II - Simone Moro new project
project | russian version
July, 2005 Expedition Finished.....!!!
In the day we summited Batokschi (6050) after 3 days of Alpine style
climb without any rope during all difficult and dangerous climb....
we began the long descent along a different and unknown route ...
We climbed down for long time in Piolet Traction on a delicate and
dangerous ice and snow. Some vertical sections requested us the
maximum concentration. The high danger of avalanche obliged us to
be fast, extremely fast, but the difficulties were always high...
Joby was behind me and he did his best to be efficient and concentrate
as he climbed down well but taking his time. Waiting for him under
seracs and cornice would have been suicide... I was in base camp
drinking cold juice and doing a sat phone call when Joby called
me on the radio. " Simone... I've been hit by an avalanche...I
survived as a miracle but... I think I broke my ankle and hip and
am seriously injured.... "
took me some seconds to realize the meaning of those words...
I immediately started the rescue effort, mostly realized from Didar
(the cook) and with help from Karim (cook assistant) and me. During
the long and painful (for Joby) walk down on the moraine till base
camp, I did some sat phone calls to our agency, Adventure Tour Pakistan,
to request a helicopter evacuation the day after. Today at 12:20
an army helicopter arrived at base camp and took Joby and me to
Gilgit... Joby has some difficulties and pain to move the leg and
walk but the first medical control said that probably nothing is
broken but he has to rest and recover some weeks as a ankle and
expedition is finished in advance, with 2 summit reached and one
new route, but our principal aim is failed due the bad luck. We
are happy because all that is missing is the sport result, Batura
2, but not the life of someone...
would like to thank Ashraf Aman and his staff Essar and Neiknam
for the strong and fast "diplomatic" effort to obtain
the military helicopter for us. Unique and great job!!!!
Thanks to God for the epilogue of the accident and the facts.....
July, 2005 Today we get up at 4 o'clock.
There was cold enough - so we haven't to break in the deep snow
till waist, like yesterday. The snow conditions was good, but we
found high climbing difficulties - this was a surprise for us. The
ridge was steep and airy and we had to climb without ropes, because
it was not possible to make an acceptable security. Joby and I were
all time in contact with our radios and continue to remember each
other to be concentrated, because it was not aloud to make errors-.
IT was impossible to go back, because of the high difficulties,
so the only possible way was to go up. At 1 p.m. we found a place
for our camp 2. In 40 minutes we set the camp at 5900 meters protected
by the big serac. We are now close to the Batokschi Peak.
Near the ridge we found some very old fixed ropes, hold by some
iron carabiners, but obviously it was not advisable to use them.
Result after 2 days: about 2000 meters climbed in alpinstile without
Ciao till tomorrow Simone and Joby
July, 2005 Finally we did start! Today
at 5 a.m. we started from basecamp at 4100 m. We began with the
German route from 2002, but after some ours we crossed to the west
ridge, because we didn't like the seracs above us. The ridge seems
more save, but it was steep and we find hard work in snow till our
waist. At 1:30 p.m. we found a place for our tend, protected by
one stone pillar. We set our camp 1 at 5170 meters, after 7 ours
of hard work in deep snow with heavy rucksacks. Tomorrow we will
try to continue, if the snow is not to deep-
Ciao till tomorrow
Follow us Simone and Joby
July, 2005 Today again bad weather but
I and Joby didn't want to take another rest day at Base camp. So
we got up at 7:00 a.m. and at 8:05 a.m. we started to attempt the
summit of Ya Chhish 5130 meter. It is not an easy mountain and it's
better to take care especially on the final ridge. It had been climbed
only one time on the 23rd May 1976 from 2 east Germany climbers.
They climbed Ya Chhish to make acclimatisation before attempting
and reaching Batura I (at that time the highest unclimbed peak of
the world). After 29 years at 11:30 Joby and I climbed the mountain
again via the east face and the delicate final ridge. We also climbed
that summit to get acclimatisation before attempting the highest
unclimbed mountain of the world in 2005....
We remained 30 minutes up there with light clothes even the weather
was bad, but no wind and no cold. At 2:30 p.m. we were in base camp
eating tortellini, salame, french frites, spaghetti alla bolognese
and at the end a good Italian coffee.
Tomorrow the weather should be again bad and we want to stay here
to take rest and the day after we will start for our climb to Batura
II throw Batokshi Peak.
