NO2 Limits: Steck and Moro Team up for Everest
Climbing everest is hard enough. Without bottled oxygen, even harder. No set route? That usually carries a name like Ueli Steck.
Ulie Steck, the Swiss speed climber and Simone Moro, the Italian alpinist are attempting to climb Everest (8848m), off of the commercial route and without bottled oxygen.
Moro is known for his winter ascents of 8000 meter peaks, and has summited Everest four times.
Steck has climbed the three big North Faces of the Alps in winter (Matterhorn, Eiger and Grand Jorasses) in record time (7h 4min altogether). He also takes speed to the 8000 meter peaks: in 2011 he soloed the South Face of Shisha Pangma (8027m) in just 10.5 hours.
The third member of the team is Jonathan Griffith from the UK. Griffith, now living in Chamonix, has done numerous ascents of the big hard routes in the Mount Blanc Massif as well as further abroad. In addition to his climbing ability, the specialty that Griffith brings to the team is his skill with a camera. He will be documenting the expedition from start to finish.
Few people attempt to climb the world's highest peak without oxygen because of the physiological stresses put on the body. It is thought that the ability to climb Everest without such aid is genetically linked. In 1978, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler were the first to climb Everest without supplemental oxygen. Since then there have been a number of attempts and success and in 2012 Steck summited Everest without using bottled oxygen.
There are over 18 named routes on Everest and a couple that are still unclimbed. The vast majority of climbers use two routes, the South Col or the Northeast Ridge Standard, also known as the North Col route.
Their exact line will be decided while they acclimatize, and their decision will be based on conditions both on the mountain and within themselves. There are so many factors that dictate the optimal route, the team can only make the key decision of what to climb when on the mountain itself, gauging fitness, weather and snow conditions.
Currently the team is in Lobouche, Nepal, acclimatizing and preparing for their summit attempt, which they believe will be no sooner than mid May.
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