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2010-07-07

Action and consequence at 7000 meters

Camp 3 – 7000m / 22,966 ft

8:00 a.m., -20 F, winds gusting over 60 kph (37 mph). Despite my 8000m down jacket and neoprene facemask I’m chilled to the bone and my hands are blocks of ice. I need to get moving. Frippe locks into his skis and edges confidently into the maelstrom, dropping straight into unexplored terrain. I’ll admit right here and now that I’m terrified for him.

We’d trudged outta camp two days earlier spurred by a meager window with two days of sun punctuated by a day of snow followed by another sunny day. OK, more of a peephole than a window but our camp supplies still hadn’t shown up and we were sick of eating leftover trekking food over a box in a borrowed cook tent. In addition, our previous forecasts had been just a hair more reliable than reading tea leaves and the tea, like the rest of our BC supplies, were starting to dry up. Our days were numbered so our plan was to gun straight to C2. It would be a long day but the Super Swede is on point like I’ve never seen before and I was feeling strong enough to hang tight, drafting in his boot pack.

Fredrik climbing

Trey Cook negotiating a technical section between C2 and C3

We drifted out of BC at around 6 a.m. beneath a cloudy sky with a few promising blue patches and within a couple of hours we were down to base layers and wishing I hadn’t left my lip cheese in my softshell pants when I’d made the switch to stretch Gore-Tex Pro Shell. I’m convinced those softshells are the best thing to happen to mountaineering since Pop Tarts but I’d made the switch to Gore-Tex in anticipation of extreme winds over 6000m (19,685 ft)—a decision I would not regret.

On this, our third trip, we burned an hour off our original time to C1. In the five hours it took us to climb 650m (2132 ft) to C1 the wind had begun blow a hoolie. We pulled our hoods up and tiptoed through the next five hours, traversing a snow-covered rock band before entering the steep couloir leading to C2. This is the couloir that came close to taking me out in 2007 with a massive slide, wet as cement, that ripped through minutes before I was ready to unclip and start the long, slow grind up. It’s filled with nothing but dark, festering mojo for me and it takes every ounce of grit I have in my skinny west Texas body to turn the corner and step into that thing every time I hit it. The upside is that the minute I’m at the top is a high point that I look forward to each time with unbridled enthusiasm. It’s hard to explain but fear and the ability to move through it is a twisted but elemental part of the climbing equation for a lot of folk. Maybe it’s the same reason people go to haunted houses. Me personally, I can’t go near those things. They scare the hell outta me.

Fredrik on a ridge

Fredrik Ericsson at 6900 meters approaching a cloud covered C3

The next morning at C2 the blowing snow made us question our plan to move up to C3 but knowing nobody ever gets anywhere by kicking back in their eiderdown bags, we pulled on our 8000m down jackets, broke camp and headed up knowing that if things got worse we could either dig in or turn tail and run. Sure enough, the higher we headed up the snowy rock ridge the more the wind and blowing snow increased. After about seven hours of relentless pummeling I have to admit that I was beginning to lose sight of the joy and just as I was about to ask for the sat phone so that I could call my mama to come pick me up and get me the hell out of there we spotted a big black wall through a break in the clouds that indicated ground zero for camp 3. I pulled on my face mask and we pushed on through the screaming wind but every step we took closer to the wall it seemed to move further into the racing clouds. Hard ice ridgelines, waist deep powder, rock and ice graveyards with no shelter whatsoever—fun, fun, fun. We finally crawled to the base of the tower 10 hours after leaving C2 and were, let’s say, ever-so-slightly disappointed to not find an even halfway decent tent platform. The ragged remains of shredded tents frozen on top of other shredded tents littered the base of the wall and made the place feel like some kind of post-apocalyptic campground. All that was missing was a zombie campground manager to assign us a spot especially reserved for fleshy westerners. But no such host appeared and dog tired, we selected the least worst spot and started hacking away at the ice and within an hour we were crowding inside our tiny tent with two legs hanging in the air and plenty of space inside for at least one-and-a-half average-size pre-teens. On the other hand, it was just so nice to be out of the wind that we didn’t care. We’d spend the night there and move the tent up to a better location when we reccied the route up to C4 on the next day.

However, our nightly radio call wit Abbas, adventure chef and prince of the Baltoro, told us differently. The most recent weather report circulating around base camp claimed that our little one day of snowfall had been upgraded into a huge storm moving in the next afternoon and lasting through the next several days. We had desperately wanted two nights here at 7000m (22,966 ft) for our acclimatization and the chance to scout what would be a long, heavy push to our camp 4 at 8000m (26,247 ft) on The Shoulder. However, a storm at 7000m is nothing to take lightly so we both agreed to gather our toys and run for home.

The next morning saw severe cold and high winds but ok visibility that gradually diminished as we broke down the tent. Although the clouds were blowing in and visibility was dropping Frippe was determined to scout the ridge below C3 for a passage. I was less than enthusiastic. My hands were blocks of ice from breaking camp and even though I had my 8000m down jacket on I was freezing. All I could think of was getting out of there. Frippe threw his skis down, locked in and yelled something to me across the wind about meeting me below. I watched my partner disappear into the blowing clouds at 7000m into unknown terrain and thought to myself, ‘OK, now we’re pushing it. This is what skiing K2 is all about.’ We’d been totally alone on this route since the first day we’d set foot on it. If anything went wrong our options would be extremely limited. My comfort was in knowing the Super Swede was rock solid in the mountains and his decisions erred to the conservative. Or at least as conservative as a person who wants to ski the world’s baddest 8000m peak can get.

Fredrik skiing

Fredrik Ericsson skiing virgin terrain at 6700 meters

Half an hour later I was rappelling over blue ice littered with rocks when I heard a voice and looked over to see Frippe standing on the ridgeline to my left. “Can I get through here?” he shouted across the wind.

“Yeah, a couple of steps across the rocks and you’re back on snow.”

Three minutes later and the first of three cruxes had been solved. It was an incredibly exciting moment for us, and a big step in the realization of the dream to ski K2. But due to the growing storm the celebration would have to wait.

A nice surprise was awaiting our return to base camp. Our waylaid supplies had shown up and while we were gone Abbas, adventure chef and prince of the Baltoro, had set up our mess tent, kitchen tent and toilet tent, all comparative luxuries when you’re sitting out hurricane force winds as we’re doing now. I’m nursing three frostbitten fingers and Frippe is thinking the thin line of snow he had to downclimb below C2 has enough snow in it to ski. The Polish are planning to head up the Cesen Route tomorrow which means we’ll no longer be alone on the route and Gerlinde and Ralf are thinking they’ll head up the day after. Although it’s been nice to have the route to ourselves it will be reassuring to know that we’ll now have some backup if things go sideways.

Over on the Abruzzi the Koreans have sent their high-altitude porters home causing a minor political upheaval in base camp. They will now rely on George’s Sherpas to fix lines, set camps and haul their oxygen bottles up the route. They along with the Italians and Laila from Iran all hope to reach C2 when the storm clears. As for us, we’ll take a well-needed break, see what which direction this frostbite goes and look for a 4-day window that will allow us to charge up to C4 and hopefully make a summit attempt. Waiting, watching, fueling up, futzing with electronics… oh, the joys of base camp.

/Trey Cook

The Ski K2 Expedition would not be possible without the visionary support of: Dynastar, Tierra, Osprey, Hestra, Scarpa, Grivel, Adidas Eyewear, Primus, Brunton, Exped, ATK Race, Ortovox, Garmin, Honey Stinger and Jamtport.

 

 

2010-07-01

Slutty Behavior on the Baltoro

Camp 2 – 6350m / 20,833 ft

One of life’s simple pleasures is undoubtedly snow falling on a tent while you’re dozing inside, enveloped in a cozy, warm down cocoon. And oh, how quickly that pleasure turns to pain when the tent in question is perched at 6300 meters (20,669 ft) and the snow is being driven by a 40 mph wind and you’re feeling a desperate need to pull on your boots, wrap yourself in Gore-Tex and, like a chrysalis expanding its wings, emerge from your cocoon and move up to Camp 3. But for now you’re pinned and all you can do is snuggle deeper into your bag, listen to the snow on the tent and thank God for those simple pleasures.
Of course, we wouldn’t even have been up there if the forecast for the past three days had not shown sunny and clear—a big, bright sun icon that might as well have read, ‘Climb now!’

Fredrik cooking in tent

Fredrik cooking in tent

But the reality for the day, like the previous two days, had been wildly different with regular snow squalls, respectable wind and limited viz. Abbas, adventure chef and prince of the Baltoro, told us the Baltis have a name for summer weather like this. “Same word for woman who sleep with many different man. Nobody like these.” Guessing it’s the same word that my sister—the last and perhaps strongest line of defense for the dignity of women—uses when talking about those gals who seduced poor ol’ Tiger. Right then, we’ve got some seriously slutty weather happening up here on the Baltoro.

Fredrik Ericsson skiing 6000m

Fredrik Ericsson skiing 6000m

And true to slutty behavior we were easily lured from the tent with a flirtatious ray of sunshine, a coy break in the wind, a seemingly innocent patch of clear blue sky. The absolute absurdity of two remarkably immature but otherwise fully-grown men gearing up in the confines of the lightest, most high-tech alpine expedition tent on the planet is slapstick of the highest order: boots to the head, elbows to the kidneys, an arm each in the sleeve of the same jacket, that sort of thing. By the time we’ve both been spit out of the tiny portal the icy wind had picked up again and the sky was dark grey. But we were out, geared up and aching to climb so we went anyway. We worked our way around a rocky corner covered with ice and snow and began angling left up a 45-degree snowslope towards a rock band where we could faintly see a few fixed ropes. By the time we’d reached the rocks it was snowing again and visibility had dropped. The rock was covered with a couple of inches of snow so I pulled hard on the fixed lines a few times before clipping a jumar onto the best of them, slapped a ‘biner onto the next, thinking this absurd act of atonement might save me from my previous sin. I began moving up the rock putting more weight on the old ropes than I knew I should. I made it to the anchor, a bomber piton, my body jacked with adrenaline, sucking hard in the thin alpine air.

K2 route

K2 route

Frippe followed, treating the fixed lines as if they were toxic, meticulously freeing the pitch like he had every other pitch to this point, skis angling high out of his pack, ski boots in crampons on snowy rock. He has a true alpinist’s desire to climb a mountain rather than a rope ladder, to carry all his own gear and to skip the drugs and supplemental oxygen that some use to bring a mountain to within their limited reach.

We climbed through the blowing snow to about 6500m (21,325 ft) where the rocky ridge met a 50-degree snowy shoulder that lead to Camp 3 at 7000m (22,965 ft). Navigating a path through these rocks will be one of the cruxes of Frippe’s ski descent and this first reccy provided him with a look at how he’ll potentially make his way through. Despite the big snow year the wind has scoured the ridge leaving loads of exposed rock. It will be a difficult passage but this first look inspires Frip with the confidence that it will go. We turned to descend back to Camp 2 in shamefully slutty weather.

Trey Rappeling

Trey Rappeling

We went to sleep in C2 naiively hopeful that at least one day of our three-day ‘window’ will meet the forecast, but again we wake up with cold wind and blowing snow. Harlot. Nothing to do but descend. We gathered up the garbage and remains of a shredded tent that had been left from a previous expedition and turned towards base camp. The plan had been to scope the final crux of the ski descent—a rocky band separating C2 from the lower slopes. The route up this band ascends a narrow, rocky couloir that is impossible to descend on skis. And when I say impossible I mean it’s not even do-able on ski rappel. However, from base camp Frippe had spotted a snowy line that passes the rock band skier’s right that might have potential. But the line crosses steep, unknown terrain and we’ll need better visibility to explore it.

We descended the snowfield below C2 and rappeled the couloir before Frip locked into his skis and began making turns back to base camp. Variable snow, 47 degrees, poor visibility, a rucksack loaded with 10 extra kilos of garbage left by ‘fellow climbers,’ and a big, fat smile on his face. As I watched him make smooth, controlled turns down the face it was clear to me that with his total devotion to alpine ethics, his love of skiing, and his respect for the beauty and power of K2 that Fredrik Ericsson represents a unique and important posse of chargers from Chamonix and beyond. For these men and women, it’s more than just about getting to the top; it’s about how you do it and what you leave behind. Here’s hoping that a little slutty weather won’t cheapen the experience.

/Trey Cook

The Ski K2 Expedition would not be possible without the visionary support of: Dynastar, Tierra, Osprey, Hestra, Scarpa, Grivel, Adidas Eyewear, Primus, Brunton, Exped, ATK Race, Ortovox, Honey Stinger and Jamtport.

 

2010-06-26

Foul weather forces tough decision at Camp 1

Camp 1 – 5900m / 19,357 ft

We awoke to the sound of driving wind and blowing snow battering the walls of the tent. It wasn’t the kind of storm that made you start scratching out a will on the side of your water bottle but unzipping the tent door a crack and getting blasted by spindrift did make us second guess our plan to make a move to Camp 2.

Fredrik descending  from camp 1

Fredrik descending from camp 1

We’d left base camp the day before at 6 a.m. on an absolutely splitter day—cold and clear, not a breath of wind. We followed the Koreans’ path across the glacier towards their Advanced Base Camp on the Abruzzi Spur but hung a left after crossing the South Face avy plain and before we reached the ice field. This took us to the base of the south-southeast spur also known as the Cesen Route after Tomo Cesen soloed it in 1986. There are also a handful of climbers who refer to the route as the Basque Route but it’s unclear whether this is because they question the veracity of Cesen’s achievement or because it was a Basque team that was the first to climb the route to the summit. Then again, if you ask Andy Parkin he’ll tell you that his crew climbed it before any of those guys but didn’t claim it because they didn’t reach the summit either. As Andy points out, “You can work a route all y’like but if you don’t reach the top it’s not your route, is it?” All philosophical discussion aside, Frippe calls it the Cesen and I met Tomo in Chamonix a coupla of years ago and he seems like a nice enough guy so for this story let’s call it the Cesen Route, shall we? (comments anyone?)

K2 Cesen Route Camp 1

K2 Cesen Route Camp 1

So the Cesen is a bit more difficult than the Abruzzi, which, on a mountain like K2, is reason enough that the Abruzzi gets 80% of the traffic. But the Cesen is also the only line on the mountain that a skier will look at and envision a complete descent from summit to base. Which, of course, is why we’re here, crouched inside our tent, wondering whether we should roll the dice and continue up or gather our toys and run home in time for dinner.

Many climbers invest thousands of well-spent dollars to procure daily, customized weather forecasts from meteorologists who specialize in weather reports from climbers. Arguably, their services have changed the high-alpine climbing game more than any other technical development in the past 30 years, dramatically reducing death and injury by giving climbers a more accurate picture of when to charge and when to kick back and enjoy the decadent luxuries of a Baltoro base camp.

Sunset on Broad Peak

Sunset on Broad Peak

But we don’t have that kind of budget and are instead using a forecast straight from the heart of the Interweb with an accuracy (on this trip, anyway) of about 50/50, which is about what you’d get from looking at the sky and flipping a coin.

Once we’d battled our way outside and shoveled out the tent the mountain actually looked like it might have a chance of clearing. However, our forecast predicted snow starting up that afternoon and continuing through the next day. Decision time. Since we were only at C1 and it’s still early in the game we decided to pull our chips and head for the door. If our instincts were right we’d be back up the mountain in a couple of days with a weather window that would allow us a shot at Camp 2. There really wasn’t anything to lose.

Trey Climbing to Camp 1

Trey Climbing to Camp 1

As we battened down the hatches on C1, the weather gradually worsened and by the time Frippe had locked into his skis, we were engulfed by fog. What he had hoped would be a fun shred down the 40-45 degree slopes back to the base of the route turned out to be a slow, route-finding mission. It was a mission that, in the end, would validate our conservative decision.

/Trey Cook

 


 

2010-06-22

The long and winding road to K2 base camp

K2 Base Camp – 5020m/16,470 ft

I’m just about to fall asleep when I hear a sharp crack from the ice directly beneath me. I’m not a huge fan of crevasses and a something like this would normally send me flying from the tent like I was shot from a cannon. But tonight I’m just so happy to be here and so dog tired that I simply wrap my big down bag around me and fall asleep. After all we’ve been through to get here if the Earth wants to open up and swallow me whole then tonight she’s lucky because it’s perhaps the only time she’ll get me without a struggle.

When Fredrik and I finally arrived here at the foot of K2 we dropped our packs and high-fived as if we’d summitted. We may not have a cook tent, medical bag, food, fuel or a stove but we finally made it and we couldn’t be happier.

The whole ordeal started when we left Hushe bound for K2 via Gondogoro-la with a quick side trip to try to climb and ski Laila Peak along the way. Hushe is where the road ends and the trekking begins but we were unable to find enough porters to carry all our climbing and ski gear, food, fuel and other equipment needed for a three-month expedition. So we left most of the food and fuel at Hushe with the plan that it would be brought along on a subsequent carry. Too easy, right?

By the time, we had made our attempt on Laila and were ready to move on to K2 the missing gear still had not shown up although the 19 porters needed to get us and our existing gear to Huspang camp had. Again, we were reassured that our missing gear would follow right along behind us so under a darkening sky we set off for Huspang. Sure enough as soon as we had entered the middle of the glacier the clouds dropped and we found ourselves in a whiteout with a light snow falling, post-holing to our knees with a line of 19 porters behind us wearing standard-issue white plastic sneakers with holes in their socks.


Fredrik approaches K2

Fredrik approaches K2

Huspang Camp

Needless to say it took us a bit longer than anticipated but we finally arrived at a snow-covered Huspang for what we thought would be a short night before crossing the Gondogoro-la the next day. That was until a big man with green teeth told us that the fixed ropes the porters would require to cross the la had been avalanched. Then the porters demanded a rest day to dry their socks. So we made a plan to join the Gondogoro Safety Team (ol’ Green Teeth as it were) the next day to refix the ropes so that we could leave the following day. Why not.

What was planned for a 5am start turned out to be more like 6am as Green Teeth drank tea and scanned the heavens for any kind of sign that would cancel our mission. As the day dawned ever more clear we reluctantly left Hushpang. What was supposed to have taken 1.5 hours to get to the base of the ropes took us (primarily Fredric and I) three hours of breaking trail through deep snow while Green Teeth guided from behind. By the time we reached the ropes around 9 a.m. the sun was blazing. True to form the Safety Team deemed the avalanche risk too high to continue and called for a retreat. After the difficult approach I was tired, I was hot and after learning that all this was for nothing I was now fuming. Nice days are hard to come by in the Karakorum and if we didn’t fix the route that day we’d be wasting a gorgeous day and pushing our plans back yet another day. At this rate we’d never reach K2. In the end, Fredrik’s cool mountain sense intervened and agreed the avy risk was too high now but that we could return at midnight when conditions were more stable. The porters could follow two hours behind us which would give us time to fix the ropes. To me, this idea sounded like the recipe for junkshow soup but I had no better plan of my own and had to agree.

That afternoon we all sat at Huspang and watched in awe as an endless deluge of avalanches ripped down the faces of the mountains surrounding us. It was absolutely amazing and a strong reminder that progress in the mountains is dictated by the mountains themselves and deadlines and schedules are best left at home.

That night we were up at 11:00, packed up, fed and ready to roll by midnight only to find out that two of our porters, apparently decided the avalanches, the deep snow and the thousand-meter pass (3,281 ft) ahead of them wasn’t worth the 27 dollars a day they were being paid, and snuck off during the night. Go figure. With the Safety Team waiting on us we now had to repack our gear so that we could leave one 20-kilo (44 lbs) bag at Huspang which would be gathered up as our trailing gear caught up with us. Which would, of course, be any day now.

A quick reshuffling of gear placed all non-essential climbing gear—books, extra clothing, meds, shampoo—into the abandoned barrel and the remaining gear into our own packs. By midnight we were on the trail with the Safety Team following us into the cold, clear night.

After crossing six different avalanche debris paths that had crossed our trail since the previous day we made the base of the route in two hours. Actually, Frippe made it in 1.5 hours and the rest of us made it in two.

After a bit of searching we found the fixed lines still intact and it was just a matter of chopping the ropes and kicking steps out of 1000 meters (3,281 ft) of hardened avy debris. As we reached halfway we saw the lights from the porters’ headlamps in the distance. Proving that the Safety Team were far from the ignorant slackers I had pinned them for, the first of the porters reached us just as we reached the top of the la. Ol’ Green Teeth knew exactly what he was doing and had his timing down within minutes.

Gondogoro-la

 

If you haven’t already figured it out, la means ‘pass’ in Balti and topping out on the 5500m (18,045 ft) Gondogoro-la is worthy of a post by itself. Trekking from south to north you ascend the la with an amazing view of Masherbrum on your left and as you crest the saddle you are suddenly face-to-face with four 8000-meter peaks—K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II and Gasherbrum I—as well as Gasherbrums III and IV which are just a hair below 8000m (26,247 ft). This area of the Karakorum mountains is the highest concentration of 8000m peaks in the world and seeing them from this altitude is a mind-blowing experience. We took advantage of the splitter morning weather to hang out at the top of the la for several hours taking pictures, eating a bite and generally just basking in the awesomeness of it all.

Fredrik in front of Mitre Peak

Fredrik in front of Mitre Peak

Ali Camp

The descent from the la down the Vigne glacier was straightforward and we arrived at Ali Camp around noon, tired and happy after a magical night and day in the mountains. We were energized by the surroundings and with the thought of being just one day out of K2 base camp.

