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Fowler/Ramsden: This time separately successful

Piolet d'Or winners Mick Fowler (r.) and Paul Ramsden

Piolet d’Or winners Mick Fowler (r.) and Paul Ramsden

The tireless have done it again. The British Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden once again set climbing highlights, but, for a change, they were separately under way, with other team partners. Fowler, meanwhile 60 years (!) old, succeeded, along with his countryman Victor Saunders, the first ascent of the North Buttress of the 6100-meter-high Sersank in the North-Indian part of the Himalayas. Paul Ramsden and Nick Bullock climbed the North Face of the 7046-meter-high Nyainqentangla South East in Tibet for the first time. Last April, Fowler and Ramsden had won the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of the climbers”, for their first ascent of the 6571-meter-high Gave Ding, a remote mountain in northwestern Nepal. It was already the third “Golden Ice Axe” for the successful British team of two.

Reunited after 29 years

Fowler and Saunders (l.) on top of Spantik in 1987

Fowler and Saunders (l.) on top of Spantik in 1987

“Sersank ticked,” Fowler wrote from the North Indian city of Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh. “Five days to climb the north buttress and an eight day round trip from base camp. Absolutely brilliant.” 29 years ago, Fowler and Saunders had climbed together for the last time: In 1987, they succeeded the first ascent of the so-called “Golden Pillar” (which really looks golden in the sun), the Northwest Pillar of the 7027-meter-high Spantik in Pakistan. Then they went their separate ways. Saunders later climbed Mount Everest six times as a mountain guide. Working on a book project, Mick and Vic reunited and decided to climb together again.

Monster Matterhorn

Summit selfie of Ramsden and Bullock (r.)

Summit selfie of Ramsden and Bullock (r.)

It took Ramsden (born in 1969) and 50-year-old Bullock five days to first climb the North Face of Nyainqentangla South East. The wall “was almost impossible to describe without using superlatives,” Nick wrote on his website. “It was a dream, it had runnels, ice, fields of snow, arêtes – the face twisted and turned in some warped massive monster Matterhorn way”. Nick called the face a “mouth-puckering 1600 m”. On the fifth day after leaving Base Camp, the British team reached the summit and needed another day for the descent via the East Ridge. The first ascent of Nyainqentangla South East had been made by the Austrians Stefan and Erich Gatt via the south side of the mountain in 2001.


12. October 2016 | 15:47