
>
> Although if Steve House had got into trouble when he soloed the Washburn Wall in Alaska with no rucksack, a rescue would have been a lot more dangerous for his rescuers than carrying out a rescue from the Frendo Spur.

But there is the world of difference between House's massive experience, expertise and judgement and Jornet's escapade which looks like a bit like a typical alpine beginner's f*** up.

Robert Durran - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:
> Weren't we all marvelling at KJ just a couple of weeks ago after the Matterhorn and Innominata escapades? It seems a bit inconsistent to regard those as fantastic achievments and this as reckless when the only real difference is the first two worked whereas this went wrong.

Indeed. I think we should reconsider.
Oceanic - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Oceanic)
> [...]
>
> But there is the world of difference between House's massive experience, expertise and judgement and Jornet's escapade which looks like a bit like a typical alpine beginner's f*** up.

http://www.adventure-journal.com/2010/06/steve-house-what-it-feels-like-to-fall-80-feet/
IainRUK - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: Overly harsh.. they made mistakes, todays post by EF is worrying because it highlights her lack of experience. If a rescue is a balance between time required to get out yourself versus with others then you can question if it was needed.

Dissapointed in Solomon TBH... they've just released one statement but I think a 'thanks and here's 1000 euros' or something to the rescuers should be the response. They advertise when things go well for the pair and should stand by when things go badly.
MG - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

> Dissapointed in Solomon TBH... they've just released one statement but I think a 'thanks and here's 1000 euros'

Remember rescue is state funded in France so the rescuers are paid, unlike the UK. That would be a bit like giving the police cash for helping you out in a car-crash in the UK.
IainRUK - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to MG: I know, but I still think some acknowledgement should come from them. They can give to one of their charities I don't know. But when KJ did the Matterhorn Soloman were all over it, this is the other side of the coin and its just a deafening silence.
In reply to Damo:

> To make a crass generalisation,

You know what the problem with crass generalisations are don't you...? That they're not normally true. ;) But perhaps transnational normative shifts and the relationship to demographic changes could do with its own thread.

Again I still feel this is a bit of a "what do you take just in case" situation. It sounds now like perhaps they weren't as under equipped as people seem to have presumed. I wonder also how many other people climbed the Frendo this summer with just softshell trousers on and with a very light shell in their bag? Should everyone have a down jacket with them? I recently had a discussion with my climbing partner about whether we should take a bothy bag on a big route with us. In the end we decided no - but we would take waterproof trousers each instead - figuring if it started raining we would keep moving, up or down. But my climbing partner had slipped a disc in his back earlier this year - had that happened again, he would have been immobile and I suspect there would be little we could have done besides call for rescue - then a bothy bag would have been more use than over-troos. In such a situation I'm not sure if we wouldn't be open to the same criticism as Messr Jornet and Forsberg.

I suppose the counter argument is that they would have taken more, or tried harder to escape the Rongon themselves, had they not had a phone with them and the knowledge that there is a highly proficient rescue service nearby?

The had obviously got all the way up the snow arete in whatever footwear they had as well as all the rock climbing below that, so it can't have been that terribly unsuitable. Was it their shoes that stopped them from being able to top out?

Damo on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Damo)
>
> [...]
>
> You know what the problem with crass generalisations are don't you...?

Hence my 'crass' insertion...


>That they're not normally true. ;)

Hmm. You mean they're not true for all in all situations? Yes. Completely untrue for some in a number of situations? Yes. But 'not true'? No.

They come from somewhere - how are they formed? They are an amalgam of anecdote, experience and observation - subjective or not. They become acknowledged, accepted and used because they resonate true with the listener/reader/ranter.


>But perhaps transnational normative shifts and the relationship to demographic changes could do >with its own thread.
>

Perhaps (goes to find dictionary...)
Oceanic - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Damo)
>
> [...]
>
> Was it their shoes that stopped them from being able to top out?

It sounds like they couldn't top out because KJ couldn't find the route up the Rognon, but I suspect that if they had been wearing boots they would have avoided the rognon by taking the ice pitch over to the right.