However, as we met with the porters to discuss the next day’s plan we learned that they weren’t as quite as excited to reach K2 as we were. They informed us that the next day they would only be going as far as Concordia, a relatively easy 3-hour, downhill open glacier walk. I say ‘relatively’ because you have to remember they’re wearing plastic sneakers with holey socks and carrying 30 kilo (66 lbs) loads on a glacier above 4000m (13,123 ft) . However, the trek to Concordia hardly constitutes a full day and it was only another four hours up the Godwin-Austen glacier to base camp. By leaving early we could easily be there before noon leaving them plenty of time to return to ‘porter party central’ at Concordia for the night. But they couldn’t be persuaded. Despite the rest day at Huspang, they told us they were too tired to make it all the way to K2 and that Concordia would be the next day’s final destination.

However, what the porters didn’t realize was that this was not Fredrik Ericsson’s first rodeo. Following his passion to ski 8000m peaks, Ericsson has navigated himself through a porter crisis or two. Like the time on Kangchenjunga when half the porters bailed as soon as they reached the glacier and the other half left when it started snowing. No, Fredrik has had enough experience in the porter game to know how to keep the ball rolling and after all the reasoning he could manage he was finally forced to show his hand.

“We go all the way to K2 or no tips for anyone.”

The tent fell silent and we left them to consider the options.

By the time we left Ali Camp at 2 a.m.—the early start was so that we could catch the snow when it was frozen hard and before the sun softened it into a slushy quagmire—a decision still hadn’t been made. We wouldn’t know the outcome until we reached Concordia. Despite the looming showdown, it was an amazing night, total silence except for the crunch of boots on hard snow and our own heavy breathing as we followed the line of headlamps as they moved down the Vigne glacier, miniscule points beneath a galaxy of stars on a moonless night. Falling stars and flashes of light on the horizon that in west Texas we know of as the miracle of heat lightning. Here, near Kashmir and the disputed border with India, it might simply be the beginning of nuclear holocaust.

Gasherbrums from Gondogoro La

Gasherbrums from Gondogoro La

Concordia

We arrived at Concordia by 5 a.m. with an icy wind blowing in our faces. The Baltoro Cleanup crew welcomed us into their warm tent and thrust steaming cups of milk tea and fresh chapatis (Pakistani flour tortillas) into our hands—hospitality to strangers is a fundamentals of Islamic culture.

The porters dropped their loads and in no time a cook tent of their own had gone up with a stove fired up inside. It looked as though they were settling in.

The bitter wind shook the tent as we sipped tea and spoke with Raza, the personable leader of the Baltoro cleanup crew, about their efforts to educate both climbers and porters about the horrific pollution of the Baltoro glacier. In the past few weeks the crew had removed 1200 kilos (2,646 lbs)of garbage from the glacier and by the end of the summer he anticipated 22,000 kilos (48,502 lbs) would have to be carried out after a long-needed cleanup of K2, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum base camps. Learn more about their efforts at ev-k2-cnr.com.

Soon enough Fredrik and I stood to leave, thanked the crew for their hospitality and wished them luck in their valiant endeavor. We’d had time to rest and warm up but if we were going to make it to K2 then it was time to get moving. As Ericsson exited the tent the porters outside rushed into their own cook tent and we could hear an ‘enthusiastic’ discussion inside. Before long, several of the younger porters emerged and began breaking down the cook tent. K2 here we come!

Porters leaving Dalsanpa

Porters leaving Dalsanpa

 

K2 Base Camp


So here we are at K2 BC gearing up for our first trip up the mountain tomorrow. We’ll try to reach Camp 1 and perhaps spend a few nights there acclimatizing and scoping the route. We still don’t have a base camp cook tent, stove, food or fuel or the bag we left in Huspang but for now our focus is getting up the mountain and we’re hopeful that all those other minor details will work themselves out by the time we get back. Inshallah (God willing).

/Trey Cook

Porters on Gondogoro La

Porters on Gondogoro La

 

2010-06-17

 

Ski K2 2010 Video Blog #1


 

2010-06-16

Goodbye Laila, K2 Here We Come

Laila Peak – 5700m/18,700 ft

8:30am. The pit, in and of itself, was inconclusive. When pressured with the kind of force that would represent a skier executing a silky smooth jump turn, a layer did, in fact, release but it wasn’t the kind of sheer that shrinks your cojones and sends you tiptoeing for the nearest safety zone. The summit was literally straight above us, just a few more hard hours and we’d be there. On the other hand, the northwest aspect of Laila is a massive, flat and featureless 45-50˚ tabletop and it was easy to imagine that any kind of fracture would release the entire face. It’s times like these that I find it useful to pause for a moment to reflect on my priorities in life.

Fredrik cooking at C1

After a refreshing alpine start we’d been climbing for five hours, traversing really, once we’d rappelled over the ‘shrund, found a semi-stable snowbridge to cross the crevasse that blocked access to the face, then traversed to the base of the rock band that guards the climber’s right. That’s when we started gunning up the central snowfield for the summit. We were making good time thanks in no small part to the evil-looking cornice that threatened the traverse for a good coupla hours. But the higher we climbed the deeper the snow became until we found ourselves swimming in waist-deep sugar. It felt stable but that much snow at that angle and everything telling us there was more snow above us made those gut instincts kick in. That’s when we dug the pit to check the snow stability.

redrik Ericsson Laila Peak 2010

Instincts go a long way in the mountains and the ability to tune into them is a proven skill for those who have led long and prosperous lives in the mountains. Fredrik Ericsson is a guy with the aforementioned skill. As one of the world’s most experienced and most active high-mountain skiers it’s safe to say that Ericsson relies on, and is more in tune with, those gut instincts much more than your everyday 9-to-5er. Check this resumé:

July 2003 – Peak Somoni aka Pik Communism – skied from summit (7495m/24,590ft) to base camp.

Sept 2004 – Shisha Pangma – skied from central summit (8012m/26,286ft) to green grass.

June 2005 – Laila Peak – turned back 100m from summit when faced with 60˚ blue ice. Skied from 5950m to Gondogoro glacier.

July 2005 – Gasherbrum II – skied from summit (8035m/26,362ft) to the icefall above base camp.

Oct 2007 – Dhaulagiri – along with noted alpinists Dodo Kopold (Slovakia), Kinga Baranovska (Poland), Kim Hong Bin (Korea), Ericsson turned back when faced with deep, unstable snow. Skied from 8000m/26,247ft to base camp.

Oct 2008 – Kangchenjunga – Turned back when confronted by heavy storms (half a meter in one day). Skied from 7000m/22,966ft to base camp.

June 2009 – K2 – Called off expedition after partner’s fatal accident.

When it comes to living the dream, high-alpine skiing can at times be more of a nightmare. But clearly, Ericsson’s track record proves not only his remarkable strength in the mountains but also his ability to listen to his gut and make the toughest call of all: the decision to turn back. But it is precisely that combination of sensing the ethereal, making a calculated decision and pulling the plug that keeps a person alive to climb another day.

Laila Peak C1

Of course, you’re rarely in a position for validation. It’s inevitable that for all but the most zen-tastic climber you’ll inevitably find yourself back at base camp second-guessing your decision. Its bitterness keeps you awake at night, darkens thoughts in otherwise serene moments, makes you dwell on the difference between living life and cheating death and which side of that particular line you’re standing on when you desperately want to continue while something deep inside you is telling you to tuck tail and run.

So yeah, we’re back at base camp, watching it snow, trying not to think too hard about anything other than why the solar panels aren’t charging the batteries. Trying to avoid eye contact with Laila. Ericsson’s clearly smitten with this Balti beauty and after basking in her glow for a day I can totally see why he’s fallen so hard for her. In his eyes, her coy rebuffs have done nothing but made her that much more desirable.

But we’re here on a mission and that mission is to ski K2. Word has filtered through the porter hotline that the Gondogoro-la has just been opened by the aptly named Gondogoro Safety Team. Over on the snow-besieged Baltoro glacier the Swiss have finally persevered within the last few days to reach Broad Peak. A rumored porter conundrum has left the French just short of the normal base camp at Gasherbrum II but close enough to start working their way up. Nobody has yet made it through to K2.

Laila Peak climbers

It’s tempting to stay here with Laila. We’re camped on dry ground, the lake is melting and we know that if we could just hang out for another coupla days the sun would shine again and Laila would give us another go. But despite all this there’s a feeling in our guts and it’s not last night’s rice and dahl supreme. It’s K2 calling our names and that’s a gut instinct that’s impossible to ignore. Time to piss on the fire, call in the dogs and head ‘em on up to K2.

-Trey Cook

 

2010-06-10

Laila Peak Camp 1 – 5140m (16,863 ft)

The courtship has begun. Yesterday we made a reconnaissance mission up the Gondogoro glacier to catch a glimpse of the lovely face of Laila Peak. It was a perfect day—blazing sun, not a breath of wind, not a cloud in the sky. Frippe and I were the first people to be this far up the glacier this season and there wasn’t another soul in the entire valley, not a footprint, not a sound. Nothing but snow and sky and rock and shadows. Heaven on Earth.

As we moved up the glacier Laila’s stunning northwest face slowly came into view, a steep, snow-covered pyramid descending 1000 meters (4921 ft) at a pitch-perfect 45-50˚ before it cliffs out in a 500-meter (1640 ft) rock band with a narrow escape skier’s left beneath a serac. She’s absolutely breathtaking.

Now, climbers tend to approach mountains in a lot of different ways. Some see them as an opponent or adversary that must be attacked and defeated. I, on the other hand, have always looked upon my relationship with a mountain as more of a courtship. I find a peak desirable and I want to find out what she’s all about, learn what’s beneath her superficial beauty, treat her with the utmost respect, let her reveal her secrets when and as she wants. And so it is with Laila.

We found a big flat rock smack in the middle of the glacier and settled in. We ate some lunch, took some photos, had a little siesta, took some more photos, basked in the beauty of Laila, made a plan.

Fredrik skiing

In regards to both mountains and women, the straightforward approach certainly has its merits. However, with Laila the seracs that, at climber’s right of the rock band, are the equivalent of the don’t-even-think-about-it look from an attractive woman in a bar that’s waiting for someone who is clearly not you. They’d be OK for Frippe to make a couple of quick turns beneath on his ski descent but to make an approach beneath them would be to open yourself to almost certain humiliation and potential bodily harm.

No, our idea was to take a more indirect approach. We’d climb in from the west, set up a camp, descend, then wait for a weather window. It would take a bit more time and effort but Laila is worth it.

So we headed out from base camp around 8:00 in the morning and maneuvered our way through a short, easy rock band to reach a couple of nice snow bowls. The snow was perfect for hiking and by noon we were at 5140m (16,863 ft) on a ridge leading to the west of Laila.

Fredrik tent

“Hi there. You remember Fredrik from 2005, right? Well, he’s just said so many nice things about you and since we were in the neighborhood we just had to stop by and see you. And yes, all those things he’s said about you are true. Here we are surrounded by all these stunning faces yet you really do stand out. But enough of that, it’s a lovely weekend and the band is rockin’, how about a spin ‘round the dance floor? C’mon, it’ll put a smile on your face and if it doesn’t then just give us the sign and we’ll leave you alone. Promise.” Or maybe not that cheesy but y’know, something like that.

Laila Peak

We began to shovel a tent platform. Light clouds skittered in from the south and about the time we got the tent up it started snowing. We ducked into our shelter—a confusion of down, elbows and gear—and kicked back as the rest of the day alternated between snow, sun and those rare magical moments when you are blessed with both. Laila was acting like the girl who surrounds herself with an impenetrable wall of friends but every now and then looks over and smiles right at you. Not a ‘yes’, but not a ‘no’ either. More of an “I might be interested, but you know I’m not that easy. But after all, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”

Trey climbing

So after a restless night at our first camp over 5000m (16,404 ft) we left the tent and descended back to base camp for a few well-needed rest days. Despite being surrounded by dozens of gorgeous faces glistening in the sun, tempting us with big, open bowls and steep couloirs, our thoughts are only of Laila.

 

2010-06-09

Dalsanpa Camp - 4180m (13,714 ft)

Base camp. It seemed as though it took us forever but we’re finally here. Two days ago we followed a line of 23 porters as they left the terraced fields of Hushe behind and headed into the magnificent Karakorum mountains. Smiling children followed us out of town chanting the little English that they knew, “Hello.” “Hello.” “Hello.” It would have been a scene from a movie if it hadn’t been for the big black clouds in front of us.

Ali and Fredrik on a bridge

As we moved steadily upward the clouds ghosted among the peaks keeping us hopeful we would make it to that night’s camp without getting christened. However, about 20 minutes out of camp our luck ran out and we finally got nailed. Thankfully, Shaischo camp has two rock shelters with a covered area between them that enabled us to wait out the rain before setting up our tents.

Dalsanpa Base Camp

After a bowl of hot soup (ramen noodles taste so much better when you’re cold and wet), the rain finally ended and the porters began to get restless. It wasn’t long before a campfire was blazing and the entire group had gathered around. Blue expedition barrels were tested for tonality and the best of the lot was handed over to one of the older porters sitting front and center before the fire. He began to beat a rhythm with one hand while tapping with a stick in the other. One of the crew busted out a song with all the others immediately joining in for the chorus. There were clearly plenty of jokes in the lyrics because a few lines would be sung by one man before the others would roll over laughing and join in for the chorus.

Naturally, it wasn’t long before the dancing started and the whole thing—the uproarious laughter, the solo dancing, the rowdy songs—would normally have made you think this group of men gathered around a campfire in the middle of the mountains was completely loaded. Except that we’re in the Baltistan region of Pakistan and these men are Muslim and alcohol is strictly forbidden.

The next morning we once again fell in line behind the porters. As we ascended between the freshly dusted peaks above our guide, Ali Mohammed—whose job it was to get us from Islamabad to base camp—told us that in the fifteen years he’s been guiding this route this is the most snow he’s ever seen. This information had started early in the trip and was now arriving with increased regularity and apprehension. As if on que, snow began to fall.

Porters Camp Fire

By the time we arrived at base camp, the porters had dropped their loads and there was a small army of them waiting to be treated for everything from blisters to headaches to splinters. We broke out the First Aid kit and began handing out prescriptions. With their wounds patched and their wages in hand the porters headed back down to Hushe, hopeful that the next expedition would be along soon.

With the porters gone it was time to set up camp, which meant that after two days of trekking to over 4000m (13,123 ft) our work was not yet over. It was time to bust out the shovels and start digging tent platforms. We managed to get enough snow moved to hold us until we could put finishing touches on the next day before we closed shop and sat down for dinner. It was over a nice hot meal that we learned what had been bothering Ali about all the snow. “I don’t think we’ll be able to cross the Gondogoro-la. There’s too much snow.”

What!? If this were true it would change our plans dramatically. It would mean that after skiing Laila Peak we would have to turn back and retrace our steps all the way back to Skardu, take the jeep trail to Askole that had been washed out a few days before, and trek six days days to K2 base camp. This would be huge waste of time and energy. After the end of a long, hard day this was about the only news we could hear that would keep us up that night.

Porters Shaischo

 

2010-06-04

Not Askole

Hushe (3122m) - 4 june 2010

In the mountains, flexibility goes a long, long way. I know you were expecting us to be in Askole about now but hey, things change, right?

Bazzar

Our original plan was to go from Skardu to the tiny village of Askole via a long and harrowing 4x4 trail. It’s a narrow road—steep, rock walls on one side that are prone to rockfall, and a sheer drop down to the river gorge far below on the other—that regularly pitches 4x4s piloted by very experienced drivers into the precipice below. From Askole we would begin the six-day trek up the Baltoro glacier, hang a left at Concordia and follow the Godwin-Austen to K2 base camp. It’s a difficult trek of incredible beauty that leads past Paiju Peak, the Trango Towers, Nameless Tower, Uli Biaho, Mustagh Tower, and Masherbrum. And that’s before you even reach Concordia, the legendary junction of three main glaciers from where you can see two 8000-meter peaks and more 7000-meter peaks than you can shake a stick at.

Big bridge

But this spring the snow god has been especially kind to 8000-meter peak skiers by dumping an extraordinary amount of snow in the Karakorum. According to reports K2 base camp is completely buried. Which is not exactly what you want to hear if you’re a climber but sweet, sweet music to the ears of a big mountain skier.

Car packing

And as luck would have it, it seems that conditions are also favorable on the other side of the Gondogoro-la (la means ‘pass’) in the Laila Peak area. Now if you’ve ever seen a photo of Laila Peak (hint, hint: Google it) you’ll know it’s a mountain that’s been tailor made for big mountain skiers. Which is why Fredrik and Jörgen Aamot went to ski it in 2005. The pair climbed to within 100 meters of the summit before the snow turned to 55˚ blue ice and they turned to drop in. Frippe returned to Chamonix with a huge smile on his face and tales of the perfect mountain.

Kid in Hushe

So to weigh out all the options and make a decision took us, ohhhhh, about seven seconds. So at first light we loaded up the jeeps and lit out for Hushe. The day-long drive took us through dry, dusty valleys flanked by soaring mountains on all sides. Along the way were lush oases at the center of which were tiny villages bursting at the seams with smiling children.

Skardu fruit stand

The new plan is to trek up the Gondogoro glacier to our base camp at Dalsanpa (Dalsanpa means ‘field of flowers’)—climb and ski Laila, then head over to K2 base camp via Gondogoro-la and Concordia. This plan will allow time for the snow to consolidate on K2 and give us the chance to acclimatize on Laila. It’s so perfect we’re surprised it wasn’t our original plan in the first place.

At the end of the day we arrived at Hushe, the sleepy village at the end of the road. Locals here depend on climbers and hunters for a living and everyone we met asked us if we knew the climbers on their last trek. “Oh, you are climbing K2? Do you know Rheinhold Messner.”

“Yes, we were climbing together last week.”

“Do you know Rick Ridgeway.”

“Of course. He asked me to tell you hello.”

“Do you know Steve House?”

“Yes, of course. He has seven children now. No more climbing for him.”

 

2010-06-04

Skardu

people in Skardu

Skardu locals

In the blink of an eye there was a razor to my neck. I had committed the ultimate rookie tourist error, suckered into complacence by a few friendly encounters that lulled me into dropping my guard. Now I was on the outskirts of remote village in northern Pakistan in a room filled with evil-looking men all staring intently, waiting to hear what the gringo would say or do that would determine his fate.

The razor was cold and smooth against my neck. I could tell from the skill with which he handled the blade that hed done this before. My mind raced. If I said the wrong thing there would be hell to pay and no doubt the guy behind the video camera would be posting the disastrous results for all to see.

The clock was ticking. I measured my words carefully. A little off the sides, please. And see if theres anything you can do about that bald area on top. The barber moved in with grace and precision. The gallery sat back in their seats, smiling at the gringo’s well-chosen words. Yes, this man had skills with a razor. I was just another unkempt head in a long line of many.

Skardu (2316m) – Thank God for airplanes. Specifically the one that flies very irregularly from Islamabad to Skardu and upon which we were lucky enough to score seats. This 1-in-5 chance had saved us two long days of bus travel on the Karakorum Highway, a dramatic adventure in and of itself but one that most climbers find a single trip along to be more than enough.

From the main street Skardu is a dry, dusty town with a highly trafficked dirt main street packed shoulder-to-shoulder with ramshackle shops of every description. But beneath the surface theres something kinda cool about the place. Its sitting in the bottom of a beautiful river valley, surrounded by high peaks. Its got the kind of high-energy yet laid back vibe of other mountain towns. The people here are salt-of-the-earth kind of people. If you wave at them they smile and wave back. Kids of all ages are running loose everywhere you look.

Skardu young locals

Skardus young locals

Fredrik and the Skardu locals

The Skardu locals enjoyed our cameras


Skardus purpose as the launching point for expeditions and trekkers heading up the Baltoro, Biafo and Trango glaciers or the Deosai Plains means it has plenty of adequate hotels with hot showers and even wifi connections. However, you wont find a multiplex cinema or a Starbucks or even a sidewalk cafe here. So when we heard there was a polo match being played we grabbed the cameras and headed out.

Polo game Skardu

Polo game in Skardu


Polo is a big deal round these parts and in talking to spectators it was explained to me that Pakistanis played freestyle polo--meaning no referees and few rules—a fact of which the locals were quite proud of, almost looking in disdain at the genteel version practiced by westerners.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the dusty streets picking up last-minute gear—snow stakes, gas canisters, batteries, potato chips—before we swung towards the outskirts for the last lid spin for the next two months. In a town like Skardu, a good barber shop—not a hair salon, mind you—is one of the best ways to get the true vibe of a place. Youre stuck at the barbers mercy for a good half hour and if the guy is worth his hair tonic then theres bound to be some good conversation and lively comments from the peanut gallery that should be filling the waiting seats. In fact, as in choosing a diner based on the number of trucks parked out front, you want to select a barber by the quality and quantity of the back benchers.

Trey Cook Haircut Skardu

Trey went to get a haircut

Pakistan hairstyles

and man was there some nice ones to choose from....

It wasnt long before talk turned to the local economy and how Skardu, with its heavy reliance on tourism, had been taking a beating as of late. Peak permits were far below normal and on the streets of Skardu we only saw two other westerners. The crew in the barber shop were quick to blame the media for exaggerating the terrorist threat and for not explaining that the few incidents that had occurred were mostly down south or in the North West Frontier, far removed from the newly-formed Gilgit Skardu Territory. They was no hesitation in telling us how much they dislike the Taliban and the US government all in the same breath, quickly followed with how much they like the American people.

It was then that I had one of those revelations about how small our planet really is. To realize that these people in a remote village in northern Pakistan—people who, according to a lot of American media reports want nothing more than to kill us because of our differences—could in actuality have some of the same ideas as a lot of people I know back in the States.

