SIMONE MORO: I don't want to be a high-altitude tourist at 8000...

Spring 2006

Expedition chronicle

May, 21 2006 Everest Traverse from South to North.

Phonecall at 1:00 a.m. Italian time:
I used oxygen for some hours. I started at 10 p.m. Nepal time and I was fast. I reached the summit of Everest. This is the 3rd time that I summit Everest. Now I'm descending on Tibetan side and in this moment I'm at camp 3. I traversed Everest from South to North-. I'm feeling well and now I will continue my descending. We hear as later again. When I will reach basecamp will begin another adventure, because I pasted the mountain and now I'm in Tibet-..
Ciao till later

5 hours later - another call from Simone:

"Ciao. I-m really happy, because the conditions on the mountain were not so good this year. I trust in Karl Gabl's weather forecast and he was right as usual. I started out at 11 (Nepal time) from South Col at 8000 meters and reached the summit at 3.15. I didn-t meet any other people after that. Because there where no summiteers from the North side in the last days, the fixed ropes were covered by snow and it was hard to pull them out.

I traversed alone: I met the first people between camp 2 and camp 1. I got my first compliments from the Sherpas, and they continue to visit with me. I was fast. I reached the summit in 5 hours and arrived at base camp 8:25 in the morning. I'm not sure what I'll do next, now that I-m perfectly acclimatised and very fit-.Check in with me later, Simone."

Photo: Simone at the top at 3 a.m.

May, 18, 2006 Instead, the Italian climber has turned towards - Everest! Simone started out from camp 4 this morning, but found the couloir he had wanted to climb too packed with snow. "Now I-m at Everest South Col at 8000 meters. I feel good and tonight I will try to make Everest without oxygen," Simone dispatched only a couple of hours ago.

May, 6, 2006 "Hi, I'm really angry-. I reached the end of the fixropes and had a really bad surprise-. my rucksack was not there, with everything inside!!! I reached camp 3 in about 2 ? hours and I felt perfect, but now??? I don't have a downjacket here, somebody stole everything, my iceaxes (and I have not one more in base camp), my prototype tent from TNF, my downjacket, my sleeping bag, my batteries for the satellite phone, my walkie-talkies, everything is gone!!! My moral collapsed, also because the plan was to reach 8000 and more tomorrow-. My last hope is that a sherpa move my rucksack to another place, but I just looked for it for more than 40 minutes-. Nothing-

May, 5, 2006 24 hours ago I left Kathmandu and now I'm here at 6400 meters in camp 2. Today I felt good and in 3 hours and 49 minutes I reached camp 2 starting from the base camp. Now it's snowing, but in the morning the weather was quite good. For
tomorrow and after tomorrow the weather forecast is similar, but Monday the
weather will became worse. Ciao Simone

May, 4, 2006 Only 60 minutes flight and I'm again in Base camp. I left the comfort and the chaos of Kathmandu and now I'm in the silence, 4000 meters higher than the
capital. The flight and the view had been wonderful. Today, in fact, I returned to my tend after the 2 days spent to help Walter Berard to organize his medical visit in the hospital and work on the bureaucracy to organize his flight back to Italy and to contact the insurance company to start the procedure to cover the expenses of the rescue.Now Walter feel much better. He is strong and he had only impact traumas but no other injury.

Tomorrow I will climb to the high camp and in 3 days I dream to reach, if I feel
good, the 8000 meters... We will see....

Ciao Simone

April, 27 2006 Third day of antibiotic therapy and tooth continues to pain. Yesterday I phoned to my Dentist Fabrizio Gamba and he told me that it is an inflammation under the
artificial tooth I get since 3/4 years. That's why I started a 5 days cycle of
Antibiotic and this is also the reason why I'm still in base camp. The pain become
strong if I press vertically the tooth (when I eat the pain become unsupportable)
but during the day the pain is no so bad...

Today I planned to go to C2 and tomorrow to C3, but as I told I prefer to finish
the antibiotic therapy here at base camp. The forecast for next days is also quite

Here at base camp the life is going as usual and there are always many things to
do. The news we get from Kathmandu said that slowly the situation is returning
toward the normal life. The democracy process started again and we hope that the
King will not influence the decision of the people and the parliament. Also the
Maoist has to be invited at the table to discuss their position and find a solution.

