Tomaz Humar (Slovenia)
New Alpine Solo Route on the South Face of Annapurna
Pictures: Tomas Humar
Red line followed by Tomaz Humar (6000-7500 m). Orange line: Hyzer -Kukuzcka Polish Route.
Tomaz Humar just before the summit (Dhaulagiri and Niligiri in the background).
Bivouac 1 (5800 m) on a small ice platform. Photo: Tomaz Humar (click to enlarge).
Path to Annapurna East summit (8047 m).
View from the top of the East Ridge. Base camp is nestled between the clouds and Hiunchuli can be seen in the background.
Rock Island (part of the ascent between 5000 and 5800 m)
View of the South Wall of Annapurna from 5800 m.
View from bivouac 2, 7200 m.
"Jagat and I descending back to ABC (5100 m)... finally out of danger."
Red line: Tomaz Humar 2007. Orange line: Hajzer-Kukuczka 1988. Photo:
The debrief arrives from the C.A.M.P.
Humar's route is completely new and was climbed solo in pure alpine style on an area of the wall that has been faced just once in the past (the Hajzer-Kukuczka Polish team climbed a line on this face in 1988). With detailed route drawings and after verifying with Arthur Hajzer, it is clear that the two routes are totally independent and cover completely different terrain. The only point of intersection between he routes is at 5800 meters on the ice platform where Humar established his first bivy. Further information about the 1988 polish route can also be found inside the 1989 American Alpine Journal (pgs. 217-219)
Humar remarks, "I climbed a new route in pure alpine style without knowing that a team climbed this wall in 1988 not far from my new route. I climbed the route in just 2 days (up and down) in terrible conditions. For all of September the weather was extremely rainy and snowy with only a few breaks."
"When I started climbing, the wind from north-northwest - called the Jet Stream - became vicious, reaching speeds of 100-150 km/h. In 1997 the same kind of wind was the reason for the death of my partner Janez Jeglic."
24th October: "I start out with my friend Jagat Limbu. We cross the glacier and weave our way through mixed rock and ice pillars under the main wall at 5800m. We stage our first bivy on a small ice platform at 5800 meters. Bivouac 1 (5800 m) on a small ice platform Rock Island (part of the ascent between 5000 and 5800 m)."
25th October: "We remain in our bivy at 5800 meters all day due to strong winds and stomach problems. Moreover, I did not feel acclimatized. I had only climbed Tharpu Chuli (5690 m) as a warm-up peak and did not sleep higher than 5300 meters. These are insufficient altitudes to adequately acclimate for an 8000 meter peak."
26th October: "I start climbing at 6 a.m. - no helmet, no rope, no harness - just bivy gear, some food and gas. I leave everything else with Jagat who would face the descent alone in case I did not come back. At 3 p.m., I start digging a hole in the ice at 7200 meters. This is my second bivy."
"I spend the entire day inside the ice hole to acclimatize more - I do not want to take any risk of edema. The wind is really strong reaching speeds greater than 100 km/h."
28th October: "The alarm goes off at 6 a.m. I have not slept. I have just been waiting and waiting for a good moment to leave. The sky is clear. The wind is strong : and cold (I had been warned by Swiss weather not to cross the ridge due to strong winds from the Jet Stream). I climb very light carrying just 2 liters of juice which freeze within the first hour. After two hours, I make it to the East Ridge at 7500 meters where Loretan and Joss passed in 1984. Despite very strong winds, I continue towards the East Summit."
"By 10 a.m., I have crossed most of the East ridge and the summit feels close at hand. With each passing hour, the wind grows stronger. As I climb higher, ice and snow falls increase in intensity and frequency and the risk of avalanche becomes more extreme."
"I am standing on the East Summit at 8047 meters before 3 p.m. I trust God, I pray, I feel safe! Even if the weather is good I would never dare to continue to the main summit at 8091 m as God gave me the possibility to reach it already once in 1995. It was my first 8000 m, this is the only answer I have to why I chose Annapurna, it's 20 years since alpinism became "my way of life".
"I immediately begin my descent. The shadow of the snow cornice is growing long. I call Jagat to tell him that I am on my way back. He is really happy to hear from me. The last contact we had was at 10:00 a.m. and since then he has been praying for me. As night closes in, I reach the beginning of the East Ridge."
"I am very tired and it has been a long time since I have been able to eat or drink. It is completely dark and I cannot see any of my tracks. I am lost, but in my soul I know that God is with me. My headlamp is not working due to low temperatures and I have to wait in the cold and dark for the moon to rise before continuing. I reach my bivy at 7200 meters at 8:25 p.m. I am totally exhausted.
I send this sms:
BLESSED, IN BIVAC. NEW ROUTE UP TO 7500M +, THEN MY THE LONGEST JOURNEY TO MYSELF. ANNAPURNA EAST 8000M + AND BACK AFTER 14 HOURS IN EARTH TIME. EVERYTHING WAS O.K. , BUT IF IS THIS WIND 60 KM/H THEN I DRIVE MY CAR SLOVLY. #
"I enter meditation and I prepare a cup of tea as I wait for dawn to come."
29th October: "At 8 a.m. I start climbing down to my first bivy at 5800 meters. I meet Jagat here after four hours (1400m) of descending. I call my doctor, Anda Perdan, who is waiting at base camp. I also call my parents, my girlfriend, my children and the agency : everything is okay, I reached the summit and have descended safely! We continue to base camp (4150m) on the same day reaching it at 8:30 p.m."
"After explaining the details of the ascent until 2 a.m., we gather our gear at base camp and make ready for the return home. In the afternoon, we organize the rescue of three members of a Korean expedition on the Annapurna Fang. Then we descend to Chumrung at 2100 meters."
2nd November: "We reach Kathmandu after being in Pokhara the day before. I meet with Elizabeth Hawley and Richard Salisbury for four hours giving them pictures and an official report - the same details as outlined above."
7th November: "I am back home in Slovenia."