Y know, the more I think about it the more Id have to say thats one of the best 100 rupee ($1.25) haircuts Ive ever run across.

 

2010-06-03

K2 Expedition Blog on Outsideonline

Outsideonline K2 Expedition

We are on our way to K2 and the blogging has started. You can follow our blog on Outsideonline.com. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

2010-06-02

Islamabad More Like Islamagood

1 June 2010 - Skardu, Pakistan (2316m)

Fredrik Ericsson in Islamabad

Fredrik Ericsson surrounded by terrorists.

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me. Not sure how much of a fiesta were going to be able to drum up in this town but my birthday wishes are all in place and Im super stoked to be here.

A couple of days ago we flew into Islamabad at the ungodly hour of 4:00 in the morning. We owe a huge thanks to the ever-hospitable Mohammed Ali of Karakorum Magic Mountain for meeting us at the airport with a big smile and a hearty welcome despite the ungodly hour.

Karakorum Magic Mountain (KMM) is the group that has organized the porters who will accompany us to base camp with all the food, our climbing permit, and all the gear and fuel that will keep us fat and happy for the next two months. Fat and happy are perhaps not the most precise terms to use considering well be parked up at 5000m on the Baltoro glacier for the next two months but were going to stay positive until one of us pukes. Literally.

Anyway, the crew at KMM are solid guys who provide a great service and we cant say enough good things about them. If youre heading towards Pakistan and need Base Camp logistics give them a call and tell em to add it to Fredrik Ericssons bill. They love that guy.

Karakoram Magic Mountains

Karakorum Magic Mountain crew: Mohammed Ali, Shujaat Ali Machulo Apshorpa, Trey Cook, Ali Mohammed, Fredrik Ericsson

We planned our schedule to fly in on a Sunday when we knew everything would be closed so that wed be able to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Our day of rest would also allow us the chance to do some casual sightseeing before we got stuck into the meetings and last–minute ratting around we had scheduled on Monday.

Hoping to find a terrorist or two to bring some action to the blog we swung past Faisal Mosque, which at 5000 sq.m (54,000 sq.ft) is the largest mosque in Pakistan and the sixth largest in the world. I guess you could call it the Muslim version of the Mormon Tabernacle Church. (I wonder how many readers I just lost with that comparison).

Faisal Mosque in Islamabad

Faisal Mosque

Anyway, Faisal was indeed the place to be for people of Islamabad to hang out of a Sunday however we didnt seem to find any Islamabaddies, just a heckuva lot of Islamagoodies. People went out of their way to be friendly, joke around and tell us how much they love Americans. Of course, my guess is the ones who dont like Americans were less inclined to stop by for a chat but the overwhelming impression I got was that, in Pakistan, if you can move beyond the fear of some serious evil eye glares youll wind up in a conversation with someone with workable English who is genuinely friendly and eager to spread light on the misconceptions about their culture.

Trey Cook in Islamabad

Trey Cook captured by terrorists

The next day we ventured into the 42˚C heat (107˚F) in order to pay a visit to the Alpine Club of Pakistan. This audience is required of all climbers needing a peak permit.

At the ACP headquarters in Islamabad’s sprawling sports complex we met a group of French and Canadian climbers who were on their way to Gasherbrum II.

We also had the great pleasure of meeting Yusuke Sato, one of the Giri Giri Boys who is a double Piolet dOr nominee. In English, this means Sato is one of the premier climbers on the planet right now. He, along with Fumitaka Ichimura and Katus Yokoyama are on their way to push a new route up the North Face of Latok, a particularly fearsome peak with no easy routes and very few ascents. Lord have mercy. Sato told me Giri Giri is Japanese for at the limit or on the edge. True dat.

Yusuke Sato and Fredrik Ericsson

Giri Giri Boy Yusuke Sato, Fredrik Ericsson

When our turn was called we went in for a meeting with the head of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, Wing Commander Javaid Iqbal. Seems the Air Force more or less oversees the ACP as well as the national ski team.

In any case, Commander Iqbal was a serious but pleasant man. He asked us about our previous climbing experience and what we did for work. The whole scenario kind of had the same feeling as that of visiting with your girlfriends dad where a certain amount of respect is called for but ultimately you’re both on the same team.

He also told us about the high mountain K2 cleanup project that has been scheduled for this year by the CAP together with the Ev-K2-CNR Committee. Their last initiative, a cleanup of Concordia, was well-needed and greatly appreciated.

After that, we went by the black market to exchange some cash. Im here to report that at this time one US dollar is worth 85 Pakistani rupees and one euro is worth 98. Its incredible to think that both the dollar and the euro are tanking against the Pakistani rupee. Thanks investment banksters. Thanks Greece. Folks in Pakistan arent too stoked on you either.

 

/Trey

 

 

 

2010-06-01

Follow the K2 expedition on Facebook

K2 expedition facebook page

I have made a new Facebook page where Trey and I will post news and photos from the K2 expedition. Make sure you check out the page, write comments and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask us. Follow the link to see the page: Fredrik Ericsson - Ski Mountaineering

 

 

 

 

2010-05-31

Ski Mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson Begins K2 Adventure

K2 - The Savage Mountain

K2 - The Savage Mountain

31 May 2010 - Islamabad, Pakistan (457 meters)

 

As-Salamu alaykum*. After months of preparation and one long day of traveling, Fredrik Ericsson and I have finally arrived in the capital of Pakistan on the first leg of our adventure.

What adventure I hear you ask? Fredrik—or ‘Frippe’ as our crew in Chamonix calls him—will be doing everything in his power to become the first person to ski from the summit of K2. Yep, you read that right. This guy plans to not just climb the most difficult, dangerous and baddest 8000-meter peak on the planet, he wants to do what’s never been done before by slapping on his skis and charging the 3600 meters (11,811 feet) back down to base camp.

Fredrik Ericsson

Oh, and did I forget to mention that he plans to do it without supplemental oxygen? And without Sherpas or high-altitude porters? And no, he’s not mainlining EPO or steroids or Red Bull or any other kind of performance-enhancing anything. It’s just him, his skis, a ruggedly handsome and highly courageous ski journalist (that would be me) and one notoriously foul-tempered mountain.

Of course, you probably already know of K2’s hard-won reputation as The Savage Mountain. That’s the term of endearment she earned by slamming the door on many of the world’s best alpinists and sending them home with their tails between their legs.

In his book “K2: Life and Death on The World’s Most Dangerous Mountain” Ed Viesturs states, “I had previously climbed Everest and Kangchenjunga, the first and third highest peaks in the world, but I knew that K2 was in another league of difficulty and danger.”

Indeed, the last time anyone made it to the top of K2 was in 2008 when 30 climbers from 10 different expeditions joined forces to make a summit bid. Around 18 of them are believed to have made the summit and in a terrible chapter in the history of climbing, 11 of them never returned.

The next year, 2009, the mountain brushed off all her suitors, sparing all but one precious life, that of Michele Fait, an experienced Italian ski mountaineer whose tragic death deeply saddened both the climbing and skiing communities.

But 2009 wasn’t all bad. American ski mountaineer Dave Watson was also on the mountain last summer and skied down from the Bottleneck just 300 meters (1000 feet) below the summit. His effort confirmed others’ belief that the impossible might actually be possible. One of those believers is Fredrik Ericsson. The other is myself, y’know the strong yet sensitive alpine journalist.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about Fredrik, K2, our plans, and our ability (or lack thereof) to stick to those plans in our daily(ish) blog that’s being posted by the adventure-loving fanatics at OutsideOnline.com.

At any point along the way we encourage you to hit us with questions about topics we haven’t covered, things you don’t understand or anything at all about our expedition that you’d like to know more about. Taking the time to respond might very well be the only thing that keeps Frippe and I from strangling each other as the weeks drag on and the down days (and those annoying idiosyncracies) begin to stack up.

In the meantime, we’ll be in Islamabad taking advantage of our last two days in civilization to enjoy the simple pleasures of champagne-drenched, cocaine-fueled nights spent in the company of an endless stream of exotic, high-class prostitutes.

Nah, just joking. Anyone who knows anything about Islamabad (or Fredrik and me for that matter) knows that simple pleasures at this point mean little more than a comfy bed, a hot shower, cold Coca-Cola and ice cream. Man, how we’re gonna miss that ice cream.

As-Salamu Alaykum*,

Frippe and Trey

*Arabic greeting meaning ‘peace be upon you.’

Trey Cook

Trey Cook - the ruggedly handsome and highly courageous ski journalist

 

 

2010-05-29

Its Time...

Yesterday I had a busy day in Stockholm. Picked up my passport with my Visa at the Embassy of Pakistan, visited the Tierra, Primus, Brunton office and got a new Down Jacket and Primus Solo stove, had lunch with some friends and picked up a new Satellite BGAN. So now Im ready. Flying to Pakistan today. It will be so nice to get on the plane. As soon as Im on the plane I can relax and forget about everything at home and just focus on the climbing and skiing. Looking forward to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010-05-27

Two days left...

It is getting closer to departure for Pakistan, only two days to go now. Even though we have packed and sent all our climbing gear with cargo there is still a few things that needs to be sorted out before departure, for example get Visa for Pakistan, do my tax declaration and buy Swedish blueberry soup. Some things are easy to sort out and some things not...

testing my BGAN

Perfect setup when it works. When it doesnt ... frustration

About a week ago I found out that my Satellite BGAN modem doesnt work. Its what we use to connect to internet during the expedition so we need it to be able to update the website. As always when it comes to these small electronic devices its a bit more complicated than you expect. After speaking to the Swedish distributor we found out that my BGAN has old software and that that could be the problem. With less than a week to go and with the closest repair center in Germany I really wished that was it. After a few days of trying to download the new software I finally got it today. Unfortunately my BGAN doesnt work even with new software. ARRRGGHH!!! How frustrating! Fortunately Telemar Scandinavia had a solution to my problem, they have a BGAN modem that I can rent for the expedition. Not a cheap solution, but at this point the only...

Tomorrow I am going to Stockholm to pick up a new Down Jacket from Tierra, my passport at the Pakistan Embassy and the BGAN modem from Telemar. Then I will be ready to go.

 

 

 

2010-05-26

Film from the Bottleneck on K2

Here is a film clip shot by Dave Watson from the bottleneck section on K2. This is one of the tricky places we will face on the climb to the top. check it out!

 

 

 

2010-05-18

Preparing gear

Today was gear day. On an expedition to an 8000-meters mountain like K2 one need a lot of gear. To not have too much gear on the flight to Pakistan we will send most of our gear in advance by cargo. Therefore Trey and I used today to sort out our gear and load it in barrels and a skibag that we will drop off at Geneva Airport tomorrow.   

My gear for the K2 expedition

I ended up with four barrels, one bag and a skibag. Total weight around 130 KG.

Trey packing for K2

Trey had a bit less gear. Only one barrel and two bags. Total weight around 65 KG

I also got a bit of training done today. I feel that running uphill is very good training for high altitude climbing and skiing. Here in Chamonix there are loads of trails in the forest and on the mountains and many of them are uphill. With such a massive selection of trails I never have to run the same trails which makes it more interesting. Today I ran from Les Tines towards Les Praz and up to the midstation of Flegere. It is about 800 vertical meters uphill and it took me 50 minutes up and about half and hour down. Nice workout.  

After I have dropped off our cargo in Geneva tomorrow Im heading up to Sweden where I will stay until departure for Pakistan on may 29.

 

 

2010-05-17

Last day of the season

Yesterday was probably my last day of the ski season before I head over to Sweden and Pakistan so I wanted it to be a good one. The last couple of weeks has been totally crazy in Chamonix. It has been snowing almost every day and the mountains are totally blasted with snow, whiter than anytime during the winter. The good thing is that it is low season now so it hasnt been much people fighting for the fresh tracks. Yesterday was sunday so a few more skiers than earlier during the week showed up at the lift. Not that it mattered. I hooked up with Michael Devor, Matti Notlind and Stefan Carlsson to ski the Cosmique Couloir. Checking the webcam in the morning it was blue sky and all clear but as we got off the lift at the top of the Aiguille du Midi and got out on to the bridge we were in the clouds with no visibility. We took a chance and skied down to the start of the couloir. It was a good feeling to go underneath the clouds as we aproached the couloir. We could see the sun shining through the clouds and the view of the surrounding mountains. It was looking good for our run. But as we were standing at the top just about to drop in clouds pulled in and visibiliy once again got worse. The mix of visibility and whiteout continued throughout our run. As soon as we got some visibility we skied. And it wasnt bad, deep powder snow with only a few tracks in the couloir. We could easily find our own untracked line. When the snow is that good the Cosmique is one of my favourite runs in Chamonix. It surely didnt feel like the 16th of may. Instead of traversing back to the mid station to take the lift down we skied down towards the Mont Blanc tunnel. The first few hundred meters was great and then it got less and less snow until we took our skis off and walked down the trail. The amazing skiing we got was exactly what I needed before I stow away the skis for the summer.     

Aiguille du midi

The bridge on Aiguille du midi with excited skiers

Stefan and Matti hiking to Cosmique Couloir

Stefan and Matti hiking to the Cosmique couloir with Grandes Jorasses in the background

Michael Devor in the Cosmique Couloir

Michael Devor at the entrance of Cosmique couloir

Matti, Michael and Stefan after the cosmique couloir

Matti, Michael and Stefan back in the valley and happy after a great powder run in the Cosmique couloir on may 16th


 

2010-05-15

Two weeks to go to the K2 expedition

Fredrik Ericssons skis for K2

With only two weeks to go until Trey Cook and I depart for Pakistan and our K2 expedition and with rain hammering down outside I took a rest day in my training and did some packing. The most important gear for me is definitely my skis so they get a bit of extra love... The new Dynastar Mythic Light is tested, stickered and ready to go. The pair in the middle has my new babies on em, the superlightweight ATK Race Bindings (www.atkrace.it).

From now on my partner for K2 Trey Cook (www.chamonixinsider.com) and I will blog more regularly so you can follow our preparations for the worlds second highest mountain, K2 (8612m) here on the site. Stay tuned...

 

 

2010-05-08

A series of unfortunate events in Iceland

The trip to Iceland was as eventful as it could be. Together with skier Per Jonsson, cinematographer Erik Henriksson and photographer Fredrik Schenholm I was going to Iceland to shoot for Swedish ski movie Free Radicals and make an article for ski magazines. Per, Erik and I was to fly from Copenhagen to Reykjavik on Friday April 23. The flight got delayed 12 hours because of the volcanic ash that Eyjafjällajökull has been poluting the airspace with. Instead of staying at the airport we went in to town and sat down at a cafe. As we were drinking our coffee someone knicked my backpack behind my back. In it was my laptop, three cameras, two harddrives etc.. That was only the first of a series of unfortunate events...

The flight from Copenhagen made a ”shortcut” over Berlin before it landed in Egilsstadir on the east coast of Iceland (instead of Reykjavik). From Egilsstadir we had to endure a 4 hours bus ride to Akureyri where Jökull Bergmann picked us up and drove us to the Klængshóll Lodge in Skidadalur near Dalvik. Jökull is a UIAGM-IFMGA certified mountain guide (Icelands first and only) and he runs the Klaengshöll Lodge together with his mom Anna Dora. Since he grew up skiing and climbing on the Troll Peninsula, as the area is called, he now knows the mountains as good as his back pocket.

View over Eyjafjördur near   Dalvik, Iceland

The Troll Peninsula has some Amazing scenery!


We arrived 8 o’clock in the morning and got a quick breakfast before it was time to head up in the mountains to ski. The good thing was the Helicopter waiting for us outside the lodge, the bad thing was that Per and Eriks skibags got lost on the flight. Jökull had to quickly gather some skigear for Per and Erik and a tripod for Eriks video camera that also was in the missing gear. Using borrowed gear is not the best recipe when trying to shoot a ski movie.

Happy dudes in Heli

Gummi, Per and I happy to be up in the Bird.

After the chaos the first few days we had a great time in Iceland. With the help of the helicopter we got to view the amazing mountains of the Troll Peninsula from all aspects. Flying over the mountain tops and out over the ocean was a pretty incredible experience. One of the good things with a helicopter is that we could just point at the mountains we wanted to ski and the heli would drop us off at the top. After skiing a long run down a steep mountain face in powder snow the heli would come and pick us up and drop us off at the next mountain top for a new run on a virgin slope.  

The Pyramid and the   moon on Iceland

The pyramid and the moon. Per and I are climbing the ridge on the right hand side.

Fredrik Ericsson   skiing Pyramid in Iceland

Bulletproof top section turned in to nice powder. Me skiing the Pyramid

The Klængshóll Lodge in Skidadalur (”ski valley” if translated in to english) that we stayed in is literally situated at the end of the road and in the middle of the mountains. It’s the perfect place to stay for skiing in this area. It’s a small and comfortable lodge where the chefs Anna Dora and Sonja are cooking fantastic three course dinners every night. Not only did it taste good but it also filled us up and gave plenty of energy for the next day in the mountains.

Per and Gummi at the Klaengshöll Lodge

Per and Gummi eating breakfast at the Klaengshöll Lodge

Moreof the unfortunate events happened to Fredrik Schenholm, the photographer. He was supposed to arrive two days after us but the ashes of Eyjafjällajökull ones again delayed flights and this time for two days. He was devastated being stuck in Sweden while we were enjoying the stunning scenery in Iceand. Luckily he arrived for one of the weirdest days on the trip. We drove out to Olafsfjordur, a small town situated by the ocean and surrounded by snowcapped peaks to do a skitour. We were expecting a calm and quiet day of skiing with a nice ocean view. As we put on the skins on our skis we were met by 40 snowmobiles. Apparently it was the yearly snowmobile meet in Olafsfjordur. We were devastated by the site and the though of trying to ski in a valley full of snowmobiles. As we went talking to the motorheads they started bragging about their machines having 300 horsepowers and that they could easily drag us up the steep bowl to top of the mountain that we wanted to ski. Since they just ruined our day we thought it would be a good idea to have them make it up to us by taking us up to the top. It was actually quite interesting too see if they could pull it off. And they could, they drove the snowmobiles and us all the way to the top of the mountain. Pretty incredible…And we got to ski the mountain all the way down to the fjord.

The rest of our stay we used manpower to climb the mountains. Nearby the Klængshóll Lodge we found unlimited amount of lines we wanted to ski. Unfortunately, after a long period of warm weather, it wasn’t powder anymore so we had to settle for corn snow. Not bad either. And with the (almost) midnight sun we could stay out and ski all evening getting back to the lodge just in time for dinner.

magic mountains in iceland

Great mountains...

Lunch break in   Iceland

Just a normal lunch break in Iceland. Fredrik Schenholm, Per Jonsson and Erik Henriksson


Erik filming Troll Peninsula 

Erik working late


After a week of sunshine the weather turned bad so we took a rest day from skiing and went to the thermal area of Myvatn for a bath in a hot spring. That was a perfect ending to our trip to Iceland.

Per and Fredrik in Hot spring

Not every day you find a cave with with a hot spring

 

Mountain Guide Jökull Bergmann can give you an experience of a liftime on the Troll Peninsula in the north of Iceland, wether its ski touring or heliskiing. Check out his site: Bergmenn Mountain Guides

Arctic Heliski is the only company that organizes heliskiing in Iceland. Check out the Arctic Heliski site here.

To read more about our Iceland trip check out Per Jonssons blog on www.freeradicals.se

 

Big cars in Iceland

Not only big mountains in Iceland, they also like big cars...

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010-04-30

Skiing in the North


I have been a bit slow on the updates lately. One reason is that my backpack including my laptop got stolen in Copenhagen last week. Fortunately I got my backpack back, the laptop and the cameras was gone but my harddrives was still in it. It sucks to loose the gear but since the information I have on my harddrives is the most important its not a total disaster. Ive got a new Macbook Pro now and after reinstalling the applications Im back on track.

The last couple of weeks Ive been on the road. It started with Pure Freeride Camp (www.purefreeridecamp.se) which is a ski camp in Abisko in the north of Sweden. It was three days of ski touring in the mountains around Abisko, evening entertainment with lectures from a monoskier, muntain guides and professional skiers and live music with the famous Balboas. 

After Pure Freeride I got invited to join the Free Radicals for a couple of days of filming in Narvik, Norway. The crew was skier Per Huss, snowboarder Johan Olofsson, cinematographers Niklas Allestig and Henrik Andersson and photographer Gösta Fries. I have never skied in Narvik before so it was a nice surprise. The mountains are pretty cool and the view over snowcapped peaks and the ocean is unreal. Bluebird, powder snow and a great crew made it into two great days.
The footage will hopefully appear in the next Free Radicals ski movie coming Autumn 2010 (www.freeradicals.se).

Here is some of Per Huss photos from Narvik:

Johan Olofsson in Narvik

Johan Olofsson on top of Mörkhåla with the ocean as backdrop

Gösta Fries hiking up to Mörkhåla

Photographer Gösta Fries hiking up to Mörkhåla

Skiing Narvik

One of the nice lines we skied in Narvik

Storfjellet, Narvik

Storfjellet was the last and the best run Per and I skied in Narvik

Gösta Fries  and the Narvik sunset

We finished off with a run all the way down to the fjord at sunset

 

2010-04-13

Interview in Outside

Outside April 2010

The april issue of Swedish Outside is now in the stores and it features an article about me. Its about my life as a skier and also what I do when Im not skiing. If you dont want to buy it in a store you can order it on the web: Outsideonline.se     

 

 

 

 

2010-04-11

Training for K2

Mont Blanc, Chamonix

Mont Blanc Range is the perfect place to train for a K2 expedition.