Ciao Simone and Joby
July, 2005 Again bad weather.... Also
last night was snowing but thanks to the good temperature it melted
everything here in base camp. In this moment that I'm writing the
weather is again bad but today we get some hours of good conditions
and I had fun, doing some bouldering and Joby took footage and photos
. This is one of the systems to avoid to be boring and get training...
July, 2005 After many days of good weather
now we have to accept some days of bad and raining/snowing weather.
Also today, in fact, we didn't move from B.C. due a rain fall and
low clouds. So we spend time in our big and comfortable The North
Face mess tend, riding and writing at computer. I decide to start
to write my second book some month ago and now I have the time to
try to do it. I would like to see published my first book also in
other language and not only in Italian. The story of the friendship
with Anatoli Boukreev and our tragedy on Annapurna in winter 1997
is always one of the question that foreign climber make to me always.
Maybe is not so bad idea to give them the possibility to read what
We are always in touch by SMS with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner at G2
and Silvio Mondinelli at Nanga Parbat. They also have bad weather
and Silvio told me that it will be the same till next Tuesday....
July, 2005 Today
first excursion together with Joby but due the bad weather we walk
only 2 hours. All the night was raining and also this morning rain
for some couple of minutes. Rain at 4100 meters.... For that reason
the climb of Ya Chhish had been postponned. Also at the others base
camps the situation is the same. We are in touch by sat phone with
some friends at G2, Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat and Latok. Today we
will read our books and get relax. Picture - bad weather in BC:
June, 2005 Joby Ogwyn arrived at base
camp!!! He resolved all the bureaucratic problems and finally he
get here at 3:30 p.m. today. The team now is complete and the climb
can start. Probably after tomorrow. He obviously need one day rest.
June, 2005 First
cloudy day after one week of blue sky. Probably it is the best weather
condition for Joby, who is walking up to "Sheep House"
and tomorrow will arrive here in base camp. Today I went again at
the base of the face to watch the route I choose but a stone falling
push me to change idea and route.... all the snow is melted and
now in the coloir remained only stones... I will follow the same
route of the German of 2002 on the right side of the glacier descending
Also today I'm fighting with my sat modem because the mountain that
I have in front of base camp cover partially the satellite and I
have only 50% of signal that is the minimum to transmit files and
data. So many times I have no line or it cut after few seconds.
So try o send many times each message before it is able to leave
the base camp and arrive to you...
June, 2005 I
can't wait anymore..! The weather continue to be wonderful and the
conditions of the mountain now looks good and safe. Joby Ogywn is
NOT yet arrived by Jeep in the village of Bar where my cook Didar
is waiting for him since yesterday. For that reason tomorrow I will
start the climb alone trying to set camp 1 on Batokshi peak along
the route to Batura II. The good weather will not remain so good
forever.... better to do something
June, 2005 Another sunny day with blue
sky. It is already one week that I get this weather conditions and
the snow is melting fast. The avalanches continue to come down along
the icy walls and they clean the deep snow from the mountains. Today
I spoke with some friends that are in Pakistan in different expeditions
and they also told me to have the same weather conditions. We agreed
that the season 2005 is 20/25 days late and that is not a problem
to be at base camp late June and beginning of July.
Today I did another excursion at the base of the face to observe
the last details of the route...
June, 2005 Second excursion around the
base camp. Today I climbed a fore-summit of Ya Chhish, which's located
exactly in front of Batura II and Batokshi peak. From that point
I get the possibility to see our route and take nice pictures. It
had been also the occasion to do a 5 hours "trekking"
and climb till 4¦ grade UIAA in a nice ambient and rock. Today Joby
Ogwyn landed in Islamabad and immediately he took another flight
to Gilgit. Tomorrow he will start his trekking and in 3 days will
be here at base camp. Also today I send you some photos I took today
June, 2005 Joby Ogwyn, my climbing partner,
is flying now from Milano to Islamabad. Finally he got the visa
and can start the expedition and his fast approach to the base camp.
He should arrive here on 29th of June. Today I went to the base
of the face to observe the starting point of our route. I took some
photos and transport some equipment there. The altitude of the starting
point of the route is about 4250 m. Tomorrow I will go to the summit
of Ya Chhish 5130 m which is located exactly in front of the face
and from there I should see most part of our climbing line from
the bottom to the summit. Ya Chhish had been already climbed the
23rd may 1976 by two east-german climbers. Till tomorrow
June, 2005 First day at base camp. Also
today nice weather and many work to do. Fix definitively the tents,
shavelling the snow, set the solar panel together the electronic
instruments, test the emergency generator, control all the climbing
equipment. Also today I did tons of photos of the mountains around
us. There are so many unclimbed and beautiful peaks. Since tomorrow
I will show you some of them with name and altitude. I hope that
somebody will choose one to attempt in the next expedition....
