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with Stefan Nestler

Rousseau and Co. tackle Cho Oyu North Face

Cho Oyu North Face

There is still potential for climbing highlights even on the “top sellers” among the eight-thousanders. This applies not only to Mount Everest (up to now more than 7500 summit successes), but also to the second most climbed eight-thousander, Cho Oyu (more than 3500 summit successes). This spring, an international team of four, led by Louis Rousseau, plans to open a new route through the North Face of the sixth highest mountain on earth, in Alpine style. For the 40-year-old Canadian, it’s a comeback on the eight-thousanders after a break of five years. In 2012, Rousseau had been searching on Gasherbrum I for his longtime climbing partner Gerfried Göschl from Austria, who had remained missing after a winter attempt on the mountain in Pakistan. In 2011, Rousseau had scaled Gasherbrum II, his third eight-thousander after Broad Peak (in 2007) and Nanga Parbat (new route along with Göschl in 2009).

In memory of Göschl

Louis Rousseau

The North Face of Cho Oyu in Tibet was first climbed by Slovenians in fall 1988. Since then, there have only been two more successful attempts on the north side. “The proposed route will start from the base of the north wall and will go directly up an untouched section in the center,” Louis writes to me. “I truly don’t know,” Rousseau answers my question of their chance of success. The North Face is steep and almost unexplored, says Louis: “We will know more about our chance when we will see the face for the first time and of course everything will mostly depend on the weather and the climbing condition.” He is already dedicating the project to his deceased friend Göschl: “Like an heritage, I still have in my possession all the ideas Gerfried and I had planned.”

Old warhorse

Besides Rousseau, the team includes the Pole Adam Bielecki, the Briton Rick Allen and the German Felix Berg. The 33-year-old Adam Bielecki was one of the winter first ascenders of the eight-thousanders Gasherbrum I (in 2012) and Broad Peak (in 2013). Rick Allen is an old warhorse who is up to every mountain trick. Along with Sandy Allan, the 63-year-old Scotsman succeeded in traversing the 10-kilometer-long Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat in 2012. For this milestone, the two Britons were later awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of the climbers”. Felix Berg, now 36 years old, was in 2004 the youngest German climber who had summited Mount Everest until then. “We are a great team,” Felix writes to me. “Personally, I am motivated by exploring unknown territory, by adventure – all the more astonishing that this opportunity is offered on the highly frequented Cho Oyu.”


13. April 2017 | 16:09