Its less than two months left until Im going to Pakistan and K2 again. So its about time to start training. The latter part of the winter has been good with lots of skiing and some pumping iron at the gym. As spring brings warmer temperatures and the snow is dissapearing I will focus my training more on alpine climbing and trail running. At the moment though, there is still a lot of snow in the mountains and I cant think of any better training than to combine climbing and skiing (ski mountaineering).

Geant Glacier

Geant Glacier with its immense ice towers

Yesterday, my partner for K2, Trey Cook and I climbed up to the Col de Tacul and skied the Capucin Couloir down to mer de glace. Its a really nice ski tour that includes all you can ask for: its a high alpine environment with amazing scenery, glacier travel, skinning, steep snow climbing, a rappel and the skiing down starts with a steep couloir that turns in to a big open slope. Its about 900 meter uphill and 1300 m downhill. Unfortunately the snow wasnt at its best yesterday. Anyway the sun was shining and we had a good day in the mountains.

 

Trey Cook rapelling in to the Capucin Couloir

Trey Cook rappelling in to the Capucin Couloir

Trey Cook skiing the Capucin Couloir

Trey doing his best to show how good the snow was.


 

2010-04-09

Dynastar film and photo shoot in Chamonix

Today I went up to Grands Montets with mountain guide and steep skier Remy Lecluse (www.remylecluse.com), photographer Dan Ferrer and cameraman Sylvain to shoot a promo film for the new Dynastar Mythic Light skis. Conditions were not great but the sun was shining and we did find a couple of nice spots with cold snow so we had good time. I will post the film on the site as soon as its out in the cyber world.    

Remy Lecluse

Legendary Mountain Guide and Steep Skier Remy Lecluse

Aiguille du Chardonnet and Aiguille dArgentiere

Beautiful views as always. Aiguille du Chardonnet and Aiguille dArgentiere


 

2010-04-07

Skiing Slovakias High Tatras

Here is the film from our trip to Slovakia and the High Tatras Mountains.

 

 

2010-04-04

High Tatras Sherpas

Check out this film about the Sherpas of the High Tatras in Slovakia: 

 

 

 

2010-03-30

Fresh Snow in Chamonix

After a long period of warm weather and no precipitation the snow gods are once again happy and sent us some of the good stuff. With about 40 cm of fresh snow I had a great day of skiing yesterday. Together with Michael Devor, Trey Cook and Christian Ahlgren we got a couple of nice runs from the top of Grands Montets in the morning before we headed over to Aiguille du Midi and skied the Cosmique Couloir in some of the best conditions in a long time. Just a regular day here in Chamonix...

And more snow is on its way. 15-25 cm of fresh is expected today.

Michael Devor in Cosmique Couloir

Michael Devor in the Cosmique Couloir

Michael Devor with Dome de Gouter in background

Michael Devor with Dome de Gouter and the Bossons Glacier in the background

 

 

2010-03-28

High Tatras Mountains

The last week I spent in the High Tatras mountains in Slovakia with photographer Fredrik Schenholm (www.schenholm.com), journalist Trey Cook (chamonixinsider.com) and snowboarder Daniel Furberg. I have heard a lot of good things about the Tatras mountains but I have never been there. I was very excited to go there and the High Tatras did not dissapoint me. The first few days the weather was instable and it was very warm so we were skiing heavy corn snow in the Tatranska Lomnica ski area. It has a vertical drop of 1200 meters and some nice slopes but that was not why we came to Slovakia. We wanted to go beyond the lifts and venture deep into the High Tatras. Finally, last Tuesday the forecast promised nice weather and colder temperatures for the coming three days. We packed our backpacks and headed into the mountains. After crossing two passes we arrived at the Zbojnicka Hut where we stayed two nights. Nice hut with good food and best of all was the mountains surrounding the hut were stunning. There seems to be an unlimited amount of couloirs to ski in the Tatras. We got to ski two very nice couloirs and lots of nice slopes before the weather turned bad again and we headed home.

Trey is writing a story about our trip for ski magazines that will be out in the autumn but meanwile you can check out the images below to experience a bit of the High Tatras mountains.  

A film from the Tatras will be up in a few days so stay tuned.

 

Javorovy Stit Tatras Mountains

Beautiful Mountains.. Nice couloirs.. Javorovy Stit.

High Tatras view

Stunning views...

Stary Smokovec

Stary Smokovec! My favourite name in the Tatras and it was also a nice town.

Fredrik Ericsson Tatras Mountains

View over the valley from the slopes in Tatranska Lomnica.

Daniel and Fredrik hiking in the Tatras

Daniel and I on our way to the Zbojnicka hut

Skis at Zbojnicka Hut

The other people at the hut thought we had weird skis. I have no comment....

Daniel playing Jenga

Evening entertainment in the hut was Jenga. I am not sure Daniel understood the rules...

Lunch in the Tatras

Lunch break in the Tatras

Fredrik Ericsson skiing High Tatras

We also skied a bit.

Fredrik Ericsson sunrise in High Tatras

At 5.30 in the morning the last day. A nice sunrise as we climbed up the couloir on Cupola.

Trey finished work

7 am and Trey is heading back to the hut after a days work.

High Tatras Porter

This is the man that makes sure there is food and drinks in the Zbojnicka hut. A bottle of Coca Cola was about 1.50 € in the hut.

 

 

 

2010-03-18

Boss des Bosses in Chamonix 

Yesterday was a big day for all old-school skiers in Chamonix, it was the 21st edition of the legendary Boss des Bosses. Its a mogul skiing competition between teams from the greatest ski resorts in the Alps. On the line-up were teams from Zermatt, Verbier, Val dIsere, Courchevel, Meribel and of course the home team of Chamonix. The teams consists of 9 skiers (2 women and 7 men) 2 snowboarders and 2 telemarkers. After a long day with lots of bumps, big airs and crashes the home team took the top honors. 

I have put together a short film from yesterdays Boss des Bosses. Enjoy!

 

 

2010-03-17

Interview in Scanorama Magazine

Scanorama Magazine

If you are flying with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) you can pick up the latest issue of their inflight magazine Scanorama where you will find an interview with me talking about my project to ski the worlds three highest mountains. If you like to read the article now you can go online (see page 28): www.scanorama.com

 

 

2010-03-14

Interview in Umeå Guiden

Umeå Guiden Fredrik Ericsson

In the march issue of Umeå Guiden, a magazine from my home town Umeå, theres an interview with me talking about my life as skier and my project to ski the worlds three highest mountains: Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga. You can read the interview online (in Swedish) on: http://www.guidenmedia.se/Umeaguiden_mars.pdf

 

 

2010-03-12

Swiss Powder

Last weekend I spent in Zinal, Switzerland with Tomas Molin from Brant Magazine, skier Sara Orrensjö and photographer Fredrik Schenholm. Zinal is a small but very good ski area. Even though it many days after the last snowfall the snow was still very nice. We also found a great Pizza place (La Pointe). Good food, good company and good skiing. Doesn't get much better. 

Check out the film clip from Zinal:

 

 

2010-03-11

Trailrunning, not just yet!

Getting bored with running on the roads, I went trailrunning today for the first time this year. Unfortunately there where still snow/ice on the trails and it was pretty difficult to run on. It was more like climbing than running and I would have better off with crampons than running shoes. After giving up the trails I found the cross country ski trail to be pretty good to run on. But then this lady came up on a snow mobile and told me I wasnt aloud to run on the cross country trails. Darn! So I guess I will have to keep running on the roads a few more weeks until the snows gone. Its still better than running on the exercise machines in the gym.

 

2010-03-01

Film from Glacier Rond and Courmayeur

We have had pretty good conditions for skiing here in the area lately so decided to put together a short film from last weeks skiing. It starts with Glaicer Rond in Chamonix that I skied with Mattias Erlandson and Jossi Lindblom last monday and its also from a day of photo shooting with photographer Mikael Pilstrand in Courmayeur. 

Enjoy!!

 

 

2010-02-25

Looking for an Osprey Kode Pack?

 

Osprey Kode ski packs

The popular Kode ski packs have been sold out in stores all over Europe but now the word is that Sport-Conrad has some packs left. Click the link to get your hands on a Kode pack: http://sport-conrad.com

 

 

2010-02-23

Amazing!!

Serac and Dome du Gouter

Dome du Gouter and a pretty cool Serac on the Bossons Glacier

After being out of skiing for a couple of months it feels great just to be back on skis. I almost never ski the pistes but the first couple of days I didn’t care about where I skied or the conditions. I was happy just getting runs on the pistes on Grands Montets.
This winter has so far been really good, lots of snow and cold temperatures giving great skiing conditions. That trend seems to continue. I didn’t have to wait long before Chamonix showed itself at its best. Friday last week we got a dump of snow and over the weekend I got the opportunity to ski three of my favorite runs in Chamonix in perfect conditions. Saturday I skied the Pas De Chevre, from the top of Grands Montets down to the Mer de Glace Glacier and on to Chamonix town. Sunday I skied Glacier Rond from the Aiguille du Midi cable car. 2700 vertical meters of great skiing. Finishing off with the Cosmique Couloir, also from Aiguille du midi, on Monday. The couloir was in the best condition I've had it in for a long time, only a few tracks and knee deep cold powder snow.    

Three days and three amazing runs. Life doesn't get any better..

Mont Blanc, Chamonix

Just the regular view in Chamonix.

Michael Devor and Trey Cook on Pas de Chevre, Chamonix
Trey Cook and Michael Devor on Pas De Chevre

Jossi on Glacier Rond Chamonix

Jossi Lindblom on the Glacier Rond 

Mattias Erlandson on Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix

Mattias Erlandson on his way down from Aiguille du Midi to the Cosmique Couloir. Grands Jorasses in the background.

 

2010-02-16

The Verdict!

Yesterday I went to see a cardiologist to find out what the problem is with me. I have had chest pain for about 2 months now and I was beginning to think I got myocarditis, which is an inflammation in the heart muscle. I was expecting the worst from the doctors verdict. Fortunately she didnt find any problem with my heart. Instead she commented on my spine being crooked and that that could be the cause of my chest pain. I must say that was good news.

Fredrik Ericsson skiing on Brevent in Chamonix

Photo: Fredrik Schenholm

I got the green light to ski again. Yes!! In the afternoon I went up to Brevent to ski with Karsten Gefle and Fredrik Schenholm. Check out the film clip shot by Karsten of me skiing a line on Brevent to see how the snow was:

 

 

2010-02-12

New gear at the ISPO show

This years ISPO trade show in Munich, Germany was exciting as always. All the major brands in the ski and outdoor industry showed their new gear for the winter 2010/11. The ISPO show consists of 15 football-field-sized halls and is, as far as I know, the biggest ski/outdoor industry trade show in the world. As you can understand there is lots of interesting products to see and a lot of walking to be done. After a day on the show the head is overloaded with new impressions and the feet are totally exhausted. Imagine how it feels after four days..

Anyway, the ISPO show is a great place to meet friends from the industry, my sponsors and also get a view of the trends. Which is a great inspiration to me when I help my sponsors with product development. The trends in ski gear this year are: when it comes to skis it is for sure the Rocker, which is a bent tip and (some times) bent tail that makes the skis float better in powder snow. Its not a new thing but it has been improved a lot and now almost all of the brands have Rocker on their freeride skis. In ski boots the trends goes more towards backcountry skiing and ski touring. Many of the classic alpine ski boot brands like Lange and Salomon have now boots with walk mode and Vibram sole. In bindings there is also a focus on ski touring products. Since Dynafits patent on the TLT-system teminated last year there has sprang up a bunch of brands making similar bindings, for example ATK Race, Ski Trab, G3 etc... Other good news is that Marker has made a new lighter version of their ski touring binding now weighing only 1600 g. For normal alpine bindings the greatest news is the return of the Look Pivot binding.

On the images below is some of new gear that I will be using in the upcoming year:

 

Dynastar Legend Series 2011

New design on the Dynastar Legend series with the skis Big Dump and Pro Rider 115. The Pro Rider 115 has also a new progressive tip to make it float better in powder snow.

Dynastar 6th Sense series 2010

Dynastars freestyle skis, the 6th Sense series with (from left to right) the new Huge with rocker in the front and tail, Big, Distorter and Spin.

Osprey Kode ski packs

Osprey continues in 2010/11 with the popular ski pack series Kode.  

Scarpa Mobe ski boots

The new Scarpa Mobe ski boot. Some of the new features are a stiffer shell with better support in the back, new designed active power strap and the ergonomic buckles that are designed to make the shell wrap around the foot better. The Mobe is Scarpas top model with TLT inserts and it is the boot I will use for ski touring next year.

ATK Race bindings

ATK Race bindings. A new Italian made super-light ski binding with the TLT-system. I'm hoping to get my hands on a pair of these bindings to try them out and maybe use them on my Himalaya Expeditions.

 

 

2010-02-06

Look Pivot is Back

Look Pivot

 

Great news from Look. The Pivot binding, which I think is the best ski binding that I have ever used, has been out of production for a few years but is now back. Check out the Look website for more info about the Pivot binding: www.lookpivot.com 

 

 

2010-01-18

Skiing Kangchenjunga film from Free Radicals - 618

As I have mentioned before I am part of the new Swedish ski movie Free Radicals – 618. The film features some of Swedens best freeskiers like Sverre Liliequist, Niklas Karlström, Marja Persson, Emanuel Hedvall, Sebastian Garhammer and its also a sequence from Jörgen Aamots and my attempt to ski the worlds 3rd highest mountain, Kangchenjunga.
Check out the Kangchenjunga sequence:




The movie had its first screening in Gothenburg in the end of October and now you can watch the full length film on Freeride.se: http://www.freeride.se/tv/3673/
Enjoy!!

 

 

2010-01-15

 

So what do I do when I am not skiing?

Fredrik Ericsson in the office

I spend an insane amount of time on my laptop. Trying to learn about marketing and social media, gather information about mountains that I like to ski, keep my sponsors informed on my trips, media exposure and future plans, and I do spend a fair amount of time on youtube. There’s an unreal number of good videos on youtube. Some just entertaining but I also find a lot of ski and climbing films that I can get info about mountains that I want to go to. If you havent been on youtube yet, its about time.

When I can let go of my laptop I am also helping my clothing sponsor Tierra with product development which means that I write down ideas about products that I think they should have in the collection. I also give them feedback on products I have used. At the moment I am testing next years collection of ski wear (or at least I should be if I could go skiing). The testing means that I, together with the rest of the test team, use the gear as much as we can during the winter to see if it works. If the function of the fabrics works as it is supposed to, the materials and zippers are strong enough, the details and functions are the ones that a skier need. It’s a quality test. If the gear pass the test, Tierra knows that it will stand up to the high expectations of their customers. If it doesnt pass, they know what they need to change to fulfill their requirements of quality.
I really enjoy being part of the team as it gives me the possibility to have an impact on the gear I will be using in the future.

Since I cant ski at the moment I am making plans for the the rest of the winter (when I am hopefully well again) and summer. I have some very nice trips lined up for this winter and I will keep you updated with photos and stories as soon as I go anywhere. In the summer I am hoping to go back to the Himalayas. My plan for 2010 is to try to ski the 3 highest mountains, Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga. All in the same year. So a lot of my time at the moment goes into finding sponsors and money for the project. I will keep you posted on how it goes and I will soon write some more info about the project.

 

 

2010-01-14

(Not so) Important website facts..

Getting bored by hanging around at home not being able to ski or do any sports so, the geek that I am, I decided to check out Google Analytics for my website. Here is what I found out:
During 2009 people from 113 different countries visited my site. Thats pretty cool. Wouldnt expect people from countries like Ivory Coast, Guam or Yemen to log onto the site. 
The most hits came from (not surprisingly) Sweden followed by USA and Norway.
Enough geeking.

 

2010-01-12

Back inside…

Outside its sunny and lots of snow. Conditions for skiing is just great at the moment. All the good lines up in the mountains are getting skied in nice powder snow. Yet I am inside. My chest infection doesnt want to let go. Its been going on for about a month now. I feels ok as long as Im taking it easy and staying indoors but as soon as I start exercising I get pain in my lungs and it gets harder to breathe.

Last week I felt good and went skiing. I had no problem skiing a few runs on Brevent but when I got home it felt like someone stabbed a knife in my chest and put a plastic bag over my head. Not great..

So I guess all I can do is to chill = no sports and stay indoors. Slighly frustrating!

 

 

2010-01-05

Back on skis

What a day! After a month of illness I was back on skis again today. It wasnt just any day. After a big snowfall yesterday and all night I started off the day digging out the car. And then I went up to Brevent with Trey Cook and James Morland and got a long run in deep snow all the way to the valley. Gotta love it when you can ski all the way down. Since the top bin wasnt open we skied a few runs from Col Cornu to Charlanon. This area has some pretty cool terrain and the snow was amazing. After a short break in the afternoon, with a cup of hot chocolate, they finally opened the top of Brevent and we finished the day off with an untracked run on the Hotel Face. One of my favorite runs in Chamonix. Great first day of skiing this year. Cant wait to skiing again tomorrow.

 

Snow on cars

Great start of day when the cars are covered in snow

Trey Cook and James Morland in Chamonix

Happy dudes on Brevent

Trey and James breaking trail

Trey and James breaking trail to the Hotel Face

Hotel Face Brevent

The Hotel Face the way you want it, only a few tracks

 

 

2010-01-02

Happy New Year!!


The last few days has brought a lot of snow to Chamonix so the start of the new year looks very good for us skiers. Unfortunately, a virus infection in my lungs has bothered me for about a month now. So not much skiing for me. Hopefully I will be back on my skis again very soon.
This period of illness has given me lots of time to read and I have gone through a few books. The best one being The Mountains of my Life by Walter Bonatti. The legendary Italian climber describes his first ascents on Les Drus, Grandes Jorasses, Grand Capucin and other famous mountains around the world. He also gives his story of the controversial first ascent of K2 in 1954. This book is definitely worth a read. 

 

The Mountains of My Life by Walter Bonatti

 

 

2009-12-23

 

 

merry christmas

 

 

 

2009-12-21

Rencontres Expes in La Grave

On january 15 I will do a talk at the Rencontres Expes in La Grave. I will speak about my ski adventures to 8000-meters peaks. For more info about the festival and schedule check out the website: http://www.rencontres-expes.com

 

Rencontres Expes La Grave

 

2009-12-12

Film: Skiing the volcano Etna

Last season, in march, I went on a trip to Sicliy, Italy with photographer Fredrik Schenholm to ski on the Volcano Etna. We also visited the nearby island Stromboli were we saw some amazing volcanic eruptions. Check out the video from the trip:

 

 

2009-12-11

Free Radicals 618 at Chambre 9 tonight...

Free Radicals 618

If you are in Chamonix tonight you got to go to Chambre 9 (at 8 pm) to check out the new Swedish ski movie Free Radicals 618. Its the 10th Free Radicals ski movie and this year the crew have been filming all over the world, from Borgafjäll in Sweden to Transylvania in Romania, from Alaska to Japan and all over the Alps. The film features some of the best Swedish riders like Sverre Liljeqvist, Marja Persson, Niklas Karlström, Jon Larsson, Emanuel Hedvall and more.. There is also a sequence from my Kangchenjunga Expedition. I hope you will enjoy it.

Check out the teaser for Free Radicals 618:

 

 

 

2009-12-08

Powder day on Les Grands Montets

Grands Montets Chamonix

Keen skiers are queing up for the seasons first Powder day in Chamonix

The opening day of the lifts in Chamonix for 2009/10 season was a pretty nice day. Loads of eager skiers showed up at the Grands Montets last saturday to start the new season. We all got a nice surprice. I knew we got quite a lot of fresh snow the last week but I also know that Grands Montets is a rocky mountain that needs loads of snow to be skiable. My hopes were pretty low and I expected to be doing a few runs on the pistes. As I was riding up the Bochard lift I could see skiers flying down in boot deep powder. I got very excited and got on my skis as soon as I got out of the lift. It proved to be much more snow than I had expected and you could ski all over the mountain. I admit, I did hit a few rocks though. But it doesnt matter on a day like this. The season cant start much better than a day of boot deep powder on the Grands Montets. Looking forward to more skiing.

View from Grands Montets

Les Aiguilles Rouges seen from Grands Montets

 

 

2009-12-03

 

Free Radicals in Chamonix

Free Radicals 618

Next friday, on december 11, its Chamonix turn to get a visit from the Free Radicals film tour. Come to Chambre Neuf and watch the new Free Radicals 618. It will be a good time.

 

 

 

2009-12-02

Hestra has new website

My glove sponsor Hestra has a new website. Check it out: www.hestragloves.com

 

Hestra Gloves website

 

 

2009-12-02

Lifts opening in Chamonix

Saturday is the big day. Les Grands Montets are opening for the season. Lognan, Bochard and Marmottons lifts will be open. The same day, Aiguille du Midi are also opening after a month closure due to service. It will be hard to choose. Is it enough snow for the midi? or should I go for the safe option of Grands Montets?

Looking forward to it..

Fredrik Ericsson skiing pow

Photo: www.mikaelpilstrand.com

 

 

2009-11-30

Finally, Snow!!!

Snowing in Chamonix

After the strong and warm foehn winds yesterday it was nice to wake up this morning and look out the window and see snow. And it wasnt just a thin layer of snow but around 30 cm of fresh snow when I measured on the roof of my car. Yes, Finally!!!

 

 

2009-11-27

Mount St Elias Film Premiere in Vienna

Mount st Elias

The new film Mount St Elias had its first screening in Vienna last wednesday. It is a film about Axel Naglich, Peter Ressman and Jon Johnstons try to make the worlds longest ski descent on Mount St Elias in Alaska. 