June, 2005 Finally
we arrived at base camp! (4103 m). From here to the summit should
be 3659 m of difference... The place is really nice and thanks to
the porters we arrived here with all the equipment to stay till
august and made all the attempt we need. Here there is water, we
are near the wall of Batura, there is grass even still covered from
snow now. We have sun from 7 a.m to 6 p.m.. Now there're three of
us here: me, cook Didar and the kitchenboy Karim. Joby Ogwyn is
still in Italy but should fly to Islamabad in 3 days. His passport
with Pakistan visa is coming from USA to Italy. Simone
June, 2005 How big is it!!!! This is the
first sentences I said when I saw Batura II and the Batura group!!
As supposed the flat green place of the base camp of the German
expedition of 2002 is completely covered by 50/100 cm snow. Only
near the morrain we found a small green place, NOT FLAT where we
set the provisory camp for today. The porters worked hard to find
the place to organize their camp and place for all of them below
stones or protected by stone walls. Tomorrow we will cross the glacier
and set the base camp where I requested, near the face. It will
be the "Italian base camp".....
June, 2005 What a nice place here!!!
I never imagined that I could find a better place around high mountain.
The photo I send you, will not probably give you the real idea of
the beauty but believe me.... is incredible.
Around the mountains we saw today and also yesterday, there are
a lot of snow leopards and all my porters told me stories about
their meeting with the animal and that in this area there are a
lot. I can believe it, because here there is no tourism and also
very few expeditions came here in the past.
Today we stopped here at 3332 meters and not higher as scheduled,
because the porters decided to walk 2 days more (tomorrow and after
tomorrow) to help me as much as they can to arrive closer to the
mountain and not at the normal base camp that is 5/6 hours distance
from the wall. For me it should be a great help!
Today afternoon the porters played polo...here at 3332 meters highness.
They prepared the "game tools" with some wood, they provided
in the forest and the game started....
They are fantastic as the mountain here around.....
June, 2005 Karakorum,
Batura II, Simone Moro's report:
discussing and managing the loads for the porters, finally we did
start for the trekking. We have 42 porters and some of them are
the same of the German expedition of 2002. They are very nice, friendly
and strong. The valley, in witch we are trekking is really wild
and beautiful. Green and brown are the 2 colours that had been around
us during all the day. Now we are a 2782 meter of altitude and we
can see at 1 hour distance, the Baltar glacier. Tomorrow evening
we will see Batura IV and III. For Batura I and II we have to wait
one day more....
June Today we start. From Gilgit we will go by Jeep for 4/5
hours till the village of Bar where we will spend the night and
organize the porters. Tomorrow we will start the trekking to approach
Batura II throw Baltar Glacier. There is a lot of snow and this
is the reason why I choose this approach and not the Muchuchil glacier
valley. We in fact received advise from our staff, that porters
wouldn't go there because it is longer and more difficult with deep
snow. The risk is they left our equipment too far from the mountain.
On the map you can see the purple points that indicate our trekking
way. I hope to get the possibility to update the web site and give
you information and photos also along the trekking (if batteries
will work without to be charged anymore till base camp).
So everybody on board that the games are starting...
June Today I saw white mountains. Even with one hour delay,
I flew to Gilgit today and in the clouds I saw mountains of this
area, mostly Nanga Parbat. The snow it look really deep and more
than usual for this season and in the few minutes of the clear sky
I took some pictures to Nanga to show you. I also tried to watch
in the direction of Rakaposhi and Batura but it was impossible to
see because there was to cloudy sky and flew to low.
The sun in any case continue to be the principal actor of the day
and it should be good to melt the heavy snow on Karakorum mountains-
The news I get from here about Baltoro area is that from Urdukas
to the base camp of K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, the porters
have to walk in the snow with the obvious difficulties.
Tomorrow should arrive in Gilgit by truck and bus all the expedition's
equipment and my cook Didar and the kitchenboy. After tomorrow we
should start to trek to base camp.
Today I also spoke with Joby in Italy (his new home) and he confirmed
me that his passport arrived in USA and in Pakistan embassy there.
I hope and wish that the visa will be organized fast and Joby will
come here to begin the adventure soon...