From what they are saying, their opinion is that their mistake was not to carry enough clothes to stay warm while backing off in bad weather. I've climbed long rock routes in the Alps wearing just a couple of fleeces and a pertex shell, and thought afterwards that I could have been in trouble if I'd got stuck on the route, so I agree with you that many people push their luck in that respect.

They're hardly the first famous climbers to use this approach either, I've read that Mark Twight used to climb routes with 'nothing more than a windshirt' when he lived in Chamonix.

Steff - on 11 Sep 2013
Interesting to see this discussion is still going. I think what people in the UK might not fully realize, is how well known and popular Kilian has become in some place. Here in Spain (and I suppose in Chamonix as well) he has become a real celebrity and has had a huge impact on the development of the sport of mountain running. All the kids that start running want to be Kilian and many want to wear the same gear, without realizing that moving fast and light requires some experience.

I can see how rescue and guide bodies might be worried about people seeing his light and fast approach as normal and get themselves into difficulties. Seeing some of the videos, it is easy to imagine inexperienced people turning up at Mont Blanc treating it as a running mountain. Apparently, that's exactly what the guides observe in Chamonix recently.

There is certainly a question of how a role model should react to this situation and how much responsibility they have for the safety of their fans. I certainly feel that the videos of the well known closing company with their runner's running around smiling and laughing having a great time in serious mountain ultras, all dressed very lightly with minimal gear, do not accurately represent the sport. Many people share this opinion and feel even stronger than I about the subject, which partly explains the reaction to the rescue story.
jcw on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt and other. There are two intertwined elements involved. One KJ as role model and the fact that he is under considerable pressure from his sponsors. The other more important is the idea, propounded inter alia by his? Salomon's? manager of transferring the (Ultra) trail approach to the High Mountains and that the guides organize themselves to take charge of the racers by posting themselves at tricky spots! It is this tendency which is really causing the furore.
planetmarshall on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA: There's also a cultural difference to be aware of, in that in my brief time in Chamonix I noted that the locals were a lot quicker to call in the chopper than we would be in the UK. It's not a last resort for them, it's very much the first resort ( and perhaps sensibly so - why take your life in your own hands when there are better options available? )

In the UK there's a definite reluctance to call in any type of emergency service unless it's absolutely life and death - to do otherwise invites mockery and articles on Grough about "hillwalker incompetence".

On a route in Chamonix this year my climbing partner had his foot broken by a falling rock. I was working out how to get him off the wall when luckily someone else on the mountain was much more sensible and called in a rescue. The helicopter arrived before I could so much as set up an abseil. And what would I have done? It's not like he was going to be able to walk anywhere.

Andrew.
Es Tresidder - on 11 Sep 2013
I don't really see how what Kilian is doing is any more or less reckless than anyone else pushing the boundaries in mountaineering. When Steve House had an accident a few years ago in Canada and would have died had he not been choppered off people weren't lining up to say "told you so". Think of the many alpinists who have died attempting hard routes in a lightweight style. They could have taken tents, portaledges, a massive rack, bolts, fixed ropes etc and reduced the risk to which they exposed themselves. They chose not to because doing so would either decrease their chances of success, or because they preferred to climb in a lightweight style. I think the difference is that someone like House or Kurtyka is taking risks (going light, climbing hard with not so good protection, exposing themselves to objective danger) in order to pioneer new routes that are at the cutting edge of difficulty. That's somehow acceptable to people yet someone using the same tactics in order to push the envelope of speed rather than difficulty is not acceptable.

People are worried that what he is doing will inspire less experienced people to do the same things (like run up Mt Blanc in trainers). Sure that is a risk, but is it any greater than the risk of any other top "extreme" sportsperson inspiring foolish people to do things that are beyond their capabilities? Just because other top alpinists are going super light in order to put up cutting-edge climbs in "good style", rather than moderate routes super fast, I don't see why that makes it less likely that some inexperienced kid will think that climbing in that style is a good idea for them. Over the years I've been very inspired by people doing super-lightweight stuff in the mountains. For sure it's shaped my aspirations to some degree. But I also have a brain of my own and I don't think that inspiration has led me to overstep my abilities. Some people surely will but some people will always make bad decisions. I don't think you should try and restrict what the elite do just because other people might be stupid.
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jon on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder:

> When Steve House had an accident a few years ago in Canada and would have died had he not been choppered off people weren't lining up to say "told you so"

The problem here is the cross over from trail running to alpinism, not necessarily the pushing the boundaries thing. House is a top (the top?) alpinist. Kilian isn't.
Steff - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to jon:

> The problem here is the cross over from trail running to alpinism, not necessarily the pushing the boundaries thing. House is a top (the top?) alpinist. Kilian isn't.