Today my Polish friends with whom I'm sharing base camp, services and Everest
permit reached C2. They will remain there for 2 days and maybe after that period
they will attempt to go C3.

April, 24 2006 Simone from the Base Camp:

After 3 days and 3 night spent at 6400 at C2 due a storm and heavy snowfall, I'm again here at 5300 meters of base camp in a sunny day. Included the night spent on the summit of Island peak there are already 4 night spent to acclimatize. Yesterday had been a difficult day with a extrem effort. In C2, blocked by the
storm there were not only me, but aslo 12 sherpas and 3 alpinists. So I supposed
to get a big help braking trail in 1 meter of fresh snow towards camp 1. With a big surprised and angry, I had to work very hard helped from 2 sherpas, Ang Dorji
and Zulding, we did the biggest part of the work. Four hours braking trail and
look for the fix rope covered from the fresh snow. I didn't understud if the other sherpas and climbers was to tired and unabled to help or wich was the reason of the missing help....

On the photo: Simone with Sherpas Ang Dorji and Zulding; Everst: Descent from C2 to C1.

Exausted we arrived to C1 where we found many other climbers blocked since 3 days
due the same reason. They were all in line, fixed in the rope but waiting for
someone who works in braking trail towards Base Camp, meeting the 20 sherpas
coming from the bottom working braking trails and opening the ice fall. Why the
most experienced, the guide, the strongest of the climbers of C1 were only waiting
and not working????!!! There was also some of them that were only able to speak
into the walkie talkie and give orders. Stupid! Go first and work an don't waste
time to give stupid orders. In that case the only thing that is necessary is power
in the legs and in the muscles and no strategies!!!

So, even exausted I and the 2 sherpas continued to brake the trail and after 1
hours we meet the strong 20 sherpas coming from the bottom and we had been able to
reach the base camp few hours later. No comments....

The bad news of the day is the daid of 3 sherpas during their climb to C2. A huge
serac felt down right in the moment that the 3 sherpas was crossing that

They were here to work and now they will remain here forewer. No comment...no
word...only reflections....

Some of the sherpas alive, that were close to the three, came in base camp and
came also to me asking to telephone at home announcing the tragedy or the missing

April, 19 2006 Simone's still in C2. Here's the dialogue between Barbara (Simone's wife) and Simone:

I: Hi, how is the situation today?
Simone: Nothing to do, also today and this night I have to stay here in C2...

I: How are you?
Simone: I'm calm and Ok. I have food and gas for 3-4 days.

I: There is somebody else there?
Simone: Yes, I discovered 3 tends with 3 Austrian 5 minutes above me and 10 sherpas 20 minutes above me. All blocked. The Icefall is closed.

I: Everybody is ok?
Simone: Yes, but the people in C1 are without food and gas and are locking for in the other tends- My pulse is 58 per minute and I have enough food and gas.

Ciao till tomorrow Simone

April, 18 2006 I'm still in camp 2 and I'm well. To much snow for going down. I will try to go down tomorrow. My batteries are low... Ciao Simone

April, 17 2006 I climbed fast. After 5 hours I arrived at camp 2 with my 26 kilos rucksack. Than I worked 1 hour for my tend platform. I took ice for cooking the "tortellini"...

In early April Simone joined Polish-Russian Everest Expedition for acclimatizing at Island peak. He climbed it and spent the night at the top. Then he came to the Everest base camp. Apr, 17 Simone began to work at Khumbu icefall.

The laws of sport teach us, morally oblige us not only to respect the rules of the game, but to declare the "game", the objective to be achieved, then the acceptance of the final result. For this reason, even if deliberately, a little late compared to usual, here is my next alpine step...

I am going, again, for the third time to climb Lhotse. Yes, the same place, for the third time! Why? You should have understood that the collection of 8000 meter peaks as a result does not interest me and has become for 98% of Himalayan climbers, the only way to approach climbs at very high altitude and try to become professional alpinists.

