Autumn 2013 | Ueli Steck and Don Bowie on Annapurna South Face

Ueli Steck was in Himalayas this spring to make a 'different' attempt on Lhotse and Everest, but a scuffle on Lhotse Face followed by violence near Camp-2, resulted in end of the expedition on an unfortunate note. While the discussions about the events of the day aren’t over yet, Ueli returns to Nepal, to do what he is best at; together with American alpinist, Don Bowie, he will attempt the South Face of Annapurna. Don Bowie was on Makalu earlier this year but couldn’t ascend the mountain due to health issues.

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Ueli Steck on Annapurna South Face in 2007; Source

Annapurna 2013
Don Bowie and Ueli Steck’s Annapurna expedition kicked off on September 16th, as they boarded Kathmandu bound flights. After a couple of days in Nepalese capital, they will proceed to Pokhara and onwards to the Base Camp at 4100m. The duo will establish Advanced BC at the bottom of South Face at around 5500m. As per Ueli Steck, the route will be finalized, based on mountain condition and weather, once they reach the Base Camp.

Both Don Bowie and Ueli Steck has attempted Annapurna multiple times, but always in pre-monsoon season. They anticipate the fall conditions to be different.

"The post-monsoon period brings mostly – in contrary to spring time – more stable weather. The days are shorter and it gets colder, which can be of advantage in a south face. The sun is less intense and has less strength, to soften the snow mantle. On the other hand the rock is not so warm anymore and you get cold fingers if climbing without gloves", wrote Ueli Steck.

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Annapurna South Face; Source

Ueli Steck’s Earlier Attempts
Ueli Steck has already been to Annapurna South Face, twice. In spring 2007, he was solo on direct route when a falling stone hit him on his head, forcing him to abort the climb. He promised to return to the mountain following year.

His 2008 attempt is best remembered for the heroic resuce efforts, trying to save the lives of Romanian Horia Colibasanu and Spaniard Inaki Ochoa. Unfortunately, Inaki died in C4 by Ueli’s side, around 24 hours after the latter reached him.

Don Bowie on Annapurna
Don Bowie too has made multiple attempts on Annapurna. In 2006, he attempted East Ridge with Piotr Pustelnik , Piotr Morawski and Peter Hamor – following the 1988 route of Artur Hajzer and Jerzy Kukuczka.

He was again on South Face with Alexey Bolotov, Horia Colibasanu and Inaki Ochoa in 2008; the expedition of which Horia and Inaki got stranded in C4 tent, due to Inaki’s sudden illness. Bowie’s latest outing to Annapurna was in spring 2012, when he solo attempted German Ridge on North Face.

Don and Ueli Together
The Swiss and American alpinists were together in 2011 on project, 'Himalaya Speed'. They attempted three 8000m peaks, Shishapangma, Cho Oyu and Everest, that season.

On April 17, Ueli solo climbed Shishapangma in 10.5 hours via Southwest Face (with 20 hours round trip time from BC to BC). 18 days after Shishapangma attempt, he and Bowie summited Cho Oyu via normal route. At the end of May, they were approaching Everest summit from Northside, but had to turn back due to cold. Don Bowie retreated at around 8000m, while Ueli Steck turned back from 8700m.

Ueli, Don and Rob Frost; Source

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