The film was in German so I didnt understand it all, but the fotage was amazing. Probably the best mountainfilm I have ever seen. Looking forward to see the english version.

To find more about the Mount St Elias film, check out the website: www.mountstelias.com

or watch the trailer:

 

 

2009-11-24

Winter is on its way....

 

Les Drus and Aiguille Verte in Chamonix

Aiguille Verte and Les Drus in Chamonix today.

Last night we got a bit of snow at altitude. The photo above, that I shot today, shows the mountains a bit more white than before.  This gives me hope that the lifts will open soon. Meanwhile check out the webcams on Compagnie de Mont Blanc site. Not too bad on the Grands Montets.

 

 

2009-11-23

Osprey Kode Events, Free Radicals in Stockholm and then the flu…

 

Fredrik Ericsson and the Osprey Kode pack

I have been on the road a bit lately. It started with the Osprey Kode Events in Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Stockholm last week. Together with the Osprey crew and photographer Mikael Pilstrand we went to Friluftsland (outdoor store) in Copenhagen, Naturkompaniet (outdoor store) in Gothenburg and Stockholm to present the new ski pack Kode. Mikael was talking about photography and I was showing photos and speaking about my adventures. I have been helping out developing the Kode packs with Osprey so it is a lot of fun to see that people really likes the packs.

 Free Radicals 618

After the Osprey events it was time for the second screening of the Free Radicals 618. This time it was at Berns in Stockholm. The opening night in Gothenburg two weeks ago was fully packed and a crazy party so my expectations was high. Stockholm didnt disappoint, loads of people showed up at Berns and made it a good evening. Watching the movie a second time I think it got even better and Im happy with the sequence from my Kangchenjunga Expedition. There will also be a screening of the Free Radicals 618 in Chamonix some time in the beginning of december.

I cant handle the big citys. After three days I woke up with the flu and sicne then Ive spent a week in bed. Im back in Chamonix again trying to get rid of the flu and waiting for the snow to fall.

 

 

 

2009-11-10

First Day Of Skiing

 

After a very dry Autumn it finally started snowing here in Chamonix about a week ago. The Autumn has been pretty dark and dull but as soon as the mountains turned white my mood changed. I took out my gear from the storage and waxed the skis. When the snow report said 30 cm of fresh snow on 2000m I could not wait any longer, so last sunday I went for a hike up Le Tour with Trey Cook (www.chamonixinsider.com). It wasnt much snow down by the parking lot but enough to put on our skis and start skinning. On our way up we met happy skiers going down, some where walking and some were stonegrinding their skis. All with a smile on their face.

As we passed Charamillon (the mid station of the lift) the snow got deeper and we could see the potential for some skiing. The good thing wth Le Tour is the grass slopes that doesnt need a lot of snow to be skiable. We made it up to the top of the chairlift and skied the same way back down. The visibility was pretty bad and the snow was so and so but the first day of the season is always the first. It doesnt really matter how it is, it is just good to be back on skis again. I am getting very exited about the winter and looking forward to more skiing.

Le Tour Chamonix

First day on skis for this season

Le Tour Chamonix

A bit cloudy...

Deep Snow in Chamonix

We were hoping for a lot of snow but didnt expect this... ;)

 

2009-10-26

No winter yet..

Seems like we have to wait a bit longer for the winter to arrive. The last few weeks it has been getting colder and colder and we even got a bit of snow on the mountains. I was sure that was the beginning of the winter and that we would be skiing soon. But not yet. As we speak it is getting warmer and a big high pressure is over the Mont Blanc area. Last saturday I decided to take advantage of the nice and warm weather so I went with Matt Helliker to climb at the crag in Bionassay (near Les Contamines). It is a very nice crag, south facing and protected from the wind. Lots of hard routes. A bit too hard for me but it was fun.

Now I am ready for the winter.

 

Bionassay climbing

The crag in Bionassay with a beautiful view over the snowcapped mountains

 

 

2009-10-22

Ski Descent of Breithorn

Samuel Anthamatten and Michi Lerja skis a beautiful line on Breithorn in Zermatt, Switzerland.

Check out the video:

 

 

2009-10-20

Interview in Swedish newspaper Expressen

Last sunday, journalist Emma Larsson published an article in the Swedish newspaper Expressen about three people that has managed to make a living out of their passion for adventure sports. The three are photographer Fredrik Schenholm, paraglider pilot Gustav Råberg and Me. See article below (in swedish).  

Expressen sunday

 

 

2009-10-18

New Tierra Adverts

My clothing sponsor Tierra has made a couple of new magazine adverts that features me climbing in Chamonix. The Adverts has appeared in Swedish outdoor magazines like Åka Skidor, Brant, Outside and Bergsport. See adverts below:   

Tierra Advert Fredrik Ericsson

 

Tierra Advert Fredrik Ericsson

 

 

 

2009-10-17

Dry-Tooling in Le Fayet

This last week I have spent a lot of time in the office so yesterday I felt like I needed a bit of air and joined Matt Helliker for dry -tooling session in Le Fayet. Dry-Tooling is (for the non-climbing geek) when you climb with ice-axes on rock. The crag in Le Fayet is an overhanging wall that has some bolted routes on it. The wall is a bit too dirty for free climbing but perfect for dry-tooling. We had a lot of fun and got a great workout.

Fredrik Ericsson dry-tooling Le Fayet

That is me trying to find those small holes to place picks in

Matt Helliker dry-tooling Le Fayet

Matt Helliker climbing the amazing crack

Fredrik Ericsson dry-tooling Le Fayet

Seconds before I fell off

 

 

2009-10-13

See how the Dynastar skis are made

Check out this film from the Discovery Channel where they show how the Dynastar skis are made. Pretty interesting!

 

 

2009-10-12

Climbing instructors course in Gothenburg

Last weekend I was in Gothenburg and took the first of two exams to become a certified Swedish climbing instructor. It was a technical exam so we got to show all our knowledge about knots, protections, anchors and rescue scenarios.

The day before the exam I spent climbing in Utby with my friends mr Olsson and mr Schenholm. Utby is a great place for climbing. Close to the city centre and loads of good routes.

We also did some rescue training. See photos below:

Fredrik Ericsson climbing rescue

Putting on the prusiks to climb the rope

Fredrik Ericsson climbing rescue

Trying to Rescue mr Olsson

Fredrik Ericsson climbing rescue

Rapping down with injured climber

 

 

2009-09-27

 

Training and testing on Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc 4810m - The king of the Alps

Chamonix is a pretty amazing place. Today I took the 8.30 lift up to Aiguille du Midi (3842m), climbed Mont Blanc and returned to Chamonix at 15. Nice day!!

The conditions on Mont Blanc are still great. Good snowpack, not many crevasses and very few people now in September. It took me only 3h5min from Midi to the summit. With the help of the Aiguille du Midi tram Mont Blanc is a great place for training. About 1500 vertical meters to climb at high altitude and since many people are climbing the mountain there is almost always a good trail. Not only is it easy access and a great route but the views are stunning. Perfect place for training.

Today I was also on a mission to test the Adidas Terrex eyewear. Adidas constantly try to improve their eyewear and as a sponsored athlete I help them with testing and feedback.

Fredrik Ericsson on Mont Blanc

Some dude on Mont Blanc

Aiguille du Midi

Aiguille du Midi (3842m) 

Paraglider on Mont Blanc

Paraglider that took off from the summit of Mont Blanc

Just another day in Chamonix.

 

 

2009-09-26

 

Chamonix Insider ski review 2009/10

The Chamonix Insider is doing the yearly ski review for 2009/10 skis. The first one out was Dynastar so I was invited me to show my favourite Dynastar skis. Check out the video: 

 

Check out the original post on Chamonixinsider.com

 

 

 

2009-09-25

 

Generations Trailer

Generations is a short film that discusses climate change through the perspectives of those for whom snowy winters have a deeper personal significance, including skiers and snowboarders like Jeremy Jones and Seth Morrisson. Release date: October 2009.

This looks interesting. Check out the trailer:

 

 

2009-09-22

New photos from Pakistan in the gallery

Chogolisa Pakistan

 

I have posted some photos from my expedition to Laila Peak and Gasherbrum 2 in Pakistan from 2005.

Click to check it out

 

 

2009-09-21

 

Free Radicals 618 Cover

Check out the trailer of the new Free Radicals 618:

 

 

 

 

2009-09-20

Great film!

Check out out this great film clip about freestyle skiing in the good old days. It is even a bit of Ingemar Stenmark action. Volvo ski show 1978:

 

 

2009-09-20

One Mountain

One Mountain is a new feature length documentary that follows the efforts of Hunter Wood and Dan Petrus as they attempt to ski and climb one of the biggest and most dangerous mountains in North America, The Grand Teton.

Sounds interesting. Check out the trailer here: http://www.onemountainmovie.com

 

 

 

2009-09-12

 

Free Radicals

Free Radicals 618

The new ski movie Free Radicals 618 has its first screening in Gothenburg on October 30. Check out www.freeradicals.se to get your free tickets.

Not only is it a good opportunity to see the new ski movie its also a great party. See you there.

 

2009-09-10

 

Babes on Mont Blanc

Had a great day yesterday. Marja Persson and Giulia Monego took me along for a stroll up Mont Blanc. They were charging up the hill and I was hanging on to the rope trying to catch up. We had a sunny day and conditions on Mont Blanc are just amazing at the moment. It took us four hours to climb from the Cosmique hut to the summit of Mont Blanc (4810 meters). We did a travers of the mountain and descended the Gouter route on the other side of the mountain. Not as steep but a lot longer to walk out. A bit of pain in my feet after a long day so it was quite nice to sit down on the train back to Chamonix and take off the shoes. 
Marja is from the deep forests of Sweden and she is a hunter so in the evening she pulled out some Moose meet and cooked an amazing dinner.
Another great day in the mountains of Chamonix.

Check out Marjas and Giulias websites: www.marjapersson.com and www.giuliamonego.com and their charity project: www.greenski.org/summits4kids

Marja Persson and Giulia Monego on Mont Blanc

The babes, Marja Persson and Giulia Monego, on the way up Mont Blanc

Marja Persson on Mont Blanc

Marja on the summit of Mont Blanc (4810 meters). Not sure she was happy or not?

and the views:

Mont Blanc sunset

Sunset seen from the Cosmiquque hut the evening before our climb

Chamonix Aiguilles

The mountains of Chamonix seen from the Gouter ridge.

 

 

2009-09-06

 

Its not skiing, but its on snow. Pretty cool trailer anyway. Black Winter from Standard Films:

 

 

 

 

2009-09-06

 

Osprey Kode series skipacks are introduced

The new Osprey Kode skipacks are introduced on the Osprey website:

http://www.ospreypacks.com/Packs/KodeSeries/  

Check it out. They are amazing!

You can also have a look at this video where I am showing the features of the pack:

 

 

 

 

2009-09-05

 

Winter soon?

The winter is soon here and I am starting to get very exited about skiing again. Have been scanning youtube for new ski movies. Here is some nice ones that I found. Enjoy!

TGR Re:Session

 

MSP In Deep

 

 

 

2009-09-03

The Edge of Never

A documentary feature film set in the world of big mountain skiing, The Edge of Never is a real life coming of age saga about the tribe of skiers who challenge the biggest, most dangerous mountains in the world. In 1996 extreme-skiing legend Trevor Petersen was killed in Chamonix, France. Nine years later, skiing icon Glen Plake decides its time for Trevors 15-year-old son, Kye, to ski the route that killed his father and join the tribe of big-mountain skiers. In this thrilling film, three generations of skiers mentor Kye as he attempts to finish his fathers final run. A ripping adventure tale of a young man coming of age, The Edge of Never is also a rich and subtle portrait of men and women who live big in the face of their greatest fears. Written and directed by William A. Kerig, produced by Peter Schweitzer, based on the book of the same title written by Kerig, The Edge of Never was shot on location in Chamonix, France.

I loved the book and now the film is out.

Check out the trailer of the new film The Edge of Never:

 

 

 

 

2009-09-02


Majorette Thatcher

Yesterday I went up to the Red Pillar of Aiguille de Blaitiere with two legends, Matt Helliker and Jon Griffith. We climbed the Majorette Thatcher route, 5 pitches of grade 5 and a crux of 6b. Fantastic crack climbing!
Must say that the climbing was a bit tougher than expected. Either I am in really bad shape or grade 5 has become a bit harder than normally. Anyway, it was very nice climbing and I can really recommend the route.

Matt Helliker and Jon Griffith on Red Pillar of Blaitiere

2 legends, Matt Helliker and Jon Griffith on the Red Pillar of Blaitiere

Fredrik Ericsson and Jon Griffith on Red Pillar of Blaitiere

Luckily Matt is a strong man and could pull me up with the rope. Jon cruising behind and laughing.

Jon Griffith on Majorette Thatcher

Jon and the big crack

Jon Griffith near top of Majorette Thatcher

Jon near the top of the Majorette Thatcher route

 

 

 

2009-08-31

 

Climbing Saastal, Switzerland

Lagginhorn looks like a big pile of rocks. The normal route is not very exiting, its more of a walk up in the rocks. On the other hand, the south ridge is much better than it looks.
Last thursday Mattias and I took the lift from Saas Grund, Switzerland up to Hohsaas where we spent the night in the Hohsaas hut. A new and very nice hut with good food. After breakfast at 5 we climbed the south ridge up to the summit of Lagginhorn (4010m) in 6 hours. The climbing is on a some times airy ridge with mostly grade 3 climbing. It is a very nice climb.
We walked the normal route down and had a Goulashsuppe for lunch before we took the lift back down to Saasgrund.

Mattias Erlandson on Lagginjoch

Mattias at the Lagginjoch getting ready to head up the south ridge

Sunrise on Lagginhorn

Beautiful sunrise seen from Lagginjoch

Mattias Erlandson near summit on Lagginhorn

A nice and sunny day on Lagginhorn and Mattias is getting close to the summit.

 

 

 

2009-08-29

Dynastar Legend Days

3 mythic days in the Chamonix Mt-Blanc valley with the Dynastar ambassadors

check out the film:

 

 

 

2009-08-26

 

Climbing the north ridge of Piz Badile

Just back from an amazing climb on the north ridge of Piz Badile with Jacopo and Gabri. The 3308 meters high mountain lies on the border between Switzerland and Italy. The north ridge is 700 meters with mostly grade 3-4 climbing and one grade 5 pitch.

 

Piz Badile north ridge

Piz Badile and its north ridge

jacopo, gabri, piz badile


The boys in front of the Piz Badile.

Piz Badile north ridge

Happy climbers behind us

Jacopo on Piz Badile north ridge

Jacopo cruising up the ridge

Gappo Special

Finished off a good day with some sweet local italian food: Gappos (the butcher) speciality

 

 

 

2009-08-22

Its been some busy weeks since I came back to Chamonix. A couple of days after I got here I went to the Outdoor show in Friedrichshafen. I had meetings with my sponsors Osprey, Tierra, Grivel, Adidas Eyewear and I also had some time to check out the new gear. For a gear freak like me these trade shows are like heaven.

Grivel G20

The new G20 crampons from Grivel.

Ive had one day of Downhill mountainbiking in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

Crans-Montana

I went there with the Chamonix crew: Kent, Peter, Kaj, Johan and Misha for some serious biking. It was my first time on a real downhill bike and with all the pads. There are two really good manmade downhill courses with banked turns and small jumps in Crans-Montana. It was amazingly fun, even for a beginner like me.
If you like mountainbiking I can warmely recommend the downhill biking in Crans-Montana. Check out this video on Youtube:

I wish that was me…..

 

A bit of climbing in Chamonix and Italy.

Fredrik Ericsson on Aig Chardonnet, Chamonix

A chicken on Aiguille de Chardonnet

And I even got a couple of days of surfing in Biarritz.


Biarritz

 

The summers been great in Chamonix. Lots of good weather. I need to make the best out of the good weather days, before I get on the computer and start planning for next winters adventures.

 

 

 

2009-08-21

Life goes on.
Im back home in Chamonix again and that feels great.
Only two days after Micheles accident on K2 I was lucky to get on a helicopter flight to Skardu and civilization. After another three days I was with my parents in Sweden. The quick transfer away from the mountains was what I needed at that moment to recover from the bad experiences on K2. I spent two weeks in Sweden with my family and friends before I headed down to Chamonix. I will spend the Summer and Autumn here in Chamonix preparing for the next winters adventures.

I would like to Thank all the people that has supported me during these difficult times. 

 

2009-07-31

Tragic ending to the K2 Expedition

I guess most of you have already heard the tragic news about Micheles accident on K2. Anyway heres some info on what happened.

Michele Fait on K2

Some times life doesnt turn out as planned. June 23, 2009 was one of those days.
We were on our second acclimatization climb on K2. This time Michele and I were feeling much better than on our first acclimatization climb. No headaches. After spending two nights in our Camp 2 at 6350 meters we were skiing down towards Base Camp. We had passed a steep and rocky section, that I thought was the most difficult part of the ski descent, and we were out on a big open slope. It was still steep and we were skiing very slowly, speedcontrolling jump turns. While doing a turn Michele lost his balance and fell backwards down the slope. He was sliding and tumbling for several hundred meters. Since the slope gets less steep lower down I was sure he would stop at some point. But he never did. All I could do was to stand and watch Michele fall down the slope. In the end he fell over a rockband and disappeared into the next bowl. It was horrible to watch!

I thought that if he had survived the fall he must be severely injured so I had to get down to Michele as fast as possible. I started skiing down the slope. Since there was a rockband separating the two bowls I couldnt ski straight down to him but had to ski down to the bottom of the mountain and then climb back up in his bowl. It took me half an hour to reach Michele. While climbing up it was all quiet, I could see the crows circling above Micheles body. Looking at the cliffs he had fallen over I knew the chance of finding Michele alive was slim. But I never gave up the hope. Unfortunately, when I reached Michele he didnt show any signs of life, he wasnt breathing and had no pulse. He was dead!

Since the body was in a very dangerous spot, right below a big Serac and on an avalanche prone slope, I didnt think much about what just had happened but started to lower Micheles body down the slope. By traversing a bit I could get to a fairly safe line below some cliffs. I lowered Michele for about 200 meters before I came to a point where I had to traverse another big avalanche prone slope.

New expeditions had arrived in base camp the day before the accident. Among them, Fabrizio Zangrilli, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and David Göttler had seen Micheles fall from BC and walked up the glacier to help. Since it was already afternoon on a warm and sunny day the snow was wet and heavy and the risk of avalanches was great. To bring Micheles body over the dangerous slope would take us quite a long time. We would spend too much time in the danger zone and therefore we decided to leave him on the mountain over night.

On the walk back to base camp it suddenly hit me what just had happened. Michele and I were skiing down the mountain of our dreams. We were smiling and having the time of our lives. In a second, tragedy hit and Michele was gone. I have never experienced anything like it. It was the worst day of my life.

The next day David, Fabrizio and his teammates helped me bring Micheles body down the last 100 meters to the glacier. We made a snowpit to store the body in while waiting for a helicopter. In the morning, two days after the accident, the helicopter arrived. Micheles body was transported to Skardu and onwards back home to Italy. 

After the accident I lost all motivation to continue climb on K2 and decided to give up and go home.
All my thoughts go to Micheles family. I cant imaging what its like to loose a son.

Michele Fait

Michele was a good man. I will miss him.

/Fredrik

 

2009-06-18 - Skiing on K2

K2, What a mountain. It is 8612 meters high, but when I stand here in base camp, at 5100 meters, and look at it, it doesn't fell like it is more than 1000 meters to the summit. It is a weird feeling when I know it is more than 3500 meters to the top.

Fredrik at 6300 meters

Fredrik at 6300 meters

A few days ago when Michele and I was on our first acclimatization trip we got to experience how big the mountain really is. We left base camp at seven in the morning and walked along the Godwin Austen Glacier for 30 minutes up to the foot of K2 and the start of the Cesen Route. With ski boots and crampons on our feet, poles in our hands and a heavy backpack filled with a tent, sleeping bag, primus stove, gas, food etc. and a pair of skis strapped onto it, we started the climbing. At the beginning it was a nice ski slope of 30 degrees with perfect hard packed snow. Nice to climb on. We climbed on the right hand side of a big snow slope close to a rock ridge to stay out of the danger zone of a large Serac hanging above the left side of the slope. The ski slope got steeper, between 40-50 degrees and the snow got deeper. I had a hard time to stop dreaming about the upcoming ski descent on this perfect slope in soft powder snow. But first we had to find a tent spot where we could spend the night. I would have liked to ski down straight away but for our acclimatization it is best to spend time on higher altitude. To find a spot for the tent proved to be very difficult. We started the search at 5700 meters but it wasn't until we reached 6000 meters, after a total of seven hours of climbing, that we found a spot that we could imaging being flat. After some digging and building we had a semi-bad tent spot with two of the corners hanging in the air. Guess who got to sleep on that side of the tent? Not surprisingly, I slept pretty good anyway.

The next morning both Michele and I woke up with a headache and it was blowing and snowing outside. Great! After breakfast and a bit of fresh air my headache was gone but Michele must have caught some altitude illness since he didn't get well until we were back in base camp. After chilling in our tent for a few hours it stopped snowing and cleared up so we put our skis on and started sliding down the mountain. We took it easy in the beginning since I am always a bit unsecure on a new mountain especially when it is steep and rocks around. The snow was better than we had expected, cold and just a little windpacked and it was sloughing a bit. When the slope opened up I could do bigger turns and carry more speed, just cruising down the mountain. I had a big smile on my face, cause even if only a third of the mountain, we were skiing on K2. I got 900 vertical meters of nice skiing before I, totally euphoric, took my skis off 30 meters from my tent in BC. I had just skied the coolest ski slope in the world.