Exactly, and those inspired by Kilian are runners not climbers, so they may lack the experience to see the danger in replicating his approach.
IainRUK - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to jon: I wouldn't class KJ as a trail runner, he excels on the steep rough mountain routes.

There's obviously a lot of history here though that I don't think we know about, you probably know something by the sounds of it. I still think there's an element of envy, being a good runner isn't enough to make a living, its about marketing, being something different and KJ has that.

I don't think EF is helping herself though, she's posted again that she was right to want an ETA for the rescue because she may have decided to descend herself. Maybe someones right above, that the attitude to rescue is very different to in Britain.

I do wished they have explained more, what they took, decisions they made, to explain to others about limits, risks, plan B's.. maybe that would help some of the runners not be so dismissive.

The rescuers attitide towards runners is pretty alarming though, and sounds like they wouldn't be overly complimentary if a runner needed a rescue after breaking their ankle running high up, which I don't think there is anything wrong with if you are equipped and experienced.
IainRUK - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to jon: I wouldn't class KJ as a trail runner, he excels on the steep rough mountain routes.

There's obviously a lot of history here though that I don't think we know about, you probably know something by the sounds of it. I still think there's an element of envy, being a good runner isn't enough to make a living, its about marketing, being something different and KJ has that.

I don't think EF is helping herself though, she's posted again that she was right to want an ETA for the rescue because she may have decided to descend herself. Maybe someones right above, that the attitude to rescue is very different to in Britain.

I do wished they have explained more, what they took, decisions they made, to explain to others about limits, risks, plan B's.. maybe that would help some of the runners not be so dismissive.

The rescuers attitide towards runners is pretty alarming though, and sounds like they wouldn't be overly complimentary if a runner needed a rescue after breaking their ankle running high up, which I don't think there is anything wrong with if you are equipped and experienced.
MG - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

> I don't think EF is helping herself though, she's posted again that she was right to want an ETA for the rescue because she may have decided to descend herself.

That's not so unreasonable is it? If the ETA was a day ahead, I imagine attempting to descend would have been the wisest course of action despite being cold and not thinking straight as things could have got a lot worse.
IainRUK - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to MG: No, but you'd be told on contact, if the weather is bad, the chopper won't fly so its pretty logical to expect a wait of a good few hours. So once they were told they were coming then a sit in for a few hours must be expected?

Presumably if it was going to be 1-2 days then they'd communicate that?
Ramblin dave - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Es Tresidder)
>
> [...]
>
> The problem here is the cross over from trail running to alpinism, not necessarily the pushing the boundaries thing. House is a top (the top?) alpinist. Kilian isn't.

But House is on cutting edge routes, whereas Kilian isn't. They're both taking basically the same sort of gamble on what they can get away with.

I think the question is less whether Kilian got it wrong this time, and more whether him or other people chasing the same sort of ascent are going to keep getting it wrong on a regular basis...
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to jon:

Besides, was House actually doing anything particularly boundary-pushing when he was injured? My impression is not – wasn’t he repeating an established route with ropes and runners in the usual style, pulled a hold and a load of gear and went a long way?

I don’t really know anything about it, but by contrast, someone with a lot of mountaineering experience getting benighted on the Frendo Spur while taking an inexperienced girl up it is making a bit of a prat of themselves, aren’t they? It’s easy to see why the rescue services think this was waiting to happen and that they’ve been taken for granted.

jcm
Gael Force - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder: This saga is nothing to do with pushing the boundaries, he was on a trade route, albeit a north face, with a fairly inexperienced partner, which makes his judgement calls worse.
What's annoying is that he was ill equipped to do such a route, and relied on others putting themselves in danger to get them both out of a predicament that was easily avoidable. It's hardly ground breaking to attempt a fairly easy route with ice on it in trainers and have to call for rescue.
I can't see much differnce between him and the person who posted a U tube video on here of his rescue a few hundred yards from the piste in Glenshee because he was too incompetent to get himself down to the road.
I wouldn't be surprised if both were publicity stunts, Killian is hardly a shrinking violet.
Not sure why anybody would say he was ground breaking compared to somebody like Bonatti, who also had humility, and could actually spend a night out without calling for help because it was getting a bit chilly.
What a numpty.


