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AMBITIOUS 8000m PLANS OFF TO GOOD START
Posted on: April 13, 2007
Base camp for the Normal Route of Tibet's 8201-meter Cho Oyu. Jozef "Dodo" Kopold reached the summit—his first 8000-meter peak—on March 31 via the 1954 Tichy Route, considered the easiest line to the top of any 8000er. Kopold and his team used the route to acclimate for an attempt on a new line on the northwest face of Shishapangma, which they hope to climb by May 10. Additionally, Kopold aspires to two other 8000-meter alpine-style ascents this year: Nanga Parbat (8125m) and K2 (8611m), the latter by a new route on the west face. [Photo] Courtesy of www.himalaya2007.expedition.sk
Jozef "Dodo" Kopold, Marek Hudak and Jaro "Duce" Dutka, along with leader Pavol Lazar, were the first to arrive at Cho Oyu's (8201m) unusually busy base camp this spring. The team, which hopes to make a first ascent on Shishapangma's (8013m) northwest face, intended to acclimatize on Cho Oyu's normal route, which has the reputation of being the easiest climb to the top of any of the world's fourteen 8000-meter peaks.
Although Dutka and Hudak did not reach the top (100 and 400-meters short, respectively), Kopold summited on his first bid, during the morning of March 31. On March 30 Dutka stayed in Camp 1 as Kopold and Hudak established Camp 2 (7000m). The pair intended to descend back to Camp 1 (6350m) the next day. They changed their mind in the tent: "At dawn we will attempt the summit," Kopold reported. "Conditions are perfect—we will take care." Kopold reached the peak the next morning without difficulty ("you breathe as after running up three floors," he said); however, Hudak turned back at 7800 meters. Hudak and Dutka did not summit before the team moved to Tingri, at the base of Shishapangma, on April 7.
The team plans to climb Shishapangma by May 10. If all goes well, Kopold will return to home to Slovakia for a month to recover before attempting another double summit: Nanga Parbat (8125m) and K2 (8611m), the latter via an unclimbed line on the west face, with Peter Hamor (Slovakia) and Piotr Morawski (Poland). Kopold aims to climb all four peaks in alpine style without the aid of Sherpas or supplementary oxygen.
Cho Oyu was Kopold's first attempt on an 8000-meter peak. The Slovakian mountaineer, however, is well accomplished in hard, high alpine environments; his impressive resume includes the recent first ascent of Dratissima (ABO: VI 6, 1900m) on Uli Biaho Tower (6109m) in June (see Kopold's climbing note in Issue 18).