This past Autumn I made a solo ascent of Cho Oyu, Shisha Pangma’s neighboring 8000 meter peak. That ascent was my first 8000m climb and changed how I view the ethics of “by fair means”, the commercialization of the Himalaya and my motivation for these expeditions.
Cho Oyu’s standard route was a natural first choice for my Himalayan aspirations. It provided a “safe” environment to test my desire of climbing solo, unsupported and without bottled oxygen. The standard route provided mostly “easy” terrain to make for a safe and expedient retreat, if any mishaps occurred. I took away much from my time on Cho Oyu. I gained more respect for the mountains but also disappointment for the era of the Himalaya I admired as a youth, seems to be a thing of the past.
And now to the present.
I now know my body can take me to 8000 meters, I know I enjoy the minimalist style of climbing solo and it is applicable to the Himalaya. What I now what to find out, is can I “safely” take that style to a technical route, the Central Couloir of the North Face of Shisha Pangma or the daunting West Ridge. And that is my goal for this expedition, to continue exploring my physical and mental limits and the possibilities of taking this minimalist style to technical routes in the 8000m arena.
Shisha Pangma 26,289ft – Departure March 27th, 2014