Es Tresidder - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Gael Force: This effort may not have been pushing the boundaries, and it may well have been misjudged (most accidents are, when viewed with hindsight, I think Kilian has admitted this hasn't he?). But what he has done on the Innominata, Mont Blanc from the valley and the Matterhorn certainly are pushing the boundaries. Not in difficulty but in speed. My point was that for some reason people see taking risk in order to push the boundaries of difficulty as being worthy, whereas taking risks to push the boundaries of speed as worthless and publicity seeking. I don't think that's a fair conclusion to draw. Speed in the mountains may not be your bag, but I'm sure Kilian gets a lot out of it on a personal level, as well as it paying him a wage.

In reply to johncoxmysteriously: Do we know Emilie to be inexperienced? Does it make Kilian even more of a prat that he was climbing with a girl?

All this talk of trail runners being encouraged onto serious mountains in trainers, is that really what's happening? I know of a few runners who have taken a similar approach to Kilian on big snowy mountains, but they also happen to be very experienced mountaineers. Are there really that many (any?) folk heading up Mont Blanc in trainers and without crampons whose previous mountain experience consists purely of way marked trails below the snowline? They must have a spectacular lack of imagination if so.
Oceanic - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder:
> for some reason people see taking risk in order to push the boundaries of difficulty as being worthy, whereas taking risks to push the boundaries of speed as worthless and publicity seeking. I don't think that's a fair conclusion to draw.

Neither do I (by that I mean that taking risks to push the limits of speed is worthwhile). Okay, KJ wasn't on a record attempt on Monday, but as a general principal it seems reasonable that he should train in the same gear that he uses for record attempts, even if, by his own admission, he made a mistake on this occasion.


> All this talk of trail runners being encouraged onto serious mountains in trainers, is that really what's happening?

I crossed the Grand Col Ferret in a whiteout earlier this year, it was -10c at the top and I was very glad that I was wearing crampons. More than one person ran past me in shorts that day, so yes, I do think there is an inappropriate fashion developing for mountaineering in what's basically road running gear.
IainRUK - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder: From EF's blog you get the impression she is, sounds very new to it, and mountainous peaks, she was talking about finally feeling comfortable on the Eiger or somewhere.

When I was in Cham the wardens at the huts were quite wary of runners.. so I do think there is a lot of worry.. I was out the back and it was only a 2500m col, but I think fairly rough terrain and the warden came out warning me to go no further as I wasn't equipped for the storm that was due.. I assured him I was.. left and got about 4 yards before lightning started striking.. and shot back in.. but there didn't seem to be the same concern for walkers.

I think you are right with speed and technicality both boundaries in their own way. I hope he continues with his quest. But do think he should be more open about the limits and when things go wrong, why they did.

I do think runners have a wildly optimistic impression of how good lightweight gear is... its lightweight because its almost always (always?) a compromise on its performance.

Not feeling great for Berlin... 50k this weekend winschoten or somewhere, dutch/german border, need some quality long run, had a high miles/low quality/too few actual long runs period... and shite diet..
Damo on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder:
> I don't really see how what Kilian is doing is any more or less reckless than anyone else pushing the boundaries in mountaineering. When Steve House had an accident a few years ago in Canada and would have died had he not been choppered off people weren't lining up to say "told you so".

No, I don't remember anyone saying that.

I don't think that's a fair or realistic comparison, Es. House had an accident, something actually happened to him. A relatively normal thing happened for mountaineering (bad rock, fall, injury) and he had the equipment to survive until help could be called and without that chopper he would have died.

Nothing happened to Jornet & Forsberg, they made a couple of bad decisions, had not taken the gear to extricate themselves from it, were not injured or under immediate threat of death and didn't want to spend the night out.

