The Route

Click on photo for a closer look. 

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The team will climb the mountain in the simplest way possible.  There will be no fixed lines and the team will be aiming for the top each time they set foot on the mountain’s slopes.  This style is called alpine style.  When a team advances on a mountain with the aim of minimal exposure to the elements of altitude, the process is streamlined to it’s lightest components for a safe and adventurous climb.  The team has selected this climb because the 9000′ route has technical rock climbing, ice climbing and a difficult high alitude finish on a long ridgeline.

A basecamp will be established above the town of Hongde in the basin between Annapurna IV and Gangapurna, an adjacent peak. Basecamp is at 15,500′ and is ideal for accimating as well as refueling and restocking as the team determines the best way to climb Annapurna IV.

The first step on the mountain is technical and historically has ropes fixed for passage.  The team plans to confront the 2000′ face utilizing traditional rock climbing protection and running belays as they climb.  The goal for Clark, Clarke and Butson is simple—climb the mountain like no one is there and leave it as if they were never there.  Topping out at around 17,000′ the team will establish a camp, thier first on the upper mountain.

The second camp will be established in a safe zone on top of the rocky buttress and out of danger from avalanches.  Coordinates will be updated throughout the climb so that viewers will have a chance to identify in real time where the team is staying.

Camp Three will be wherever the team feels safe and is logically positioned for the summit.  Historically, summits are few and camps are low on Annapurna IV.  The team plans to push a camp to around 22,000′.  Previous expeditions have tried to summit from 20,500′ with little success.  Since this team plans to ski the mountain, pushing higher could benefit the project and aid in the descent or really complicate it.  The summit ridge is both spectacular and technical with steep ice and crevasses to negotitate as well as a potentially rocky summit pyramid.

The team plans to take 25 days for the expedition, summit the mountain and ski from the highest point possible.  “Connecting to a mountain like this, reaching for rock ice and snow and then laying down fresh tracks is about the coolest thing I can imagine”, Ben Clark says, “If we come away with even a hint of what that means, I believe we will come home exhausted but enthusiastic for more.”