Fredrik enjoying the skiing on K2

Fredrik enjoying the skiing on K2

We will now have a few days of rest in base camp, charging batteries, before the next ski adventure on K2.   

Book that I'm reading: Richard Branson - Business Stripped bare - Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur

Music on my MP3 player: No power

 

2009-06-14 - K2 Base Camp

 

2009-06-14 - K2 Base Camp

K2 Ski Expedition 2009 - Update 2

Altitude - 5135 meters

After seven days of trekking up the Baltoro Valley we have finally reached the base camp of K2 which will be our home for the next six weeks. This is where the climbing on K2 starts.

Landrover with the Porters

From Skardu we drove Landrovers on very small and bumpy roads to a village called Askole. The drive was six hours long and one of the scariest I have ever had. At one point we had to go through a small waterfall. The road was only as wide as the car. On one side was a rock wall and on the other was a hundred meters drop down to the river. The road was muddy from all the water and on our first try we got stuck in the mud and had to back up. The second try we had to touch the rock wall not to slide off the road. Fortunately we had a good driver and made it through. I was happy to arrive in Askole in one peace. That car ride was probably be more scary than anything we will face on K2.

The boys from Askole are stoked to get some work.
To get all our equipment and food for six weeks up to K2 we had to hire porters. The farmers from Askole were happy to help us out. So happy that they almost started fighting about the loads. It was a bit chaotic before we had distributed the 40 loads to the porters. Unfortunately there where some guys that showed hoping to get work that didn't get any. Hopefully they will get some when the next expedition shows up.

This man must just have gotten some ice cream
The trek up the Baltoro Valley is a long walk. We hiked for six days and about 5-6 hours every day on small or non existing trails. It was rocks, sand and ice in an uneven mix. For a weak guy like me that is painful. My feet were not exactly happy after six hours of walking on rocks and glaciers.
About halfway on the trek the porters wanted a break so we had one rest day in a camp called Paiju. Our Guide had brought a live Goat for food. With my stomach problems I wasn't so hungry for goat meat , neither was Michele so we gave it to the porters. They got very happy and had a little meatfest on our rest day in Paiju. 

Michele rounding the corner just before Jola Camp
The higher up we got the better the views got. We passed some great mountains like the Trango Towers, Mustagh Tower and Masherbrum and at that point I even stopped whining about the pain in my feet. The experience culminated at Concordia. From that great junction of glaciers you can view some of the finest mountains in the world: Mitre Peak, Gasherbrum 4, Broad Peak and K2. If you go there in beginning of June when there's not much people, like we did, it's a truly amazing place.
From Concordia we had a five hours walk up the Godwin Austen Glacier to K2 base camp, including a tea break with two Austrian climbers at Broad Peak base camp. Just to make a our day a bit more interesting, with a teacup in my hand I got to watch a French guy fly down from high up on Broad Peak with a Paraglider. Not a bad tea break.

The Askole crew in the Baltoro Valley

At Concordia we met these boys. Mohammad, Raja and Rozi have a mission to clean up the Baltoro region from all garbage that has been dumped throughout the years. Good on you boys.

Anyway, we have now arrived at K2 base camp which will be our home for the next six weeks. Everything is good. The stomach problems that has been bothering me since I left my Pizza diet and ventured into the Pakistani food in Islamabad is now gone. My Italian mate Michele is my mentor on the food, he says that you can never eat too much Pizza. ;)
We are now getting ready to start climbing on K2, the mountain of my dreams. 

K2

At Concordia we got the first view of K2. What a beautiful mountain!

 

Gasherbrum 4

How about that for a bedroom view? Gasherbrum 4 in sunset, viewed from Concordia.

If you have the possibility, check out the Baltoro Glacier and K2 on Goggle Earth. It's pretty cool.

Facts:

GPS Position:
Lat N 35°50,34'
Lon E 076°30,85'

Book that I'm reading: Anthony Kiedis - Scar Tissue

Music on my MP3 player: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

 

2009-06-13

 

2009-06-13

This update is a week old. I tried to send it on the 4th but for some reason the email wasn’t sent. And after that I haven’t had internet access until now.


Anyway, from now on the updates will come regularly. /Fredrik

K2 Ski Expedition - Update 1

2009-06-04 - Skardu

Altitude: 2220 meters

A lot has happened the last few days. Some good and some bad.

I arrived in Islamabad last Sunday without any problems. I didn’t miss any flights, all my bags arrived, even the gear that I sent by cargo a couple of weeks ago was in Islamabad waiting for me. Chocking!

A last check of the gear before we head into the mountains. Michele is stoked to be holding such a nice pair of skis.

But as always on my trips, some things doesn't go as planned. This time it wasn't me but my climbing partner Michele who got into trouble. When I was about to board the plane in Frankfurt I got an sms from Michele saying: “Do you have Pakistan Visa? I stop in airport because I don’t have Visa“. Apparently Michele had forgot to get the Visa that one needs to enter Pakistan. That turned out to be a small problem. Michele went to the Embassy of Pakistan in Milano last Monday and got the Visa in one day and could get on a plane for Pakistan two days later. So today when he joined me here in Skardu we could just laugh about that incident.

A much less entertaining thing was the news we got from the Ministry of Tourism. The other day I went there on what I thought was the regular "sign some papers and smile" exercise and I would walk away with the climbing permit for K2 and trekking permit for Laila Peak. But that was not the case. We got the climbing permit for K2 alright but they didn't give us the trekking permit to go to Laila Peak. I tried to ask them why and the funny thing was that they didn't have an answer. They just said NO. We put in a second application for the trekking permit but it didn't help. The answer was the same. I'm very disappointed that we can't go to Laila Peak since that, along with K2, was the big goal of this trip. It's hard to see anything positive in that now but I guess in a few days I might find something.

The main man in Islamabad. He knew all the hot places to visit, like pizza restaurants…

Other than that I have started to feel some movements in my stomach and lost my appetite. I must have caught some sort of bug which is not uncommon when you travel to Pakistan. So far it's not so bad and I've started to eat antibiotics. Hopefully it will be all gone in a few days.

The good things then.. Well, we are on the way towards K2. It has been my dream for many years now and finally it is happening. So things could be worse.

Tomorrow we will drive up to Askole and from there we will start the six days long trek towards K2 base camp. More news when we arrive in base camp around June 11.

 

2009-05-31

K2 and Laila Peak Ski Expedition 2009

In the end of May Im going to Pakistan with my Italian friend Michele Fait to try to climb and ski the worlds second highest mountain K2 (8612m). As acclimatization for K2 we will make an attempt to ski Laila Peak (6069m).

The expedition starts on May 30 when we will fly to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. We will spend a few days in the city for meetings with the Pakistan Alpine club to organize climbing permit and Karakurum Magic Mountain (KMM), our Trekking Agency. KMM helps us with all the logistics in Pakistan and will set us up with a base camp team that will cook food for Michele and I when we are in base camp.

From Islamabad we have a one hour flight up north to Skardu, the last town before we hit the mountains. Skardu is our last opportunity to pick up gear and food that we need for our two months stay in the mountains. Epi gas for our Primus stoves, chips and chocolate bars are some of the things we will buy in Skardu.

From Skardu a five hours drive takes us to the small village of Hushe at the end of the road. From there on we will continue on foot. Around May 6 we start the two days trek towards Laila Peak.

Laila Peak route

Laila Peak is one of the most beautiful mountains in Pakistan - if not the world -with its summit forming a perfect needle shape. The peak is synonymous with its northwest face which drops down the mountains at almost uniform gradient forming a giant ramp. Its northern and eastern sides consist of contrasting steep granite. The mountain is located east of the Gondogoro glacier and west of the Chogolisa Glacier in the Masherbrum Mountains of Baltistan. Most people have set eyes on the peak after crossing the Gondogoro La from Concordia.

The first ascent was by a four man British team including Simon Yates, Sean Smith and Mark Miller who climbed the peak in 1987 via the west face from the Gondogoro Glacier. Simon Yates dedicated a chapter in his book The Flame of Adventure on the ascent of Laila Peak.

With approximately 1500m ascent the mountain can be climbed in alpine style in one day but many people will choose to bivi on route then summit and descend on the second day. Climbing is mid-grade with an inclination of no more than 55 degrees.

In 2005 Jörgen Aamot and I made two attempts to climb and ski the northwest face of Laila Peak. On both occasions the top section was too icy to ski so we turned around at 5950m and skied down to the Gondogoro Glacier (4500m). Its my favorite ski descent of all times.

This summer we will spend about two weeks on Laila Peak. It will be the perfect warm-up for K2 and hopefully we can ski from the summit this time.

 K2 Cesen route

K2 is the second highest mountain in the world and is located on the border between China and Pakistan. Reinhold Messner called K2 the Mountain of Mountains after his ascent of K2 in 1979. This pyramid of a mountain is right in the heart of the Karokoram Range and can be seen in its entirety from Concordia. It is at the head of the Godwin Austin Glacier which unites with a second glacier at Concordia to form the famous Baltoro Glacier. It is said to be the ultimate climb, since many consider it to be much more technically challenging than Mount Everest.

In 1954 the Italians Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni were the first to summit K2. They climbed the Abruzzi ridge.

K2 is known as the Savage Mountain due to the difficulty of ascent and the high fatality rate among those who climb it. For every four people who have reached the summit, one has died trying. Among the eight-thousanders K2 has the second highest climbing mortality rate.

After Laila Peak we will arrive at K2 base camp around June 20. Then we have about three weeks of acclimatization before we try for the summit. The route we will try to climb and ski is called The Cesen Route and is the south-southeast ridge.

You can follow our progress here on the website where I regularly will post updates and photos.

 

Useful links:

Laila Peak

Wikipedia

Summitpost

K2

8000ers.com

Peakware

Wikipedia

Summitpost

Our trekking agency in Pakistan: Karakurum Magic Mountain

 

Interesting books:

The Flame of Adventure by Simon Yates

My Vertical World by Jerzy Kukuczka

 

 

2009-05-27

Two days left...

It is getting closer to departure for Pakistan, only two days to go now. Even though we have packed and sent all our climbing gear with cargo there is still a few things that needs to be sorted out before departure, for example get Visa for Pakistan, do my tax declaration and buy Swedish blueberry soup. Some things are easy to sort out and some things not...

testing my BGAN

Perfect setup when it works. When it doesnt ... frustration

About a week ago I found out that my Satellite BGAN modem doesnt work. Its what we use to connect to internet during the expedition so we need it to be able to update the website. As always when it comes to these small electronic devices its a bit more complicated than you expect. After speaking to the Swedish distributor we found out that my BGAN has old software and that that could be the problem. With less than a week to go and with the closest repair center in Germany I really wished that was it. After a few days of trying to download the new software I finally got it today. Unfortunately my BGAN doesnt work even with new software. ARRRGGHH!!! How frustrating! Fortunately Telemar Scandinavia had a solution to my problem, they have a BGAN modem that I can rent for the expedition. Not a cheap solution, but at this point the only...

Tomorrow I am going to Stockholm to pick up a new Down Jacket from Tierra, my passport at the Pakistan Embassy and the BGAN modem from Telemar. Then I will be ready to go.

 

 

2009-05-27

Two days left...

It is getting closer to departure for Pakistan, only two days to go now. Even though we have packed and sent all our climbing gear with cargo there is still a few things that needs to be sorted out before departure, for example get Visa for Pakistan, do my tax declaration and buy Swedish blueberry soup. Some things are easy to sort out and some things not...

testing my BGAN

Perfect setup when it works. When it doesnt ... frustration

About a week ago I found out that my Satellite BGAN modem doesnt work. Its what we use to connect to internet during the expedition so we need it to be able to update the website. As always when it comes to these small electronic devices its a bit more complicated than you expect. After speaking to the Swedish distributor we found out that my BGAN has old software and that that could be the problem. With less than a week to go and with the closest repair center in Germany I really wished that was it. After a few days of trying to download the new software I finally got it today. Unfortunately my BGAN doesnt work even with new software. ARRRGGHH!!! How frustrating! Fortunately Telemar Scandinavia had a solution to my problem, they have a BGAN modem that I can rent for the expedition. Not a cheap solution, but at this point the only...

Tomorrow I am going to Stockholm to pick up a new Down Jacket from Tierra, my passport at the Pakistan Embassy and the BGAN modem from Telemar. Then I will be ready to go.

 

 

2009-05-17

End of ski season

After a week of bad weather it finally cleared up yesterday. Together with my friends Michael, Wolfgang, Eva and Kaj I went to Aiguille du Midi to finish of the ski season with one of the classic ski runs in Chamonix: The Cosmique Couloir. After all the precipitation the last week we were hoping that the couloir would be filled up with powder snow. It started good. The top section was better than it has been all winter and we could ski in without using any rope. The steep and normally very hardpacked upper part was now covered with soft snow. Making our expectations get even higher. But then it gradually changed. Lower down in the couloir the powder snow had blown away and the warm temperatures had changed the surface into some sort of ice and it was getting more and more uneven. The end of the couloir was the worst I have ever seen it, with big ice runnels that were almost impossible to ski on.
Not the best skiing of the season but it was a nice day with good company. We finished off the evening with a BBQ at Kajs place. It will be nice with a bit of summer before I head to Pakistan.

 

Michael Devor

Michael Devor at the top of the Cosmique Couloir. Hes expecting some good skiing.

Kaj Zackrisson

Kaj Zackrisson checking out the soft snow at the top of the Cosmique Couloir

Michael Devor in cosmique couloir

Michael Devor enjoying the powder, unknowing what will come

BBQ at Kajs Chamonix

Nice day, horrible skiing and good meat.

 

2009-05-16

Preparations for Pakistan expedition


The preparations for this summers Pakistan expedition are full on. Im doing my best to get into shape with running, mountainbiking, skiing and alpine climbing. The weather has been very unstable lately so conditions for climbing high peaks hasnt been great. I have made two unsuccesful attempts of Aigulle Verte and Mont Blanc. Intead Ive had some good powder skiing on Grands Montets and some nice ski touring on Col de Passon and Col des Courtes.

I will soon post more information, about the Pakistan expedition and the mountains I will try to ski, here on the site. Stay tuned..

 

Cold des Courtes

Col des Courtes on the Argentiere Glacier in Chamonix

 

Nicolas climbing Col de Courtes

Some weeks ago I climbed and skied the Col des Courtes togther with Nicolas. We were lucky with the conditions and had around 20 cm of soft powder snow on the steep face. Nice day!

 

 

2009-04-26

Pure Freeride Camp

Im just back in Chamonix again after a trip to Abisko in the north of Sweden for the Pure Freeride Camp. More than 80 people spent the weekend together in Abisko. The three days was packed with activities like guided skitouring, ice climbing, freeride competition, lectures and live music with the Balboas. It was a great weekend that hopefully will be an reoccuring event.  More info and images on: www.purefreeridecamp.se

 

Abisko skitouring

Gaute and Mats enjoying the mountains near Abisko

The Balboas in Abisko

The Balboas with guest star Jerk Looman was rocking as usual

 

2009-04-11

 

More new images

The gallery has been updated with new images from Iceland and Svalbard.

Enjoy!

Click link to go to Gallery

 

2009-04-08

New images in Gallery

Ive updated the gallery with images from last years Kangchenjunga Expeditionen and from my attempt on Dhaulagiri in 2007. Enjoy!

Click here to go to the Gallery

 

2009-03-30

Baselworld

The watch industry meet at Baselworld trade fair in Basel from March 26 - April 2. Some 2000 brands showcase their developments and innovations for around 100 000 visitors from around the world. Last sunday I went up to Basel to check out the show. It was impressive. I got to see some quite amazing design on the new watches and also some pretty cool booths. If you are in Basel at the time of the show its definitely worth a visit.

 

Tissot

The Tissot booth. Quite Fancy.

 

Tissot T-Touch Expert

The new Tissot T-Touch Expert Pilot is looking sweet. Thats the watch I use on my expeditions.

Tag Heuer

The design of some of the booths were impressive.

 

 

2009-03-26

Interview on Norwegian radio P3

NRK P3 Banden

 

Today I did an interview with Norwegian radio show Banden on NRK P3. Click to view their website and listen to the interview. (Norwegian and Swedish speaking)

 

 

2009-03-20

Skiing the worlds 3 highest mountains

K2

K2 (8612m), the worlds 2nd highest peak

 

In the beginning of June Im going to Pakistan with Italian extreme skier Michele Fait to make an attaempt to ski K2 (8612m), the second highest peak in the world. Below is a press release for the expedition. 

I will post updates from the expediton here on the website. So stay tuned.

 

Press Release:

Extreme skier begins quest to become the first to ski the worlds three highest mountains

This summer, Swedish extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson will embark on his dream of becoming the first person to ski the worlds three highest mountains: Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga. Arguably, the toughest challenge of the three will be his expedition to the worlds second highest mountain, K2, which begins in June 2009.

Fredrik Ericsson is one of the worlds leading high altitude skiers with ski descents on some of the highest mountains on earth, including Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma, Gasherbrum 2, Laila Peak and Dhaulagiri.

“I have already skied on three of the 14 8000-meter peaks. During these adventures I gained critical experience that will apply towards my goal of skiing the absolute highest. The project spans two years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world: K2 (8612m) this summer, Kangchenjunga (8586m) in autumn 2009, and Mount Everest (8850m) in the autumn of 2010,” says Fredrik.
   
The first big challenge starts now when Fredrik, together with his Italian companion Michele Fait, go to the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. The mountain they plan to climb and ski, K2, is arguably the hardest of all 8000-meter peaks. It is an incredibly beautiful, remarkably steep pyramid with no easy route to the top. Climbing the mountain is complicated by unusually severe and unpredictable weather systems.

K2 was first climbed in 1954 by the Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli. Since then, The Savage Mountain – as it has come to be called due to the extraordinarily high number of deaths on the mountain – has been climbed on 10 different routes and only around 200 people have summited. So far no one has made a complete ski descent from the summit of K2.
 
“This means that we can become the first in the world to ski the mountain,” says Fredrik.

After a long, rough journey by airplane, bus, jeep and on foot the team will arrive on the Goodwin-Austen Glacier at the foot of K2 where they will set up base camp at an altitude of about 5,000 meters. They will prepare for the big challenge over a period of one month during which they will undertake several acclimatizing climbs. One of these training climbs will be a side trip to attempt the first complete ski descent of coveted Laila Peak (6069m). Mid-July will see the duo start the grueling climb to the top of K2. 

“We will not use supplemental oxygen and will carry all the same equipment as the other climbers. In addition, well also be carrying all of our ski equipment and wearing ski touring boots which are not nearly as warm, comfortable or functional as climbing boots. This makes the climb much more difficult for us than for other climbers,” says Fredrik.

Fredrik and Michele plan to climb the south-southeast ridge, a long and serious route featuring extremely strenuous, high-altitude climbing. During the weeks leading to their final push, the team will methodically climb higher and higher up the mountain while their bodies and minds grow accustomed to the debilitating hardships of climbing at such altitude. When the team is fully acclimatized, the two intrepid skiers will need four days to get from base camp to the summit, spending three nights in desolate, high-altitude camps on the way.

“On the final day of our summit push we will start climbing from our 8000 meter camp at midnight and I believe it will take about 12 hours of climbing in The Death Zone to reach the top,” says Fredrik.

The ski descent, which is the highlight of the two-month expedition, is expected to take five hours. The descent from the summit all the way to base camp, has a vertical drop of almost 3600 meters and has very steep sections of up to 50 degrees inclination. 

“To ski at 8000 meters is extraordinarily difficult and in the beginning we have to stop to rest after only a few turns. After four to five turns Im as exhausted as after skiing 1000 vertical meters in the Alps,” says Fredrik.

The project to be the first in the world to ski the three highest mountains is a step towards Fredrik’s ultimate goal to ski all 14 of the worlds 8000-meter peaks.

To follow the expedition, log onto Fredriks website www.fredrikericsson.com where regular updates will be posted.

Facts: Fredrik Ericsson
Fredrik Ericsson grew up in a town called Umeå in the northern part of Sweden but since 2000 has spent most of his time in Chamonix in the French Alps. As a professional skier he spends the winter traveling to ski resorts in the Alps and exotic mountain ranges around the world. When Fredriks not skiing he enjoys climbing in the Mont Blanc range.

Below is a short summary of Fredriks previous ski descents:

•    2003 - Peak Somoni, Tajikistan (7,495m). Skied from summit to 4,500 meters.
•    2004 - Central summit of Shisha Pangma,Tibet (8,012m). Skied from summit to 5,600 meters.
•    2005 - Gasherbrum 2, Pakistan (8,035 m). Skied from summit to 5,500 meters.
•    2005 - Laila Peak, Pakistan (6,069 m). Skied from 5,940 meters.
•    2007 – Dhaulagiri, Nepal (8,167 m). Skied from 8,000 to 4,700 meters.
•    2008 – Kangchenjunga, Nepal (8586 m). Skied from 7,000 to 5,500 meters.


Fredriks sponsors: Dynastar, Osprey, Tierra, Hestra, Adidas Eyewear and Grivel
Supporters:    Tissot, Exped, Giro, Scarpa, Primus, Ortovox, Therm-Ic, Jämtport

 

 

2009-03-19

Pure Freeride Camp

Pure Freeride Camp, Abisko 16-19 Apirl 2009

Abisko, a small ski resort in the north of Sweden, is hosting the first Pure Freeride Camp this spring. The Camp will be great opportunity to enjoy skiing in one of the most beautiful areas of Sweden and hang out with  like-minded people. You can have mountain guides show you Abiskos best skiing, try out Dynastar skis and in the evenings you can relax to inspiring lectures. Not to mention that the world famous Balboas will take care of the after-ski entertainment. I will be at the camp showing photos from my adventures and share my skiing experiences.