Ciao to everybody. I'm here again after some month silence after
the first winter climb I realized with Piotr on Shisha Pangma 8027
m (officially registred)
My new project you should know and you can read on my web site and
the most important international web sites. The expedition started
with some problems because we have to fight to obtain the pakistan
visa from the embassy in Italy and finally only I get it... Joby
Ogwyn had to send his passport to Usa and is waiting to get it back
with the visa. For that reason I'm in Islamabad alone and I already
made the briefing at the minister of Tourism, collected the equipment
sent by cargo 2 weeks ago and tomorrow I will fly to Gilgit and
than start with the trekking. Now I have another big problem, because
I get 2 different advices from 2 friends who knows Batura very well.
Wolfgang Heichel (the most informed man about this mountain area)
told me to go to Batura II along the Muchuchil Glacier. Markus Walter
the last climber who attempted Batura II in 2002 suggest me to go
along the Baltar Glacier. There are 2 different valleys and approach.
Which I have to follow??!! Also in ATP agency of Ashraf Aman I get
2 advices from 2 different cooks who was in the 2 different glaciers
in different expeditions. The advices are different also.... The
only thing it looks agreed that from Baltar Glacier should and could
be less dangerous..... maybe.
Soon you will have the result of my decision ( I have a coin to
play the choice........:-)
There are too many people at 8000 meters, and each one is trying
to complete the collection of 14 mountains higher than that fateful
altitude. For those who do not aspire to the collection but nonetheless
aim to reach the summit without a thought that in 95% of the cases
it means climbing the "normal" route which though difficult,
represents the first an ascent made half a century ago. Another
fashion is of achieving the first ascent of one's "category"
on "X" summit; the first Italian, the first American,
the first Senegalese, the first deaf man, the first lame man, the
first woman, the first man to walk up backwards, the first white
man, black, yellow, the fastest, the most handsome, the richest,
the-.most stupid. I myself have had encounters with some of the
above and I myself have "sinned" by climbing up the normal
routes, but I now understand that real alpinism travels along other
tracks towards a vertical adventure, physical and mental. I therefore
attempted, sometimes successfully, or by failing, winter ascents,
new routes, traverses, speedy ascents, trying to grab the baton
left by the great alpinists of the past. I tried in a few words
to create my own alpinism, and not to clone what had been done so
well in the past.
extra-European alpinism has been reduced to shortsightedness with
little imagination. With a few pleasant exceptions, alpinists are
all categorized in the same way in terms of their climbing, thinking,
in talking about themselves and in the way they conceive their direction
and mountaineering "career". Virgin mountains, new routes
on unknown faces, repetitions of climbs achieved only once and never
again revisited, winter ascents, traverses of a number of mountains
and many other forms of alpinism are lacking from the current trend
of mountaineering. There are very few people who undertake this
new type of adventure, and are mainly from Eastern Europe or nonetheless
rare individuals from the national and international panorama. The
reasons for this are many, amongst the main reasons is the inability
to accept a potential failure and the difficulty in terms of appealing
to the greater public concerned that there will be no comparison
with the 8000 meter ascents (if 6000-7000 meter peaks are chosen.)
One needs only to look at any internet site in the pre-and post-monsoon
seasons and you will be overwelmed by information regarding climbing
on the highest peaks of the world-but for goodness sake-they are
all the same, all in line-
Climbing mountains is always filled with uncertainty and hard work,
I am the first person to confirm this, but as well as the physical
effort one needs imagination, inventiveness, and a hunger for the
unknown and adventure. It's not whether or not you have a satellite
phone that eliminates these assumptions. By using communication
instruments, great pages of true alpinism can be told as well as
very boring titanic exertions dragging oneself up a summit which
has already been climbed a hundred times in the same style and along
the same route. Even being unsuccessful acquires another flavor
if one has attempted to play an innovative mountaineering match,
different from the usual and current cliches. The most frequent
questions asked in the global village of alpinists and mountaineering
fans are "How many 8000 meter peaks have you climbed?"
or "How many times have you climbed Everest?" and this
now seems to be the measure by which to list and attribute merit.
