/ Will anyone ever climb all the 8K peaks in one year?

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Annoying Twit 14 Apr 2011
Could anyone ever climb all of the 8K peaks in one year?

I ask because I'm reading Ed Visteurs' "No Shortcuts to the Top" at the moment. It seems that in 1995, he climbed three 8K peaks proper, and also climbed to the South Summit of Everest, which for the purposes of argument counts as an 8K summit in terms of precedent I believe. That makes four peaks in quite a short time. A little under a third of the total.

The third and fourth peaks were Gasherbrum II and I, climbed without 02 in very short times, and at the top of GII he reports feeling very strong and fit. That's a fair proportion of the 8K peaks in a very short time, with only a two weak break out of the Greater Himalaya, and it makes me wonder if a once in a generation climber with the constitution, skill, and motivation of a Messner or a Kukuczka, could do all of them in one year. If it hasn't been done, and is actually plausible, then surely it would count as one of the all-time great feats in mountaineering. Would it not?

I'd guess that to do them in one year, there'd need to be some winter ascents, hence my mention of Kukuczka. It'd also be pretty damn risky. But, will it ever be done?

Looking at the 8K Wikipedia page, nobody has climbed all 14 in less than an eight year span. Just from that I'd guess that all 14 in one year is too much an ask, but I'd like to ask those who are more experienced for their opinion.
beardy mike 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit: I have no idea if it's possible, but can I be the first to say The Swiss Machine - it would have to be a man like Steck if it ever happened... He's already posted very quick times on Himalayan peaks and it would certainly be a challenge worthy of his skills!
Damo 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:
> the South Summit of Everest, which for the purposes of argument counts as an 8K summit in terms of precedent I believe.

Er, no. Never.

But all in a year? Of course it will be done. It's been tried, those Spanish brothers (Martinez'?) back in the 90s or so. They only got about three or four. Mr Park did five and I think Ms.Oh or her rival did six.

It's much more about logistics, money and weather than climbing ability. Assuming you can get and sustain the motivation, you need the money for multiple helo flights between basecamps, a few partners (preferably good Sherpas) and luck with the weather.

Feb - Cho Oyu
April/May - Lhotse, Everest, Kanchenjunga
June/July/August - G1-G2-BP-K2
Sept - Nanga Parbat, Makalu
Oct - Manaslu, Dhaulagiri
Nov - Annapurna, Shisha
In reply to Annoying Twit: I'm sure there could theoretically be humans who can cope with that much in terms of onslaught to their physiology - or am I? On average, that leaves 26 days per peak. Sure, some are close to eachother and can be wrapped up together, but many would involve a lot of travelling time between basecamps, and therre are many thousands of metres vertically between BCs and summits.

A bigger obstacle would be the seasonality of Himalayan expeditions - for example, a lot of climbing gets done in pre-monsoon or post-monsoon seasons, but not in the monsoon season which goes on for months. I reckon that would hugely limit the anmount of time avaible in a year to do it.
ice.solo 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:

thats a biggie, and worthy of the mental exercise.

the strategy would be impressive: what order the peaks were done it according to the need to acclimatize, season, location and access. would one start with 'easier' peaks in winter, move to nepal for the early season, pakistan for mid year, back to nepal for late season then finish off with some 'accessible' late season stuff.

i dont claim to have any real idea, but would be keen to see some schedule ideas.

i wonder if opening up the chinese north sides would make a difference

gotta agree that the stecks, ubrekos and zangrellis are the start of the possibility.
In reply to ice.solo: Good post. But I think also no matter how much planning takes place, big things change, winter stays longer or the monsoon starts earlier, snow falls too heavily or stays longher than usual, so many things could interrupt the schedule.
ice.solo 14 Apr 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

absolutely agree. with that much time spent above 5000m time spent resting and waiting out weather is still far from true recovery.

think about 3 - 5 days per ascent once acclimatized (i know, very broad numbers there), maybe 10 days to acclimatize for the first peak (obviously theres a trade off with acclimatizing on a 6500-7000m peak previously, but which, where, when?), which drops the whole schedule to something like one 5 day peak bid (ascent plus descent) every 21 days....

interesting stuff.

think too about loss of body mass ratioed to calories consumed and consumable.

in some way the models offered by people like lance armstrong, dean karnazes, yannis kouris etc come into this as well as speed climbers. its not just about scheduling, weather and climbing but the ability to recover from the output.

feck, im ging to be thinking about this for ages now.
Annoying Twit 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to Annoying Twit)
> [...]
>
> Er, no. Never.
>

I'm just in reading replies mode at the moment. I just wanted to point out that by including Visteurs' Everest South Summit in my precedent to make four 8K peaks in a short time, I was only using it as a precedent in terms of the sum total physical exertion in a short period of time. I'm not suggesting that you'd be able to slip the South Summit past Miss Hawley in terms of being an actual peak for record purposes.