In a very general sense you can talk about risk and limits and compare everything to everything else but I don't think these are helpful things to compare in practice.
johncoxmysteriously - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder:

>Speed in the mountains may not be your bag, but I'm sure Kilian gets a lot out of it on a personal level, as well as it paying him a wage.

Yeah, that's fine, but the issue is him getting a lot out of it on a personal level, and making a lot of money out of it, and at the same time expecting the rescue services to come and get him when it goes wrong.

>My point was that for some reason people see taking risk in order to push the boundaries of difficulty as being worthy, whereas taking risks to push the boundaries of speed as worthless and publicity seeking. I don't think that's a fair conclusion to draw.

I think this is exactly the point, and when it comes to the mountains (as opposed to our own little hills, though the same applies there to an extent) I do see speed for its own sake as worthless while difficulty isn't. Obviously speed as an illustration of competence and as something that keeps people safe is very important. But the pursuit of difficulty is at the heart of the game - can I go up there? Can I get to that place? The pursuit of speed, in the sense 'can I do without this piece of equipment in order to go faster *for its own sake*', isn't the same. Speed to keep you safe, sure. Speed despite the fact it makes you less safe - well, if I was the mountain rescue team I can see how I might feel people were taking the piss.

jcm
adnix - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Damo:

> Nothing happened to Jornet & Forsberg, they made a couple of bad decisions, had not taken the gear to extricate themselves from it, were not injured or under immediate threat of death and didn't want to spend the night out.

I think the night out could have been serious. There was bad weather coming and evidently they were stuck. They talk about abseiling down but in reality the easiest way out would have been on up on the right side of rognon. It's about the same difficulty as the top of the arete. If there were very good steps climbing down may have been an option but in normal conditions climbing down is harder than climbing up.

I've done the left side ice with one axe and alu crampons but we were green at the time. For the second time I had proper crampons and two axes. They went out with very light gear against a bad weather forecast. It was russian roulette in my opinion.

They both made it so calling the rescue was one of the wiser moves that day.
Gael Force - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder: Actually Ed I run in the Lakes most days, but your point that this was an 'accident' is not correct. They didn't have an accident, they decided they would call for a rescue thereby putting others at risk, and the reason this happened was that they were engaging in another publicity stunt which went wrong due to some fairly poor decision making, and blatantly ignoring the requirement for mountaineers to be self sufficient and prepared for any eventualities. Proper boots and axes is a fairly obvious one on the Frendo.
To put it another way if it had been anybody else behaving like this they would probably have faced much worse criticism, had it been a guide he would possibly be removed from the association or company.
Having been involved in mountain rescue for nearly twenty year I know there would have been a fair bit of risk getting somebody off the Frendo, and also it ties up resources for people who may actually have had an unavoidable accident through no fault of their own, eg stonefall or helicopter crash.
Steff - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Gael Force:

> ..., and the reason this happened was that they were engaging in another publicity stunt which went wrong due to some fairly poor decision making, ...

Publicity stunt? I think they were just out on training / "having fun" day. If this has happened none of us would have realized they did the Frendo that day.

As critical, as I might be of their approach and the example they give, I don't think it's fair to accuse them of seeking publicity on this climb.


Simon Caldwell - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Oceanic:
> More than one person ran past me in shorts that day

How do you know that they were trail runners dressed inappropriately, rather than experienced mountaineers taking a calculated risk?
Es Tresidder - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Gael Force: Es, not Ed.

Perhaps accident is the wrong term, "mistake" might be better. They made an error of judgement that lead them into a serious situation. They called a rescue to get them out of that situation and have been humble about it afterwards, admitting their own mistakes. My point was that when people make errors of judgement while pushing the limits of difficulty they are not subject to the same sort of criticism. If a high profile climber who had previously been lauded for their bold and visionary first ascents falls off and breaks themself badly, people call it an accident and say hard luck, and yet they chose to put themselves in that position; they made an error of judgement. If that sounds harsh it's not meant to be, mountaineering is about judgement, and some judgement calls are very hard to make, sometimes we screw up and it's only obvious in hindsight. But it's still an error of judgement.

In reply to jcm: House/Prezelj/Papert's first ascents are fulfilling for them on a personal level, and inspiring to thousands of observers in the mountaineering community and wider world. Likewise Jornet's escapades are (I presume) very fulfilling to him and inspiring to thousands of others. What other criteria are you considering to deem difficult ascents worthwhile but speed ascents worthless?