More info on: www.purefreeridecamp.se 

 

 

2009-03-17

The trip to Sicily with photographer Fredrik Schenholm was amazing. I had high hopes for the trip but it was better than I could ever imagine. Except for the wind, snowstorm and skiing on brown snow, I guess. And worst of all, we didnt meet any mafia guys.

I can definitely recommend a trip to Sicily.

Below you have some of Fredrik Schenholms images from the trip:

Etna

Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. It is 3329 meters high.

 

The lift on Etna

The ski area on the south side of Etna has lifts that takes you up to 2600 meters

 

Snowstorm on Etna

The local people says it can be a bit windy on Etna. This day the lifts were closed and we tried to hike up to ski. We didnt get far.

 

Volcanic island Stromboli

Since it was bad weather on Etna we took a boat for three hours to an Island called Stromboli. The Volcano on Stromboli is much more active than Etna.

 

Eruption on Stromboli

How about this. How cool wasnt it to see the eruptions of the volcano on Stromboli. Never seen anything like it.

The volcano bursts out magma like this every 15 minutes.

 

walking the narrow alleys of Stromboli

Walking the narrow alleys in the picturesque town on Stromboli. For me that lives in the mountains it was nice to see the ocean again. So nice that we slept on the beach.

 

Fredrik on the top of Etna

The last day we even got good weather on Etna, even though it was a slight wind on the top, about 90 km/h. Just a normal day, according to the locals.

We took the lift up to 2500 meters and then put the skins on the skis and hiked up to the crater on the top of Etna at 3300 meters. beautiful view.

If it seems like Im smiling on the photo, its because my biceps looks really big. That doesnt happen very often.

 

Fredrik Ericsson skiing on Etna

 

We even got some nice skiing in spring snow on the way down before we almost got lost in the clouds.

 

The best Pizza baker on Sicily

Guess what was the first and last thing we did on Sicily? We had a pizza. Of course!

This dude makes the best Pizza on Sicily, at least if you ask Schenholm and I.

 

 

2009-03-16

 

Earth Hour

 

Earth Hour: 8:30PM local time, wherever you live on planet earth. Saturday 28 March 2009. Do as one billion people around the world, turn off your lights to help the planet. For more info on Eart Hour check out their site: www.earthhour.org

or have a look at the film:

 

 

2009-03-15

Ecomagnifico, a new blog about environmental friendly skiing and surfing

 

Ecomagnifico

 

My friend Trey Cook has started a new blog about how to enjoy skiing and surfing in an environmental friendly way. Treys words about the blog:

Spreading the love about the wonderful world of scoring freshies, pulling hard, cranking fast, catching waves and trying our damndest to keep from pooping all over Mother Nature in the process.

Check it out: http://ecomagnifico.blogspot.com/

 

2009-03-05

Going skiing in Sicily

Today Im going to Sicily (an island south of Italy) with photographer and Geology student Fredrik Schenholm to ski on Mount Etna. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3 329 metres high. The Volcano has two ski areas with a total of nine lifts and a vertical drop of 740 meters. Etna has a good snow cover this year so hopefully we will get some good skiing on the volcano. It will definitely be an interesting trip.

You can find more info about Mount Etna on Wikipedia

Fredrik Scheholms website: www.schenholm.se

 

Mount Etna

 

Mount Etna during an eruption in 2006. Photo: Josep Renalias

 

 

 

2009-03-04

Interview in Slovakian magazine Jamesak


The Slovakian climbing magazine Jamesak published Trey Cooks interview with me on my project to ski the worlds three highest maountains: Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga, in the febuary issue. On the cover is Fredrik Schenholms photo of me skiing on Iceland. For more info about Jamseak, check out their website: www.jamesak.sk

 

Jamesak magazine

 

 

2009-03-01

Back on skis


After three weeks with no skiing it was great to be back on the skis this last week. Photographer Mikael Pilstrand came to visit me in Chamonix and we went up in the mountains to shoot photos. We had some nice and sunny days with beautiful sunsets and it was good to be back on skis again. Check out Mikaels website to see some his amazing photos: www.mikaelpilstrand.com
More snow is forecasted on Wednesday so Im looking forward to that.

 

Aiguille du midi

The Aiguille du Midi (3842 meters) is probably my favourite lift. It still amazes me how they could build a lift up on that mountain.

 

Mikael Pilstrand in Chamonix

The photographer Mikael Pilstrand in front of The Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc

 

Sunset seen from Le Brevent in Chamonix

Sunset seen from Le Brevent in Chamonix

 

 

 

2009-02-26

Foot injury = No skiing

On the trip to the Dolomites in the end of January I had an accident that resulted in an inflammation on my heel. After that I couldnt put my foot in the ski boot, which meant no skiing. The doctor told me that all I could do was to eat anti-inflammatory pills and rest. So thats what I did for three weeks. While it continued to snow loads around the alps and all my friends here in Chamonix told me how good the skiing was, I was at home hanging out with my computer and eating pills. Very frustrating!
Not only did I miss out on a lot of good skiing in Chamonix but I also missed the Narvik trip with Fredrik Schenholm, Tormod Granheim and Rikard Andreasson. Just to make it worse, they sent me photos from the trip of deep powder and sunshine

 

Snowfall in Chamonix

 

Snowfall in Chamonix

 

 

2009-02-07

Latest news from the ski industry at ISPO
During the first four days of february the ISPO trade show was held in Munich, Germany. Its a show for wintersports where the producers can display their latest inventions and next years products. It takes a few hours to go through all of the 15 football-field sized halls. Not even four days was enough for me to see everything. I focused mainly on the ski related products and saw some interesting skis and cool design. For me personnally, the greatest news are the new Dynastar Big Dump and the Osprey Kode backpacks. See below:

 

Matt Helliker and Osprey Kode


Osprey sponsored climber Matt Helliker showing the new Kode ski pack. After some time of testing the prototypes its good to see the finished product.

 

Dynastar Big Dump

The Big Dump is a new powder ski from Dynastar that has a reversed camber in the front (aka Rocker) and is 120 mm under foot. It’s my new favourite ski for the big days in Chamonix.

 

Hestra Gloves Sverre Liliequist and Kaj Zackrisson

 
Hestra presented the new signature gloves from Swedish Freeskiers Sverre Liljekvist and Kaj Zackrisson.

 

 

2009-02-06

Utemagasinet in The Dolomites
Last week I was in the Dolomites with Kalle Grahn from Swedish outdoor magazine Utemagasinet and photographer Patrik Lindqvist doing an article about ski touring in the Dolomites. The Dolomiti Superski is one of the largest ski areas in the world and it offers some incredible lift accessed backcountry skiing. And there is lifts everywhere. It feels like you can hike up to any summit you like and descend in to the next valley and after only a short hike you make it back to a lift. There are also unlimited nice ski touring from the roads with the possibility to stay overnight in a number of mountain huts (only winter rooms open during winter) to view the beautiful sunset over the Dolomites.
In Canazei we stayed at Hotel Astoria. A nice hotel in the centre of town and close to the lifts. After a long day on the mountain it was nice to relax in the sauna before they served the four course meal of Italian specialities. Not bad at all.
Check out the hotel website: www.hotel-astoria.net

Looking forward to my next trip to the Dolomites. I hope it will be soon.

 

Dolomites

The road over Passo Sella in the Dolomites are at the altitude of 2240m

 

Hotel Astoria

Hotel Astoria, our hotel in Canazei

 

Desert

And a nice dessert

 

2009-01-24

Planetski, a new ski website

Yesterday I was skiing fresh powder snow in Chamonix with four British journalists. One of them was James Cove who has started a new ski website called Planetski. Follow the link to check out the site and what he wrote about Chamonix: www.planetski.eu

 

planetski

 

 

 

 

 

2009-01-21

Cover of Luksus magazine

A photo of me skiing on Iceland shot by photographer Fredrik Schenholm covers the December issue of Danish Luksus magazine. Inside the magazine you will find the story from our Iceland trip. Check out www.luksusonline.dk for more info how to get a copy of the magazine.

 

Luksus magazine

 

2009-01-20

Couloirs and Coffee in the Dolomites

Italy is famous for its good food and amazing coffee. The mountains are not too bad either. The Dolomites in the north-eastern part have some of the coolest mountains Ive seen. The big yellow limestone walls are cut up by  narrow couloirs that some times holds snow and makes for very interesting skiing.

With an above average snowfall this year its a good time for skiing in the Dolomites. Together with photographer Mikael Pilstrand and Norwegian Telemark skier Torkel Karoliussen we headed to Canazei to shoot photos for an article to the Scandinavian ski magazines Fri Flyt and Brant. Canazei showed from its best side with very varied skiing, everything from big open slopes to steep and narrow couloirs. And of course lots of Pizza and good coffee!

 

 

Dolomites

Amazing mountains in the Dolomites

 

Couloir in Dolomites

View from one of many couloirs in the Dolomites

 


Torkel Karoliussen and Mikael Pilstrand

The boys waiting for the lift. I think there is something wrong with Torkels bindings :)

 

 

 

2009-01-12

TV4 interview at Bräntberget

 

TV4 logo

 

When I was in Sweden over christmas TV4 took me to the giant mountain Bräntberget in Umeå for an interview. I had a few runs on the slope (50 vertical meters) and we talked about my project to ski the worlds three highest mountains. The interview aired on January 8 and now you can watch the interview on their website (Swedish speaking):  http://anytime.tv4.se/webtv/?progId=720131&treeId=1007142&renderingdepartment=2.757

 

2009-01-11

Photo shoot in Engelberg

Im just back from Engelberg, Switzerland doing a photo shoot with photographer Fredrik Schenholm and snowboarder Daniel Furberg. The mountains and the weather was great but unfortunatley it had been very windy the days before I got there so the snow wasnt amazing. Anyway, it was my first time in Engelberg and it was nice to see the famous ski resort. We also met some local people. Robert is a cafe owner that has a few ideas. One of those he realized in the 90s by merging an old airplane from the Corean war with a mercedes bus. It ended up becoming Herbie, the airplane car. Its always interesting to visit new places.

 

Fredrik Scehnholm and Daniel Furberg in Engelberg

Daniel Furberg and Fredrik Schenholm checking out the view from Titlis in Engelberg

 

View from Titlis in Engelberg

The view

 

Daniel Furberg in Engelberg

Daniel Furberg doing the regular snowboard pose

 

Airplane car in Engelberg


Robert with his airplane car

 

2009-01-10

New Osprey ski pack

In a month time the new Osprey ski pack Kode will be introduced at the ISPO trade show in Munich. In December we took the packs out for testing. Check out the video:

 

 

For more info about Osprey backpacks check out their website: www.ospreypacks.com

 

 

2008-12-22

 

 

Merry Christmas

 

2008-12-17

Dhaulagiri film on Adidas Eyewear site

 

Adidas Eyewear logo

 

The film from my Dhaulagiri expedition has been posted on the Adidas Eyewear web site. Check out the site by following this link:

http://www.adidas.com/Eyewear/hw07/content/outdoor/outdoor.asp

 

2008-12-17

Cover of Brant and Iceland story

 

On the cover of the December issue of Swedish ski magazine Brant is a photo of me skiing in Iceland last winter. The photo is shot by Fredrik Schenholm. You will also find the story from our trip in the magazine. You can get the magazine in you local magzaine shop (only in Sweden I guess). Or you can check out Brants web site: www.brant.se

 

Brant december 2008 cover

 

 

 

2008-12-10

 

Osprey - Made in Vietnam.
A film that takes you inside the Osprey factory in Vietnam and shows you the secrets to the production of the worlds greatest backpacks

 

 

 

2008-11-29

Lifts are open in Chamonix

Its been a good start to this season. We have already a good snowcover in the mountains here in Chamonix.

Chamonix

 

 

Last weekend I skied powder in Zinal, Switzerland.  During the week I went skitouring in Le Tour in Chamonix in very good snow as well. Today the lifts opened on Grands Montets in Chamonix. It was a nice and sunny day and the snow is still good. It was a surprisingly good snow cover on a normally very rocky mountain. Looking forward to more skiing tomorrow

 

Fredrik Ericsson

 

Fredrik skitouring in Le Tour, Chamonix

 

 

2008-11-23

Ski season has started
Its been snowing here in the Alps for the last two days. Today it cleared up so I went to Zinal in Switzerland with my friends Dave and Rebecca for my first day of skiing this season. It was a cold and sunny day with dry powder snow. Not much people and nice skiing. A perfect way to start the new season. More snow is expected during the week.

 

dave zinal

 

This amazing image, shot with my mobile phone, shows Dave traversing to the goods in Zinal

 

 

2008-11-20

Fredrik on Swedish TV4

 

TV4 logo

 

Swedish TV4 have made an interview with Fredrik regarding the Kangchenjunga Expedition. The interview was broadcasted on the news last Monday and you can watch it on the web by following this link:

http://anytime.tv4.se/webtv/?progId=683956&itemId=460324 

(only in Swedish)

The interview starts about halfway through the news so you can fast forward if you dont want to watch the whole show.

 

 

 

2008-10-30

Fredrik climbing up towards "The Hump"

The first day of our summit push on Kangchenjunga gave a big surprise. The weather was nice, the snow was solid to climb on and we were moving easily up to “The Hump“ at 6200 meters where the site for our first camp was. Only one problem, there was no tent where we left it a week ago. The wind had taken it for a little flight about a hundred meters away and dumped it into a crevasse. Luckily we found it and it wasn’t too damaged. A bit of duct tape could fix it.

Fredrik picking up the tent out of a crevasse

The second day was a windy day. We made it up to 6800 meters before we got sick of the wind and found a nice crevasse to put our tent in to hide from the wind.

On the third day came the second surprise. Snowfall and whiteout. Totally opposite from the bluebird that the weather forecast promised. Without visibility we became spectators, sitting in our crevasse all day watching the snow piling up outside. The next morning the sun was shining again but it was also 50 cm of fresh snow on the ground. Bearing in mind the previous week of storm winds blasting the snow cover. The fresh snow on top made it ideal for avalanches. The decision to not continue towards the summit was easy to make but it wasn’t fun. We had to give up our hopes for the summit of Kangchenjunga.

Camp 2 in a crevasse

Standing at 6800 meters we had 1300 vertical meters of powder skiing ahead of us. But to make it down without getting avalanched we had to use all our experience and all the tricks in the book. There were some scary sections but mostly we could enjoy nice powder turns on one of the world highest mountains in the world. I am disappointed that we didn’t reach the summit but at the same time relieved that we made it down safely. We had a great experience in a beautiful environment and I will definitely return one day to make a new attempt on Kangchenjunga.

Fredrik climbing up towards "The Hump" with Yalung Kang in the background

We are now packing our gear and getting ready for the week long hike back to civilization Looking forward to a Pizza in Kathmandu.

Jörgen skiing powder on the third highest mountain in the world

Fredrik skiing powder with the Yalung glacier in the background

/Fredrik

 

2008-10-28

We have returned to BC. With 50 cm of fresh snow conditions got too dangerous to continue so we descended. More news tomorrow.

 

2008-10-25

Today we left BC and climbed up towards C1. Great weather and good snow. Only one problem, we found our tent in crevasse. The wind had tekin it. C2 tomorrow.

 

2008-10-25

Swede on summit push, to ski the third highest mountain in the world

 

The Swedish extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson is trying to become the first person to ski the three highest mountains in the world. This Saturday he started the summit push on the third highest mountain, Kangchenjunga (8586m). The climb up to the summit and the ski descent is expected to take four days. Fredrik’s partner on the expedition is Norwegian extreme skier Jörgen Aamot.


Fredrik Ericsson is one of the world’s leading high altitude skiers with ski descents on some of the highest mountains on earth, including; Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma, Gasherbrum 2, Laila Peak and Dhaulagiri.

“I have already skied on three of the 14 8000-metre peaks, but now the aim is towards the absolute highest. The project spans over three years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world, Kangchenjunga (8586m) this autumn, K2 (8612m) next summer and Mount Everest in the autumn of 2010” says Fredrik.
   
The first challenge begins now when Fredrik together with his Norwegian companion are starting their summit push on Kangchenjunga that lies on the border between Nepal and Indian state Sikkim. Kangchenjunga was first climbed in 1955 by a British team that included Joe Brown and George Band. Since then, around 200 climbers have reached the summit. But so far no Swede or Norwegian has climbed to the summit and no one has skied off the summit of Kangchenjunga.

“This means that we can become the first Swede and Norwegian to climb to the summit and also the first in the world the ski the mountain” says Fredrik

Fredrik and Jörgen has spent three weeks in their base camp on the Yalung glacier at an altitude of  5100 meters. Over this period they have prepared for the big challenge and acclimated to altitude through reconnaissance climbs and skiing on Kangchenjunga. 

”We have just returned to base camp after one of our acclimating climbs. So far we have been up to about 7000 meters, just below where we will set our camp 2. It is very time consuming to find a good route since we are the only climbers on the mountain. First of all we need to negotiate a safe way through a labyrinth of Seracs and Crevasses and then there’s only two of us to break the trail in the deep snow ” Says Fredrik

Since Fredrik and Jörgen are carrying skis on their back, have randonneboots on their feet and will not use supplemental oxygen it’s harder for them to climb the mountain than for most other climbers.

“The Mountain looks very good at moment. There is a lot of snow so if we can make it to the summit the chances are good that we will be able to ski all the way down to the snow level at 5500 metres. We are acclimating well and are now ready to make our summit push” Says Fredrik

The summit push starts from base camp and they will use three camps at 6200 metres, 7200 metres and  7800 metres. From the last camp the climbing towards the summit at 8586 metres starts at midnight and it will take around ten hours. 

The ski descent, which is the highlight of the two month expedition, is expected to take five hours. The descent has a vertical of almost 3100 metres and has very steep sections of up to 50 degrees inclination. 

“To ski at 8000 meters is not easy. It’s extremely hard work and in the beginning we have to stop to rest after only a few turns. After four to five turns I’m as exhausted as after skiing 1000 vertical meters in the Alps” says Fredrik

For Fredrik the challenge is to take skiing one step further and to ski where no one has skied before. After ten years of preparations he’s now ready for his greatest challenge.

To get daily news from the summit push and info about the expedition log into Fredrik’s website: www.fredrikericsson.com.



-------


For more information, Contact:
Fredrik Ericsson on his satellite phone: +8821 621 150074 or e-mail: fredrik@fredrikericsson.com
Check out:  www.fredrikericsson.com
Or Elisabeth von Sydow, press contact, phone: +46709527475, email: elisabeth.vonsydow@kstreet.se

Photos from Kangchenjunga are available.


Facts: Fredrik Ericsson

Fredrik Ericsson grew up in a town called Umeå in the northern part of Sweden but has since 2000 spent most of his time in Chamonix in the French Alps. As a professional skier he spends the winter traveling to ski resorts in the Alps and exotic mountain ranges around the world. When Fredrik’s not skiing he enjoys climbing in the Mont Blanc range.

Below is a short summary of Fredrik’s previous ski descents:

2003 - Peak Somoni (7 495 m), Tajikistan.
2004 - Central summit of Shisha Pangma (8 012 m), Tibet.
2005 - Gasherbrum 2 (8 035 m), Pakistan.
2005 - Laila Peak (6 069 m), Pakistan, skied from 5 940 m.
2007 - Dhaulagiri (8 167 m), Nepal, skied from 8 000 to 4 700 meter.


Fredrik’s sponsors: Dynastar skis, Osprey, Tierra, Hestra, Adidas Eyewear and Grivel
Supporters:    Tissot, Exped, DHL, Giro, Ortovox, Dynafit, Therm-Ic, Jämtport and Loben Expeditions

 

Svensk startar toppstöten som ska ge första skidåket på världens tredje högsta berg

Den svenska extremskidåkaren Fredrik ”Frippe” Ericsson ska bli först i världen med att åka skidor nerför de tre högsta bergen i världen. På xxxdagen startade han klättringen upp mot toppen av världens tredje högsta berg Kangchenjunga, som är 8 586 meter högt. Toppstöten inklusive skidåk ner till baslägret igen beräknas ta minst fyra dagar. Kangchenjungaexpeditionen, som genomförs tillsammans med den norske äventyraren och extremskidåkaren Jörgen Aamot, är den första delen i det tre år långa projektet.

Fredrik Ericsson är en erfaren professionell skidåkare som är specialiserad på att åka skidor på exotiska ställen och höga berg. Under de senaste åren har han utvecklats till en av världens ledande extremskidåkare med skidåk på några av världens högsta berg såsom Dhaulagiri, Laila Peak, Gasherbrum 2, Shisha Pangma och Peak Somoni.

Jag har redan åkt nerför tre av världens 14 stycken 8 000-meters berg, men nu är siktet inställt på de absolut högsta bergen. Projektet sträcker sig över tre år då jag ska åka skidor utför världens tre högsta berg - Kangchenjunga (8 586 meter) i höst, K2 (8 612 meter) nästa sommar och världens högsta berg Mount Everest (8 850 meter) hösten 2010, säger Frippe Ericsson.

