Posted on: July 1, 2005

I'm home after a difficult and cold climb of Shishapangma, which I made with Polish climber Piotr Morawski on January 14. Since December 31, 1988 (when Kryzstof Wielicki climbed Lhotse) until our climb, nobody made a first winter [ascent of an 8000er]....

Jean-Christophe Lafaille's climb of Shishapangma's southwest face was certainly good and difficult, and I personally wrote on my own web site, as well as to other sites, my congratulations and appreciation. The problems began when JC declared some extra, false particulars that I and other climbers cannot accept.

His climb was not in winter (winter begins December 21).


His climb was not the first solo ascent of the face (Wielicki made the first in 1993).

His climb was not the first solo alpine-style ascent (Wielicki's 1993 climb took only twenty-four hours).

His climb was not alpine style (he used fixed ropes and worked for nearly a month on the face before going to the summit).

His route was not a new one, but a partial variant (we opened the first forty percent of the route in 2003 during our first attempt).

I'm not interested in fighting with JC or ruining his image and [undermining his] great climb, but... communication has to be honest, respecting the rules of alpinism and science. Kukuzcka, Wielicki, Berbeka, Boukreev, Messner and many others respect the standard definitions of winter, alpine style, no oxygen, new route and so on. Here in Europe (except in France) nobody has any doubt about who did the first winter climb of Shisha, and who did the first solo.

JC did a great solo late-autumn climb on the south face of Shishapangma via the British Route without oxygen. This is a big accomplishment, the message which he should focus on and develop.... But he can't imagine what winter really is like in the Himalaya. I have made five winter expeditions, three in the Himalaya, and I was only forty kilometers away from him when he summited. The conditions did not resemble real winter ones....

On our climb of Shishapangma's southwest face, Piotr, Jacek Jawien, Darek Zaluski and I followed the Yugoslavian Route, which is the longest and probably easiest way to reach the ridge between Pungpa-Ri and Shisha's main summit. We also had no oxygen, Sherpas or other expeditions in our base camp, and we were completely alone on the mountain. We used around 2000 meters of fixed rope that [we] carried and fixed over two weeks. We established only two camps between our advanced base camp and the summit.... It is not true [our climb] was only a walk to reach the summit....

There are too many "snakes" in the climbing community, and I prefer to follow other ways. I hope that winter will remain winter as the south remains south and the north remains north.

—Simone Moro, Bergamo, Italy

Editor's Note: Jean-Christophe Lafaille declined to respond to Mr. Moro's points, preferring to let his climb speak for itself. Readers may find his note on Page 95.

Here at Alpinist, our small editorial staff works hard to create in-depth stories that are thoughtfully edited, thoroughly fact-checked and beautifully designed. Please consider supporting our efforts by subscribing.