In reply to Oceanic: If the people passing you were running I think you can assume that they didn't feel crampons were necessary. On that sort of terrain it's hardly new to see folk lightly dressed and moving fast. Fell runners have been getting called "nutters" by walkers in the lakes and Scotland since at least as long as I've been running in the mountains (20 years). The fact that they aren't forever calling out mountain rescue might indicate that, for the most part, their level of clothing and equipment is appropriate for the terrain and their level of competence.
johncoxmysteriously - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder:

>What other criteria are you considering to deem difficult ascents worthwhile but speed ascents worthless?

I suppose to me it's like this; there's a time in which an Alpine route can be ascended which suggests competence and fitness, no faffing, etc. if you can cut that time down simply by moving faster, fine. But once you start cutting it down by decreasing the safety margin for the sake of it - soloing, say, then it's a personal thing. I don't like people spraying about soloing, whether or not it 'inspires thousands of others', and I don't think getting up the Frendo faster by putting yourself on a position where you need rescuing if the weather turns is big or clever either. I'm not sure how much more clearly I can put it. As I see it's not really a question of a 'mistake', either - more an occupational hazard with the way KJ carries on.

Having now seen his dreadful 'summits of my life' webpage, the respect I previously had for him has taken a decided knock.

jcm
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Rob Parsons on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> ... there's a time in which an Alpine route can be ascended which suggests competence and fitness, no faffing, etc ...[snip]... I don't think getting up the Frendo faster by putting yourself on a position where you need rescuing if the weather turns is big or clever either ...

Purely to clarify, and as noted already in this thread: in this case, the speed in which they did the route up to the rognon wasn't particularly fast.
Oceanic - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Oceanic)
> [...]
>
> How do you know that they were trail runners dressed inappropriately, rather than experienced mountaineers taking a calculated risk?

I think the issue of whether they were trail runners or mountaineers is irrelevant.

As to whether the actions of the folks in shorts on the Gd Col Ferret that day were innappropriate...

It was -10c and a whiteout, the ground was steep in places. If they had microspikes on their feet, plus appropriate gear in their 'sacks, then I would have though they were taking a calculated risk, but that didn't appear to be the case.

I guess it's just about possible that they had microspikes, lightweight down trousers, lightweight down jackets and lightweight waterproofs in their 'sacks, but I'm not sure their 'sacks looked big enough even for the very lightest appropriate gear.

Mr Lopez - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

There you go guys, hope you still have some petrol left for your torches and your pitchforks have not gone blunt yet http://desnivel.com/alpinismo/kilian-jornet-amplia-la-informacion-sobre-su-rescate-y-el-de-emelie-fo...
Mr Lopez - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez:

It links to an english version on his blog:

Good evening,

Due to the vast quantity of news which has emerged regarding the incident at the Aguille de Midi, and to make it possible to contrast this information, Kilian Jornet has decided to give further details about what happened.

With this press release, Kilian considers the subject to be closed, and will focus on continuing with the trail season as well as the new challenges of his project Summits of My Life.

Further Information:

"On September 7th, I had planned a mountain route on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi (France), the so-called Frendo spur. This was a route that I had already done twice before on my own with only the minimum of material. I do this type of outings frequently, alone or accompanied, as they are both the basis of my training and of my free time.

I was accompanied by Emelie Forsberg and we were both equipped with light materials (short sports leggings, fine down jackets and trainers). We set off at dawn from Plan d'Aiguille, at 8:30 am to be precise, planning to return some 4 hours later, which was the time we estimated the journey would take. We had checked the weather forecast the day before, which announced bad weather as of 5 pm, and we both carried rock climbing materials (a set of friends, climbing chocks, 60m of rope ...) and also ice climbing equipment (2 ice axes each, technical crampons and ice screws).

We started off at a good pace along the route, and at 9 am we started to climb roped together. At 12 we were about an hour from the summit. There, on the last stretch of the climb, we took a wrong turn and when we realized what had happened, we abseiled down to get back on the right path, losing about 3-4 hours. About 50m from the summit, my companion had a problem, and it was at that moment that we decided to call the PGHM (high mountain rescue team), aware that the weather would worsen in an hour's time. We decided to make that call so as not to take a greater risk. At that altitude, it was me who had more experience and so I was responsible for the safety of my fellow climber. We were not exposed to serious risks because we were roped together and had the chance to abseil down if rescuers had been unable to reach us.