Den första stora utmaningen inleds nu när Frippe tillsammans med sin norske kollega Jörgen Aaamot påbörjar toppstöten på Kangchenjunga som ligger på gränsen mellan Indien, Nepal och Sikkim. Berget bestegs för första gången 1955 av britterna Joe Brown och George Band. Sedan dess har cirka 200 klättrare lyckats nå bergets topp via olika leder. Dock har ingen svensk eller norrman ännu satt sin fot på toppen och ingen i världen har lyckats åka skidor utför Kangchenjunga.

- Det här betyder att vi dels blir förste svensk och norrman att bestiga toppen, dels blir vi först i världen med att åka skidor utför berget, säger Frippe.

Frippe och Jörgen har under tre veckor befunnit sig vid Yalung, som sluttningen och glaciären de ska klättra upp för heter. Där på 5 100 meters höjd har de slagit upp sitt basläger. Under de tre veckorna har de förberett toppförsöket genom att acklimatisera sig till den höga höjden och genomföra rekognoseringsklättringar och skidåk.

- Vi är just tillbaks i baslägret efter en acklimatiseringstur. Vi har rekognoserat vägen upp till cirka 7 000 meters höjd, just under vårt tänkta läger två. Det är väldigt tidskrävande att hitta en bra väg eftersom vi är de enda klättrarna på berget. Först gäller det att hitta en bra väg upp genom labyrinter av seracer (isväggar) och crevasser (sprickor) och sedan får vi på bara två man spåra i bitvis djup snö, säger Frippe.

Det kommer att bli en jobbig klättring. Frippe och Jörgen bär själva all utrustning inklusive skidor, de har slalompjäxor på fötterna och de använder inte syrgas. Därför blir det lite jobbigare än för vanliga klättrare att betvinga berget särkskilt om det är mycket snö att pulsa i.

- Berget ser riktigt fint ut. Det är mycket snö så lyckas vi bara ta oss till toppen så är chanserna stora att vi ska kunna åka skidor hela vägen ner till snögränsen på 5 500 meter. Vi är nu redo för toppstöten, säger Frippe.

Toppstöten kommer att gå från baslägret över tre läger på 6 200 meter, 7 200 meter och 7 800 meter. Från sista lägret inleds klättringen upp mot toppen på 8 586 meter runt midnatt och det kommer att ta cirka tio timmar.

Själva skidåket, som är själva höjdpunkten på den två månader långa expeditionen, beräknas ta cirka fyra timmar. Åket går ända ner till baslägret och har en sammanlagd fallhöjd på 3 100 meter och är bitvis mycket brant – upp till 50 graders lutning.

- Att åka skidor på över 8 000 meters höjd är ingen lek. Det är extremt jobbigt och i början behöver vi stanna för att ta igen oss redan efter några svängar. Efter fyra svängar är man ungefär lika trött som efter en kilometers skidåkning i Alperna, säger Frippe.

För Fredrik Ericsson handlar utmaningen om att ta skidåkning ett steg längre genom att åka skidor på berg där ingen människa tidigare har åkt. Nu är han redo för den största utmaningen, något han har förberett sig på i över tio år.

För mer information, kontakta:
Fredrik Ericsson på sattelittelefon: +8821621150074 eller e-mail: fredrik@fredrikericsson.com
Se även http://www.fredrikericsson.com/
Eller ring Elisabeth von Sydow, presskontakt, tel: +46709527475 eller e-mail: elisabeth@vonsydow.se

OBS! För den som är intresserade går det att följa utvecklingen av den här expeditionen eftersom Fredrik Ericsson bloggar på http://www.fredrikericsson.com/

BILDER: Såväl rörliga som stillbilder från Kangchenjunga finns tillgängliga
 
Fakta: Fredrik ”Frippe” Ericsson

Fredrik Ericsson är uppväxt i Umeå men spenderar sedan 2000 större delen av året i Chamonix i franska alperna. Under vintrarna jobbar han tillsammans med olika fotografer på skidorter i alperna och exotiska bergskedjor runtom i världen. När Fredrik inte åker skidor är det klättring som gäller och han spenderar sommaren klättrandes i Mont Blanc-massivet.

Fredrik är idag 33 år och har varit inriktad på extremskidåkning sedan 18-årsålder. Under de senaste två-tre åren har han nått en så pass hög nivå så att han kan försörja sig på sin skidåkning och är nu professionell skidåkare.

Här nedan följer ett litet axplock ut Fredriks skidåkar-CV:

 

  • 2003 - Peak Somoni (7 495 m), Tadzjikistan, första kompletta skidåket någonsin på berget
  • 2004 - Centrala toppen på Shisha Pangma (8 012 m), Tibet, första svensk att åka skidor på ett 8 000-metersberg
  • 2005 - Gasherbrum 2 (8 035 m), Pakistan, Fredriks andra 8 000-meters topp.
  • 2005 - Laila Peak (6 069 m), Pakistan, åkte skidor från 5 940 m, första skidåkare på berget
  • 2007 - Dhaulagiri (8 167 m), Nepal, åkte skidor från 8 000 till 4 700 meter

Fredrik har även flertalet första skidåk på Svalbard, i Hurrungane i Norge och i Sarek National Park i Sverige.

 

2008-10-24

Base Camp Life

At the moment we are stuck in base camp and all we can do is to wait for the weather to change. I’m getting a bit of déjà vu from last year on Dhaulagiri. Acclimatization climbs passed by without any problems but as soon as I'm ready for the summit the weather changes totally. Last year it was a week of snowfall that stopped me, this year the jet stream has taken over the mountain. For about a week now it’s been around 90 km/h wind up on 8000 meters and that is no place for us to be in those conditions.

Jörgen relaxing by this tent with Kangchenjunga in the background

Instead we get to hang out in base camp. So how is life in the camp? My home is a big four man tent that I got all to myself. My down sleeping mattress is possible to convert into a nice and comfy chair. That’s where I spend most of my time. Either listening to music, reading a good book or just enjoying the amazing view from my tent. Our tent site is not very exciting. It's made up of ice, sand and rocks and it’s very uneven. But the mountains surrounding our camp are very impressive. It's an amphi-theatre of beautiful peaks, from "The Fake Jannu" in the north via Kangbacken, Yalung Kang, Kangchenjunga to Talung and Kabru in the south.  They are all rising 2000 meters higher than we are. That view is hard to beat.

When I'm not in my tent I'm eating food. Jörgen and I have our own kitchen crew here in base camp. Buddhi, Kansha and Mon are making sure we are stuffed after breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are a good crew. Not only are they cooking good food  but they are also laughing at our jokes (we paid extra for that).

Our kitchen crew Mon, Kansha and Buddhi with today's lunch and "The Fake Jannu" in the background

Anyway after a week in base camp I’m getting restless and I’m hoping that the wind will calm down soon so that we can pack our gear and head up on the mountain again. This time we will try for the summit of Kangchenjunga (8586m).

/Fredrik


GPS position

Base Camp:  
Lat N 27° 40’ 24”
Lon E 88° 05’ 43”
Altitude: 5163 meters
 

Favorite Norwegian story:
"Why do the Norwegians leave the door open when they go to the toilet"?
"So that no one will look through the keyhole" 
;)
 
Book that I'm reading:
Tissot: The story of a watch company by Estelle Fallet

Music on my MP3 player:
Dio - Holy Diver

 

2008-10-20

Back in base camp again after a second acclimatization climb on Kangchenjunga. This time it took us only eight hours, instead of four days, to climb the 1000 vertical meters up to Camp 1 at 6250 meters. Being better acclimatized and having a trail to follow makes a big difference.

Snowfall and bad visibility

The weather has been identical  to last week. We've had sunshine in the morning and clouds and snowfall in the afternoon. We are happy that we have marked the route with willow wands (bamboo sticks), that way we could easily find the way to C1 even if it was bad visibility almost half the way up there.

Fredrik checking out the route up the "Second Glacier"

The route from "The Hump" (C1) up to "The Great Shelf" (C2) goes down for about a hundred meters then up what we call "The Second Glacier",  a steep snow slope with lots of Seracs and Crevasses. Very similar to "The First Glacier" that goes up to C1.

Being a bit lazy and too comfortable in our sleeping bags we were not very quick out of the tent in the mornings. That way we didn't get far before clouds and snowfall stopped us at lunchtime. To our defense: we can feel the winter coming and the nights are getting colder ;). With this pace it took us three days from C1 to 6950 meters (almost "The Great Shelf") where we found a nice ridge to set camp on.

Fredrik skiing down "Second Glacier" with Kangchenjunga Summit in the background

At this moment the weather changed and it got very windy. According to Meteotest, that are doing our weather forecasts, the wind was 90 km/h at 8000 meters. Maybe a bit less where we were, but still enough. After a stormy night and when the wind didn't decline the next day we decided to return to BC. After four days of uphill it was then time for skiing. It felt good to step into the bindings after a long summer and a lot of uphill on this trip. "The Second Glacier" is a nice slope for skiing. It has everything from low angle traverses to 50 degrees sections. Unfortunately the snow wasn't great this time but the scenery made up for that. Anyway, skiing on the slopes of Kangchenjunga was a special feeling.

Fredrik on "The Hump"

Both Jörgen and I are in good mood and are acclimatizing well. We are now ready for the summit push and as soon as we get a weather forecast giving us four days of nice weather we will go for it.
Stay tuned for more news from Kangchenjunga.

Facts

GPS position:

Camp 1
N 27° 40.909'
E 88° 06.958'
Altitude: 6278 meters

Camp 2?
N 27° 41.215'
E 88° 07.912'
Altitude: 6959 meters

Book that I'm reading:
Everest: The West Ridge by Tom Hornbein

Music on the MP3 player:
Eddie Vedder - Into the wild (Soundtrack)

Beard competition:
Jörgen = Impressive
Fredrik = Not so Impressive

Sunset over Talung and Kabru seen from Camp 2

/Fredrik

 

2008-10-12

Route to Camp 1!

Climbing an 8000-meter peak is a time consuming project. Not only can it be a long and demanding approach to the foot of the mountain but you also need to spend weeks to get used to the altitude (acclimatize) to be able to climb the mountain. In total Jörgen and I are spending two month to be able to climb and ski on Kangchenjunga.

Fredrik near camp 1

This Autumn Jörgen and I are the only climbers on the south side of Kangchenjunga. Normally the base camps on the 8000ers are crowded with climbers and on the mountain there are fixed ropes all along the routes. Being alone is great, it gives a more adventurous touch to it. We get to go up on the mountain all by ourselves to search and find a nice and safe route to climb (and ski). I can almost imagine what it was like for the British climbers that first climbed Kangchenjunga in 1955.

Kangchenjunga Route 2008.jpg

From our base camp at 5100 meters we have about 3500 meters up to the summit of the mountain and we will use three camps on the way. During the last four days Jörgen and I have been working our way up to our first camp. It is located at about 6200 meters on a ridge that was named “The Hump” by the first ascensionists. The route goes on a fairly steep glacier that is cracked up by crevasses (cracks) and seracs (ice walls) that we have to navigate around. The routefinding was a bit tricky and the weather didn’t cooperate with us either. Each day it was clear and sunny in the morning but after a only few hours clouds pulled in and it started snowing. Needing good visibility to move higher up we could only manage to ascend a few hundred meters a day. We spent one night at camp one before we returned to base camp. Four days up, three hours down.

Jörgen on the way up in the glacier labyrinth

Having a good route up to C1 and the fact that Jörgen and I seem to acclimatize well we are getting good confidence for the future. At the moment we are resting in base camp before we are heading up the mountain to continue our acclimatization and trying to figure out the route to Camp 2 at 7000 meters. More news when we are back from C2.

/Fredrik

Jörgen in camp 1

 

Facts:

GPS position
Base Camp:  
Lat N 27° 40’ 24”
Lon E 88° 05’ 43”

Altitude: 5100 meters
Warmest temp: +36°C
Coldest temp:    -11°C

 

2008-10-05

Base Camp at last!

Finally we have reached the Kangchenjunga Base Camp and it was not a walk in the park to get there. We were hoping for eight days of nice walking in the hills and mountains of eastern Nepal. Now 14 days later I know that the Kangchenjunga base camp trek is a bit more complicated than that.

Porters are happy that they finished their work
Porters are happy that they finished their work.

First we were strolling in the sun along rice fields and banana plantations. Then came the Jungle with the leeches. The days got longer and the rainfalls got more frequent. As we moved up to higher altitude the weather and the terrain got nicer. Once in a while I even got a glimpse of a snow capped mountain. Our mood got better but that didn’t stop Jörgen from catching a cold. He got a sore throat and a bad cough that kept him a wake most of the night. To get rid of the cough Jörgen decided to stay a few days in the camp in Tseram (3700m) while the rest of the crew continued. During the trek we had about 20 porters that helped us carry our gear and food. When we came up to the Yalung Glacier that leads up to Kangchenjunga, about half of them didn’t want to continue. With only half the men it took us two days to travel the distance of a normal day. If that wasn’t enough, then came the snow. In one day we got 20 cm snow and that made the rest of the porters give up on us as well. Even though it gave us some problems I totally understand them. Walking on this glacier is no fun at all and 20 cm of snow doesn’t make it more exciting. It’s a mix of sand, rocks and ice and always up or down. Not a single flat spot. The gear the porters show up in is better suited for a sunny day on the beach than on a snowy glacier. I’m impressed that they made it as far as they did. Fortunate for us we were not far from base camp. Jörgen got well and caught up with us and together with our cooking crew: Buddhi, Kansha and Mon we could move up to Kangchenjunga Base Camp.

Fredrik is getting excited to head up to the snow
Fredrik is getting excited to head up to the snow

It feels great to be here at the foot of Kangchenjunga and the view of the beautiful mountains makes the long trek all worthwhile. After 14 days in the jungle and on the moraine Jörgen and I are getting very excited to take out the skis and head up to the snow.

Kangchenjunga, the view that makes it all worthwhile
Kangchenjunga, the view that makes it all worthwhile

 

2008-09-24

The Adventure has begun. Jörgen and I are now on the trek towards Kangchenjunga base camp. Four days have passed and four days to go to reach camp.


It’s just over a week since we arrived in Nepal. We spent three days in Kathmandu sorting out climbing permit at the ministry of tourism, meetings with journalists and a chat with Elisabeth Hawley, the master of Himalayan climbing statistics. We also bought some gear and food that we will need on the expedition.


Kathmandu is a big and lively city with millions of people. There is a massive amount of cars and motorcycles and the traffic is the most chaotic I’ve ever experienced. It’s interesting to visit Kathmandu but it’s a bit too stressful for a guy like me that is used to the peace and quiet life of northern Sweden.


We continued with a one hour flight to Bhadrapur and a jeep ride via Ilam to Gopetar. After getting delayed one day due to a missing bag on the flight to Bhadrapurwe left Gopetar last Friday and started the trek towards Kanghenjunga, We are now halfway on the eight days trek and it’s not the regular trek that we are used to. We’ve been walking up and down the   hills, going through rise- and cornfields, crossing rives on wooden suspension bridges and through the jungle. Jörgen and I have agreed that we are not made for the jungle. It’s warm and moisty, the rocks are slippery and leeches are attacking us from all directions.


During the trek we have met a lot of nice people that have been telling us stories about life in Nepal and we have been trying to describe to them what life is like in Europe.
We are now looking forward to leave the jungle and move up to higher altitude and hopefully we will reach base camp in a few days. More news when we arrive.

Beginning of the trekk

 

Jörgen crossing a river

 

 

 

2008-09-15

Saturday I arrived in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, after a long flight from Sweden via London and Bahrain. Jörgen was flying from Norway so we met in London and continued together. Even though Ive been in Kathmandu before, and knew what to expect, it was a bit chocking to see all the people, cars, motorcycles, dust and noice. That is something I can never get used to. During our stay in Kathmandu we have been to the Ministry of Tourism to get our climbing permit, buying food and gear and we also had a chat with Elisabeth Hawley. Miss Hawley is a journalist that came to Nepal from America with a climbing expedition in 1963 and has stayed since. Throughout the years she has been gathering information from climbers that has visited Nepal and put it all together in the Himlayan Database, where you can find all sorts of statistics about about climbing in Nepal.

 

Check out the website: www.himalayandatabase.com

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we are flying to Badrapur to start the trek towards base camp. It feels good to leave the busy city and go towards the mountains. From Badrapur we have a one day bus ride before we continue on foot for about a week up to about 5300 meters on the Yalung glacier where we will set up our base camp.

 

 

Last

 

Kathmandu

Busy streets of Kathmandu

 

 Breakfast chat with Miss Hawley

Breakfast meeting with Miss Hawley

 

 Jorgen with his new friend

Jörgen and his new friend out shopping

 

 

 

2008-09-12

Its time.....

Today at 4 pm Im leaving Sweden and flying to Nepal. Meeting Jörgen on the way and we are  arriving in Kathmandu saturday afternoon. Then we will have a few busy days, making sure we have all the gear and food that we need for almost two months in the mountains, before we fly to Badrapur and start the trek towards Kangchenjungas base camp. Im getting very excited.

More news when we are in Kathmandu

 

2008-08-30

I’m happy to announce my new partnership with the world leader in ski gloves, Hestra.

For 70 years the Magnusson family of Hestra, Sweden has been exclusively committed to producing the finest performance gloves available. Once you have had an opportunity to put your hands into a pair of Hestra Gloves it will be clear that you have found the finest performance handwear in the market today.

The gloves are used by the Swedish Alpine Ski Team and some of the best Freeskiers in the world.For more info about Hestra and their products check out the website: www.hestragloves.com

 

Hestra Gloves

 

2008-08-19

In the middle of September Im going to Nepal with my Norwegian friend Jörgen Aamot to try to ski Kangchenjunga (8586m), the 3rd highest mountain in the world. You will be able to follow our adventures in Nepal through regular updates on this site. Stay tuned.

 

Kangchenjunga

 

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Happy New Year!!

 

The last few days has brought a lot of snow to Chamonix so the start of the new year looks very good for us skiers. Unfortunately, a virus infection in my lungs has bothered me for about a month now. So not much skiing for me. Hopefully I will be back on my skis again very soon.

This period of illness has given me lots of time to read and I have gone through a few books. The best one being The Mountains of my Life by Walter Bonatti. The legendary Italian climber describes his first ascents on Les Drus, Grandes Jorasses, Grand Capuccin and other famous mountains around the world. He also gives his story of the controversial first ascent of K2 in 1954. This book is definitely worth a read. 

 

Preparing gear

Today was gear day. On an expedition to an 8000-meters mountain like K2 one need a lot of gear. To not have too much gear on the flight to Pakistan we will send most of our gear in advance by cargo. Therefore Trey and I used today to sort out our gear and load it in barrels and a skibag that we will drop off at Geneva Airport tomorrow.   

My gear for the K2 expedition

I ended up with four barrels, one bag and a skibag weighing around 130 KG.

Trey packing for K2

Trey had a bit less gear. Only one barrel and two bags weighing around 60 KG

 

I also got a bit of training done today. I feel that running uphill is very good training for high altitude climbing and skiing. Here in Chamonix there are loads of trails in the forest and on the mountains and many of them are uphill. With thatI never have to run the same trails which makes it more interesting.   

After I have dropped off our cargo in Geneva Im heading up to Sweden where I will stay until departure for Pakistan on may 29.

 

This is from David Schipper:

Trey asked me to work as their translator for sat phone calls on their summit bid.
Trey and I have been climbing together since 1991 and were together on his last attempt on K2 in 2007, on the same route. Here is what he said on his call today.

It took them seven hours for move the 1200m elevation from base camp to camp 2. After 3 days of heavy snow at base camp and reported strong winds up high, the route was surprisingly free of dangerous snow build up and was scoured down to hard, great climbing snow. Still the princess of alpine climbing seldom concedes all and provided a strong "refreshing" wind from the summit.

Its typically a good strategy to skip camp one on the summit push because it was established early on the acclimatization schedule. As climber´s bodies adapt to less oxygen and are able to perform at higher altitudes the night saved at camp 1 will shorten the summit push - needing less days to be up high.

Tomorrow´s efforts will bring them from camp 2´s elevation of 6350m up to 7100m and the steep slopes of camp 3. As we spoke Trey said three others I knew were with them: Fabrizio Zangrilli, a German couple I remember from 2077 named Rolf and Gerlinde, and a Polish gal named King I have not met. Excellent company at those altitudes!

During our brief call I was reminded of how difficult it is to survive at that altitude. Trey´s conversation showed shortness of breath and his mental acuity was not dangerously compromised but definitely altered. There was constant coughing in the back ground.

After tomorrow´s trip to camp 3 they will move to camp 4 located on the relatively flat terrain of the lower shoulder and the likelihood of meeting several climbers taking advantage of the same weather window on the Abruzzi Route. Mark your calendar for July 27 as the day they will move from the highest camp, to the summit.

 

 

A series of unfortunate events in Iceland

Mountain Guide Jökull Bermann can give you an experience of a liftime on the troll peninsula in the north of Iceland, wether its ski touring or heliskiing: Bergmenn Mountain Guides

Arctic Heiiski is the only company that organizes heliskiing in Iceland.

To read more about our Iceland trip check out Per Jonssons blog on www.freeradicals.se

Big cars in Iceland

Not only big mountains in Iceland, they also like big cars...

Fredrik Ericsson skiing Pyramid in Iceland

Bulletproof top section turned in to nice powder. Me skiing the Pyramid

Happy dudes in Heli

Gummi, Per and I happy to be up in the Bird.

View over Eyjafjördur near Dalvik, Iceland

Amazing scenery

Lunch break in Iceland

Just a normal lunch break in Iceland. Fredrik Schenholm, Per Jonsson and Erik Henriksson

The Pyramid and the moon on Iceland

The pyramid and the moon. Per and I are climbing the ridge on the right hand side.