She looks younger than she really is (53 years) and her eyes twinkle when she is talking about climbing. 20 years ago Catherine Destivelle of France was a star of the climbing scene: Inter alia she soloed the classical north faces of Eiger, Matterhorn and Grand Jorasses, all of them in winter. She free-climbed the more than 6000-meter-high Nameless Tower in the Karakoram. (If you want to get an impression of her style of climbing, watch the amazing video below!) After the birth of her son Victor in 1997 she scaled down her climbing activities. I talked to Catherine on a hike during the International Mountain Summit (IMS) in Brixen in South Tyrol.
Catherine, are you still climbing?
Yes, less, but I’m still climbing. I like it. When I have time or holiday, I do it several times a week.
When you did your great climbs, in the 1980s and beginning of the 90s, you were a pioneer of women climbing. What has changed since then?
I think it’s a normal evolution. Women climbers of today are better than in our times, because they are training since their youth. Climbing has become a real sport. In my day it just had started to be a sport, but wasn’t really.
Date24. October 2013 | 14:10
Nepal has to be patient for about one more year. At its general assembly in Pontresina in Switzerland the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) has not yet decided whether it will recognize additional 8000-meter-peaks or not. According to the Nepal Mountaineering Association a UIAA commission had named six side peaks that could be accepted as prominent peaks with a unique identification: Kanchenjunga West-Peak (alias Yalung Kang, 8505 m), Central-Peak (8473 m) and South-Peak (8476 m), Lhotse Central-Peak (8410 m) and Shar (8382 m), Broad Peak Central (8011 m). “Both Nepal and China Mountaineering Association delegates welcome and fully support the UIAA initiation”, Nepalese Ang Tshering Sherpa, Honorary member of UIAA, wrote to me after his return from Switzerland. “Also Pakistan Alpine Club and Indian Mountaineering Foundation delegates were very positive but need more time to get approval from their association’s annual general meeting which will be held end of Dec 2013 or January 2014.”
Date12. October 2013 | 18:52
Ueli did it. Just what exactly? The Swiss climber Ueli Steck is keeping us in suspense after his adventure on Annapurna. “Successful mission!”, is said on his homepage. “Don (Bowie) and Ueli are on the way to Pokhara. Updates will follow in the coming days.” Quite honestly, if I could I would run to meet them on their trekking. I’m bursting with curiosity. Has Ueli really climbed solo via a direct route through the South Face to the 8091-meter-high summit of Annapurna? Is the rumor true that the Swiss, who celebrated his 37th birthday a week ago, needed only 28 hours to climb up and down?
Date11. October 2013 | 21:18
Better safe than sorry, this also applies for public relations. Three years ago the IPCC slipped on the ice of the Himalayan glaciers. In its last report on climate change that was published in 2007 it was predicted that all Himalayan glaciers would have disappeared until 2035. In 2010 the IPCC had to concede tranposed digits, the right year in the prediction should have been 2350. There was a flood of criticism. No wonder that in the summary of the new climate report the word “Himalaya” is missing. The IPCC only announced that “over the last two decades (…) glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide”. Also in the full report, which is more than 2,000 pages long, the IPCC is only making cautious predictions for the Himalayas.
Date2. October 2013 | 10:33