Spring 2015 we planned to climb the Shisha Pangma on skies.
Shishapangma, also called Gosainthān, is the fourteenth-highest mountain in the world and, at 8,029 m , the lowest of the eight-thousanders. It was the last 8,000 metre peak to be climbed, due to its location entirely within Tibet and the restrictions on visits by foreigners to the region imposed by national Chinese and regional Tibetan authorities.
Up to 2009, 24 people have died climbing Shishapangma, including Alex Lowe and Dave Bridges (both US) in 1999, and veteran Portuguese climber Bruno Carvalho. Nevertheless, Shishapangma is one of the “easier” eight-thousanders to climb. The standard route ascends via the northwest face and northeast ridge and face (“Northern Route”), and boasts relatively easy access, with vehicle travel possible to base camp at 5,000 m (16,400 ft). Routes on the steeper southwest face are more technically demanding and involve 2,200 metres (7,220 ft) of ascent on a 50-degree slope.
Shishapangma was first climbed via the Northern Route on 2 May 1964 by a Chinese expedition led by Xǔ . In addition to Xǔ Jìng, the summit team consisted of Zhāng Jùnyán, Wang Fuzhou (Wáng Fùzhōu, Wū Zōngyuè , Chén Sān Soinam Dorjê (Suǒnán Duōjí, Chéng Tiānliàng, Migmar Zhaxi (Mǐmǎ Zháxī , Dorjê and Yún Dēng 云登.
Later ascents and attempts
- 1980 7 May, “Northern Route”, (2nd ascent) by Michl Dacher, Wolfgang Schaffert, Gunter Sturm and Fritz Zintl; Sigi Hupfauer and Manfred Sturm (12 May); as part of a German expedition.
- 1980: 13 October, “Northern Route”, (3rd ascent) by Ewald Putz and Egon Obojes, as part of an Austrian expedition.
- 1981: 30 April, “Northern Route”, (4th ascent) by Junko Tabei, Rinzing Phinzo and Gyalbu Jiabu, as part of a Japanese women’s expedition.
- 1981: 28 May, “Northern Route”, (5th ascent) by Reinhold Messner and Friedl Mutschlechner, as part of an Austrian expedition.
- 1982: 28 May, “British Route”, southwest face, also known as “Right-hand couloir” (alpine style), FA by Doug Scott, Alex Macintyre and Roger Baxter-Jones (all UK). Route follows the right-hand couloir on the southwest face.
- 1987: 18 September, Elsa Ávila and Carlos Carsolio become the first Mexicans to summit Shishapangma. For Ávila, her first eight-thousander and for Carsolio, his second, via the northern face/ridge to the central summit, then along the arete to the main summit, with Wanda Rutkiewicz, Ramiro Navarrete, and Ryszard Warecki.
- 1987: 18 September, west ridge, FA by Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer (both Poland). A new road along the ridge west, by the western summit (first entry) and continue through by the middle summit on the main summit. Kukuczka skied down from near the summit. This was his last of fourteen eight-thousanders.
- 1987: 19 September, central couloir, north face, FA by Alan Hinkes (UK) and Steve Untch (US).
- 1989: 19 October, Central buttress, southwest face, FA by Andrej Stremfelj and Pavle Kozjek.
- 1990: Left-hand couloir, southwest face (not reaching the main summit, Wojciech Kurtyka (Poland), FA by Erhard Loretan (Switzerland) and Jean Troillet (Switzerland)
- 1993: Far-right couloir, southwest face, FA solo by Krzysztof Wielicki (Poland).
- 1994: Left-hand couloir, southwest face (not reaching the main summit, Erik Decamp (France), Catherine Destivelle (France).
- 2002: 5 May, “Korean Route” on southwest face, FA by Park Jun Hun and Kang Yeon Ryoung (both South Korea).
- 2002 26 October: Tomaž Humar(Slovenia), Maxut Zhumayev, Denis Urubko, Alexey Raspopov and Vassily Pivtsov got to the summit. Tomaž Humar climbed last 200 m (80°/50–60°, 200 m) of ascent and descent (65–75°, 700 m)
- 2004: 11 December, Jean-Christophe Lafaille (France) provokes controversy when he climbs the “British Route” on the southwest face, solo, and claims a winter ascent. Since this was not calendar winter, he changes his claim to an ascent “in winter conditions.”
- 2005: 14 January, first (calendar) winter ascent by Piotr Morawski (Poland) and Simone Moro (Italy).
- 2011: 16–17 April, Ueli Steck (Switzerland) solos the southwest face in 10.5 hours, leaving base camp (5,306m) at 10:30 pm on 16 April and returning to base camp 20 hours later.