The rescue team told us that, due to the weather, a helicopter could not be used, and they would reach us on foot taking the Aiguille du Midi cable car and then abseiling down the 50m that separated them from the top of the Aiguille. It took 4h for the team to arrive at the scene after the call was made. From there, in a very professional and secure way, we were taken to the top of the Aiguille, from where the cable car took us down to Chamonix. We didn't suffer any injuries or major consequences, apart from suffering a bit from the cold.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the mountain rescue teams for their work, which is always so professional and efficient.


This is a warning that the mountain is a hard and dangerous place, even when precautions are taken. One must be humble in the mountains, because a high price can be paid for our failures, especially when travelling light. We must accept and be aware of the risks that we are prepared to take individually and with the people who accompany us, depending on our physical and technical skill and also our experience."

Kilian
pneame on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez: Well indeed - the description of their footwear involves "zapatillas" which google assures me look like this:
http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM-429428709-zapatillas-de-lentejuela-sexy-retro-elegante-flami...
pneame on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to pneame:
But I see that the real translation is trainers - how on earth do you put crampons on trainers?
IainRUK - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to pneame:
> (In reply to pneame)
> But I see that the real translation is trainers - how on earth do you put crampons on trainers?

Very easily... kahtoola's are great. Certainly allow low grade snow and ice to be passed, I've used them in grade 1 terrain no issue.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5139

there's a pic of some guy lower down on that article wearing them.
pneame on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
How cool - completely unaware of those!
Enty - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez:
> (In reply to Mr Lopez)
>
> It links to an english version on his blog:
>
> Good evening,
>
> Due to the vast quantity of news which has emerged regarding the incident at the Aguille de Midi, and to make it possible to contrast this information, Kilian Jornet has decided to give further details about what happened.
>
> With this press release, Kilian considers the subject to be closed, and will focus on continuing with the trail season as well as the new challenges of his project Summits of My Life.
>
> Further Information:
>
> "On September 7th, I had planned a mountain route on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi (France), the so-called Frendo spur. This was a route that I had already done twice before on my own with only the minimum of material. I do this type of outings frequently, alone or accompanied, as they are both the basis of my training and of my free time.
>
> I was accompanied by Emelie Forsberg and we were both equipped with light materials (short sports leggings, fine down jackets and trainers). We set off at dawn from Plan d'Aiguille, at 8:30 am to be precise, planning to return some 4 hours later, which was the time we estimated the journey would take. We had checked the weather forecast the day before, which announced bad weather as of 5 pm, and we both carried rock climbing materials (a set of friends, climbing chocks, 60m of rope ...) and also ice climbing equipment (2 ice axes each, technical crampons and ice screws).
>
> We started off at a good pace along the route, and at 9 am we started to climb roped together. At 12 we were about an hour from the summit. There, on the last stretch of the climb, we took a wrong turn and when we realized what had happened, we abseiled down to get back on the right path, losing about 3-4 hours. About 50m from the summit, my companion had a problem, and it was at that moment that we decided to call the PGHM (high mountain rescue team), aware that the weather would worsen in an hour's time. We decided to make that call so as not to take a greater risk. At that altitude, it was me who had more experience and so I was responsible for the safety of my fellow climber. We were not exposed to serious risks because we were roped together and had the chance to abseil down if rescuers had been unable to reach us.
>
> The rescue team told us that, due to the weather, a helicopter could not be used, and they would reach us on foot taking the Aiguille du Midi cable car and then abseiling down the 50m that separated them from the top of the Aiguille. It took 4h for the team to arrive at the scene after the call was made. From there, in a very professional and secure way, we were taken to the top of the Aiguille, from where the cable car took us down to Chamonix. We didn't suffer any injuries or major consequences, apart from suffering a bit from the cold.
>
> I would like to take this opportunity to thank the mountain rescue teams for their work, which is always so professional and efficient.
>
>
> This is a warning that the mountain is a hard and dangerous place, even when precautions are taken. One must be humble in the mountains, because a high price can be paid for our failures, especially when travelling light. We must accept and be aware of the risks that we are prepared to take individually and with the people who accompany us, depending on our physical and technical skill and also our experience."
>
> Kilian

So he's blaming the girl - very Spanish.

