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with Stefan Nestler

Moro and Lunger plan Kangchenjunga traverse

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro

“It’s a wonderful project,” says Simone Moro. “It’s the highest traverse possible on the planet.” Via Facebook live from Kathmandu, the 49-year-old Italian and his 30-year-old South Tyrolean climbing partner Tamara Lunger yesterday revealed the secret of their new project. And that’s really a tough job. This spring, Simone and Tamara want to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif which are higher than 8,000 meters: from the West Summit (8,505 meters) to the Main Summit (8,586 meters), then across the Central Summit  (8,473 meters) to the South Summit (8,476 meters). The whole thing in Alpine style, means without high camps, without Sherpa support and without bottled oxygen. In 1989 a Russian expedition had succeeded the traverse for the first time, however, using breathing masks.

Memory of Boukreev

With the project he also wants to remember his “best friend and climbing partner” Anatoli Boukreev, says Moro. 25 December 2017 will be the 20th anniversary of Boukreev’s death day, during a winter expedition with Simone on Annapurna in 1997. Eight years previously, the Russian top climber had belonged to the successful team on Kangchenjunga, but after the ascent of the first summit he had been urged by his expedition leader to use bottled oxygen. “Anatoli told me that maybe one day it might be possible to climb all four peaks without oxygen,” recalls Simone.

Five and a half kilometers

West, Main, Central and South Summit of Kangchenjunga (from left to right)

Moro and Lunger want to open a new route through the flank of the 7,902 meter high Kangbachen to the ridge and then to the top of the 8,505-meter-high Yalung Kang, the western summit of the massif. “Honestly speaking, this could be already a huge project,” says Simone. “We could also close our aim if we will be able to open a new route in Alpine style to the summit of Yalung Kang and come back. We could celebrate. But we decided to let the game open.” The two climbers estimate that they will need at least three days to cross the five and a half kilometer long ridge, permanently higher than 8,200 meters. “The project is really cutting edge, really,really, really difficult. Let’s see what we will be able to do”, says Moro.

Determined and able to dream

Especially since Tamara Lunger is still suffering from the consequences of a shoulder injury, which she suffered during skiing. But the South Tyrolean has often proved that she can fight. Tamara would really deserve a success on Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain on earth, because she had to turn around on Nanga Parbat just below the summit at the end of February 2016. Simone Moro, Alex Txikon and Muhammad Ali (also called “Ali Sadpara”) had reached the highest point without her and thus succeeded the first winter ascent of this eight-thousander. “All training and planning in the world can not prepare you fully for an adventure like this,” says Tamara about her “Kangchenjunga Skyline Expediton” with Moro. “But Simone and I have the determination and the ability to dream needed to complete it.”


7. April 2017 | 13:04