Damo 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:

And when you said 'one year' I took it to mean a calendar year, January to December. It may prove better to go June 1st to June 30th, using G1&G2 to acclimatise for K2 at the beginning. The big stumbling blocks are K2 and Annapurna, so best to get at least one out of the way early or the rest is pointless.

In 1996 Wielicki did K2 and NP in short succession, the latter completely solo. Elisabeth Revol recently did the G1-G2-BP trilogy in a couple of weeks, as Loretan and Rudi did back in '83. Escoffier did G1-G2-K2 all in one trip (1985?). All were done with no big logistics, just small teams. Andres Georges combined both Annapurna and Dhaulagiri in a row a while back, solo with some Sherpa help. So many of these, or similarly relevant, combos have been done by strong climbers with minimal logistics.

I think if someone was serious about it they would budget to try it once and fail, then try again. The chances of synchronising the weather, conditions, health etc on the first try are pretty low. With helos you'd be looking at around US$20k per peak, including Sherpa help, plus more for Everest. So over US$300k for the first try. Plenty of expeditions over the years have cost more than that.
Annoying Twit 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to Annoying Twit)
>
> And when you said 'one year' I took it to mean a calendar year, January to December. It may prove better to go June 1st to June 30th, using G1&G2 to acclimatise for K2 at the beginning. The big stumbling blocks are K2 and Annapurna, so best to get at least one out of the way early or the rest is pointless.
>

Yes, I did mean a calendar year.

If you've seen the film "Contact", I think it would take a S. R. Haddon type to make it happen. Someone with both his resources and probably his personality type as well. And while I'm looking for the opinions of those with proper experience to say what would be what, I would imagine that it would be a team effort. Possibly, given what some people have said concerning it not necessarily being the climber so much as the organisation, with a team of climbers who attempt the peaks in different orders to try and average out some of the luck of the weather and all the other things that can happen.
deepstar 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit: I reckon your Robot could do it.
AndyC 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:
>
>surely it would count as one of the all-time great feats in mountaineering. Would it not?
>

No - it would be one of the all-time great athletic, logistic and sponsorship feats, requiring a dedicated hot-line to whatever deity controls the weather. But it wouldn't have much to do with great mountaineering.

Ascent of all 14 peaks in alpine style without oxygen, fixed ropes or porters and avoiding all the 'normal routes'... now that would be a feat of mountaineering.
jackcarr14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:

I'm claiming no. I just don't think anyone would get enough perfect conditions.
JR 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:

I understand Ueli is planning on 6 this year, he's on my permit for one...
radson 15 Apr 2011
In reply to JR:

Cool, his website is a bit vague

http://www.himalayaspeed.com/
Mr Lopez 15 Apr 2011
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to Annoying Twit)
> [...]
>
> Er, no. Never.
>
> But all in a year? Of course it will be done. It's been tried, those Spanish brothers (Martinez'?) back in the 90s or so. They only got about three or four.

Novas brothers.

They weren't really going for the 14 anyway. They had to try something big if they were to get any sponsorship, so had the great idea of selling the "14 in a year" plan and try to tick as many as they could.

They got 5 BTW.
blondel 15 Apr 2011
I can see two challenges emerging here. Anyone?

qv Damo:

> Feb - Cho Oyu
> April/May - Lhotse, Everest, Kanchenjunga
> June/July/August - G1-G2-BP-K2
> Sept - Nanga Parbat, Makalu
> Oct - Manaslu, Dhaulagiri
> Nov - Annapurna, Shisha

qv AndyUKC:

> Ascent of all 14 peaks in alpine style without oxygen, fixed ropes or porters and avoiding all the 'normal routes'... now that would be a feat of mountaineering.

Isn't that what dreams are for?



AndyC 15 Apr 2011
In reply to JR:
> (In reply to Annoying Twit)
>
> I understand Ueli is planning on 6 this year, he's on my permit for one...

Has Ueli has signed up with Lela Peak? Or are Lela combining with another operator for the permit? Would be great if he was going with them, but Anwar hasn't mentioned it.

I guess he'll just jog over from Shisha - better watch your back or you could end up face down in the snow covered with Swiss boot prints

AndyC 15 Apr 2011
In reply to blondel:

> qv AndyUKC:
>
> [...]
>
> Isn't that what dreams are for?

It's on my list for my next life.
Henry Iddon 15 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:

http://www.737challenge.com/challenge.html

These ex-sportsmen are all at it.

Annoying Twit 15 Apr 2011
In reply to Henry Iddon:

It looks to me, not that I claim to really know, that they've left the hardest three until last.
blondel 15 Apr 2011
In reply to AndyUKC:
> It's on my list for my next life.

In that case I'll join you in the after-life. You up for the other one then as well?

TheAvenger 15 Apr 2011
In reply to Annoying Twit:
> (In reply to Henry Iddon)
>
> It looks to me, not that I claim to really know, that they've left the hardest three until last.

I reckon Vinson is the hardest of the lot, and he seems to have ticked it already.

Not bad going the lad. If he's lucky on Everest he'll have cracked it. If they reopen Elbrus that is.

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