E

;-)
adnix - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

I've climbed WI3 with steel Kahtoolas and La Sportiva Boulder X. The problem there are not the crampons but the fact that the Kahtoolas are 600g and approach shoes 500g each. For 650g each you get a summer mountain boot like Scarpa Rebel Carbon and for 600g you get Camp Nano hybrid crampons. For combined weight savings of 300g it's not worth the trouble. What you save in weight you lose while climbing.

For car to car records the running shoes might be sensible but if your time runs from bergshrund to the top there's no point. Trail running shoes like Inov8 are very good for descending something like the Marmolada.
Tobias at Home - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt: although i do wonder at how they thought it was a good idea, i think people complaining about them putting rescuers at risk is a bit OTT - they were about 100m walk from the telepherique plus what was the equivalent of a top-rope being chucked down from the top of a crag.
jon on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to Tobias at Home:
> (In reply to Pinch'a'salt) although i do wonder at how they thought it was a good idea,

I think if you get success, success, success... you probably get the idea that you're invincible. For a friend of mine who was killed soloing, this was certainly the case.
Gael Force - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to Tobias at Home: I thought the PGHM had to abseil down to them, which is never without risks. Also normally this would have been a helicopter rescue, always dodgy in the mountains as I know from personal experience. I think the point people have is that the attitude he seems to have had of deliberately going so light that rescue was inevitable is displaying quite a lot of very poor judgement. They also seem to have taken the attitude that the rescue team were there to provide a back up service for them, rescue teams are not there to do that, which is why they are receiving a lot of criticism.
ablackett - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt: If anyone want's to listen to the account of his partner, who was there, she talks in a lot of detail on the Talk Ultra Podcast, episode 44 about 3:10 in.

Listening to it, she was trying to decide which would be quicker, the abseil, or the rescue decided the rescue would be quicker so waited, turns out she was wrong so is moaning that the rescuers didn't give an eta.

I have never heard of a rescuers giving an eta, but surely the rule has to be if you can sort yourself out then do that. Can't believe they just sat there and waited to be rescued.
ablackett - on 24 Sep 2013
IainRUK - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to ablackett: Aye.. I heard that.. maybe its a culture thing. For us in the UK it doesn't sound good.. that basically they chose for that over plan B.. but I'm not sure how experienced she is and if she made the call. Maybe KJ knew the ab option was more dangerous but didn't want to freak her out.. as it sounded like her head had gone.. so if so a series of exposed abseils wouldn't be great.
ablackett - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to ablackett: By the way, this is the most devastatingly dull podcast in the world. It is badly in need of an edit job. It's 4 hours long and would be pretty good if it was 30 minutes with the same content.
ablackett - on 24 Sep 2013
In reply to IainRUK: Or, i reckon they didn't have more than a handfull of gear so couldn't manage the abseil without risking getting half way down and running out of kit. Perhaps they didn't have a knife to cut bits off the rope to make more slings.
TonyG - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to ablackett:
> (In reply to ablackett) By the way, this is the most devastatingly dull podcast in the world. It is badly in need of an edit job. It's 4 hours long and would be pretty good if it was 30 minutes with the same content.

It's "Talk Ultra", mate, not "Talk 5km"... A lot of people are probably listening to it on their iPod during their weekend long run, so 4 hours is a lot better than 30mins... I really like the podcast myself, think Ian does an excellent job with a clear target audience in mind, and I enjoy all the banter between him and Karl Meltzer... I wouldn't want him to take anything out at all.
Steff - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to TonyG:

Agree. I think it's excellent. Maybe a bit too focused on the skyrunning series and "smiles and miles" is a bit daft, but otherwise great.
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ablackett - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to Steff: They had a 3-4 minute section with the lass who was with Jornet talking about how to make a raw beetroot salad. Call me old fashioned but I want a running podcast to be about running. If I tried listening to it on a long run I would end up pulling my ears off.

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