In a provocative manner, instead, in the year of the 50th Anniversary of the ascent of the fourth highest mountain, I would like to commemorate that first ascent of half a century ago, by trying to achieve one of "my own", which will become an offspring of the year 2006, and of the changes that only some alpinism and alpinists have had. There will still be many, lined up even this year to attempt to climb the fixed ropes which will lead just like in 1956 to the summit of the fourth highest mountain in the world, Lhotse, with its 8516 meters. I shall try to force my way out of the binding forces of " the summit at all costs, because I have to collect another summit" and try to keep faith with the philosophy of "let's try to bind our how we do it with the possible success ". I have just displayed not only a play on words, a verbal pirouette. More simply it is about deciding to climb in line and being the 300th on the summit of Lhotse or being like the great explorers of the vertical, a small forerunner of a new great vertical adventure. History or statistics, these are the two different pages which can be written with this diverse approach. I cannot hide that I would really like to be part of, aspire to become part of the former -It is a great dream, but if I am allowed to have it, let it be. I know very well where I can arrive-

The Project

There is only one climbed route on the Lhotse West face, the one of the first ascent on 18 May 1956. It was opened by a Swiss expedition led by A. Eggler, following the ascent route of Everest as far as an altitude of 7800 meters, then changing direction towards the narrow ice-snow couloir, which leads directly to the Lhotse top. On that day in 1956 F. Luchsinger and E. Reiss reached the summit. Today apart from the Swiss 'normal' route there are two others which lead to the summit and go along the south face. There are also another three which go to Lhotse Shar or on to Lhotse Middel. The East face (the Tibetan side) of the mountain is unclimbed yet. That won't be my goal now. Too difficult and complicated for the solo.

I shall climb solo and without oxygen during this attempt to summit Lhotse along a new variant at the West face. The crowds of 'groups' on Everest and Lhotse face will mean that my attempt will not be completely solitary till camp 2 at 6300 metres, at the base of the West face of Lhotse - the normal routes to Everest and Lhotse coincide there and there is no logical alternative route (unless climbing the East face of Nuptse at 7864 meters). The routes of Everest and Lhotse continue on the same line till 7800 meters and then take different directions. The route to Lhotse is therefore a 700 meter variant compared to the normal Everest route.

My search for an eventual alternative new itinerary will start from this point and could after fifty years represent the second climbing route to the summit of the fourth highest mountain in the world along the west face. In case of heavy snowfalls or obvious objective dangers this search will undergo inevitable variations and corrections, avoiding the lines most exposed to eventual avalanches. Obviously these hypothetical lines of ascent are already in my mind and have been observed on the basis of my previous ascents of the summits of Lhotse and Everest (climbed by me in 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2002).

To try solo climb has been a rational choice, which matured during the previous expeditions and took root above all during recent months, when I prepared and enjoyed myself together with my friends, climbing routes on rock up to 8a and on mixed up to M10. I feel particularly fit and mature for this attempt and hope only that the mountain will feel like allowing itself to be climbed, and tickled along a different line of its imposing body of rock and ice. Any additional words to those already uttered would be superfluous.

Hopes, good luck wishes, superstitious gestures are like the 'ifs' and 'buts', useless, hot air. I decided some time ago that I would not do 'high altitude tourism at 8000 meters' (as defined by Reinhold Messner referring to those who repeat the normal routes opened up half a century ago), and now I must only continue to be at the required level. If you wish, follow me on my internet site, I shall keep you up to date...

Expedition time.

The long journey will begin on March, 29, 2006 from the front-door of my home in Bergamo. I shall have to stay in Kathmandu for a few days to carry out bureaucratic formalities, pay for the climbing and trekking permits, prepare all the climbing and technical equipment which has to be transported to the Everest base camp, which is the same for Lhotse at 5300 meters. This is reached after having flown for about an hour on a small plane which lands at the village of Lukla at 2700 meters at the beginning of the Khumbu valley.

Then I will take about 7 to 10 days hiking, depending on the itineraries and eventual variants which I intend taking to prolong the walk, in order to permit the best acclimatisation. These variants have the purpose of reaching on several occasions ever higher altitudes even reaching 6200 meters.

Base camp should be established on 10 April approximately. The human body physiologically takes about three to four weeks to acclimatise completely to very high altitudes and permit the body to be able to push beyond even 8000 meters without the use of artificial oxygen. For this reason the real and proper attempt to reach the summit of Lhotse will take place between 15 and 25 April. These dates however remain indicative because a lot will depend also on the meteorological conditions and the snowfall on the Himalayan colossus. I hope with this project that I will try to give great surprise,,,
My return to Italy is planned for 2 June even if this date too is flexible depending on eventual additional requirements for extra time.

Simone Moro, March 20, 2006