If you attempt a different type of alpinism, express yourself in
many different languages or write books (and not let someone else
write them for you), if you move well on all terrain (rock, ice,
mixed), if you can recount what you do and what you feel in a fluent
way, if you declare successes and failure with the same tone of
voice, you are seen in a bad light and not tolerated in the eyes
and minds of the main characters on the alpinism stage. Criticism
and mistrust are the reactions to the above qualities. Messner,
on the other hand, still the "number one", should have
taught something in terms of versatility of physical sporting aptitude
and mental and entrepreneurial qualities-
It is from this harsh and critical analysis (which will bring me
new enemies) of the world in which I belong, that a few years ago
my differing mountaineering journey started, and it is from this
base that I thought about my new project. I tried to materialize
the concepts of altitude, difficulty, solitude, uncertainty, adventure
and the unknown into a unique mountaineering project. I asked myself
which was the highest, un-violated, unclimbed mountain in the world?
It is a well known fact that there are hundreds of un-violated and
unexplored mountains on our planet and I wanted to find the identity
of the highest of these peaks. Batura II is 7762 meters and is located
in Pakistan's western Karakorum in the Batura Muztagh group. Batura
II is also called Pik 31 or Hunza Kunji. It was extremely difficult
to locate and find exact information on its history. Many internet
sites and some publications listed it as one of the summits climbed
in 1978 by a Japanese expedition. I then discovered, thanks to precious
and scientific information from the German Wolfgang Heichel, that
it had NEVER been climbed and that there have been 4 attempts to
climb the summit. The first one in 1959 by an Anglo-German expedition,
then in 1978 by the Japanese which was concluded by reaching Batura
IV by Ishikawa Ito and Makoto Ohkubo, after having tried the Southern
face of Batura II. It was the climber Ito that supplied the details
concerning the climb and revealing the achievement of Batura IV.
The Poles then tried in 1983 but they then fell back on Batura I
after an attempt on Batura II. The Germans tried again in 2002.
I was given information and pictures by Markus Walter, taken during
their recent attempt.Thank God alpinism is anything but dead. There
is still climbers who are trying to escape from its fossilization
and in my small way I am trying to help this change.
Batura II with its 7762 meters represents the highest un-violated
mountain on this earth. Even if there are still some fore-summits
(or satellite summits) of mountains with a higher altitude that
await to be climbed, for example Lhotse middle east 8376 m or Nupse
central 7815 m and a few others, these summits are not considered
independent and autonomous as is the case of Batura II which is
thus identified even by its name (Batura II and not Batura east,
or west, or central) as a mountain which is part of the Batura Muztagh
group in the same way as those belonging to the Annapurna group,
which were also identified with the names I,II, III, IV etc according
to their altitude and independent location.The southern face of
Batura II, the side which will be the object of our attempt, is
definitely more difficult but less dangerous compared to the western
face. It is the same face on which previous attempts were made,
but which we will attempt by following a new and different line
from what has been followed up until now.
My climbing partner will be the American alpinist and cameraman
Joby Ogwyn. It will only be the two of us in the whole region of
Batura Muztagh and this will guarantee solitude and total independence
which is at the core of our philosophy. If we add these factors
to the extreme high altitude of the summit, the unknown factor of
the ascent route and the complete "virginity" of the whole
upper section of the mountain and the actual summit, we can only
claim that our project is at the same time exciting, difficult and
adventurous. Only in the depths of winter or in very few other situations
or faces can you find this situation on an 8000 meter peak.
Timing of the Expedition and Plans of Communication
Our departure is set for Sunday 5th June 2005 from Milano Malpensa.
We will arrive in Islamabad on the 6th and after sorting out bureaucratic
formalities at the Pakistan Ministry of Tourism and preparing the
mountaineering food and equipment for the next two months, we will
set off for Batura. We will follow the road to Chilas and then to
Aliabad. The third day will be spent on a jeep till we reach Hassanabad.
From there, after 4 days of trekking we will reach base camp on
the Batokshi glacier where we will install our base camp at approximately
3900 meters. We will dedicate almost two months of our time trying
to climb the mountain and explore the area. We will not have or
use high altitude porters or oxygen for our climb and we will only
have our Pakistani cook who will help us with life at base camp.
An ultra-light style of climbing will be recounted daily via satellite
using our satellite technology Thuraya (supplied by Intermatica
srl for vocal message) and through a modem Regional B-Gan (supplied
by Telemar for internet and data). It will therefore be possible
to follow our progress on the mountain and to see the pictures directly
on the internet site www.simonemoro.com in 6 different languages
simultaneously. Solar panels and a small generator will provide
the necessary energy to feed the radios, telephones and computer
for sending information from base camp and from the mountain (in
this case by palm-top).