Ace French climber missing in the Himalayas
Jean Christophe Lafaille, known as France's most competitive climber who has tamed all but two of the 14 highest mountains towering over 8,000 m, had last spoken to his wife Katia by satellite phone Thursday.
Speaking from a height of 7,600 m, the 41-year-old had told her he was planning to summit the 8,485 m high peak by Friday and return to the base camp by Saturday.
However, since then, there has been no news of him, triggering deep concern about his condition. His relatives have been trying to start an aerial search, climbing portal mounteverest.net said.
Mt Makalu, meaning "The Great Black (One)", has never been summitted in winter. Lafaille was planning to attempt the feat solo. Last year, Nepal celebrated the golden anniversary of the first ascent of Mt Makalu.
Jean Couzy and Lionel Terray first reached the top as members of a French expedition on May 15, 1955. In 1989, Lafaille's friend Pierre Beghin had scaled the peak from the south.
Three years later, Beghin was climbing Mt Annapurna with Lafaille when he fell to his death, watched by a horrified Lafaille, an experience it took him 10 years to exorcise in the form of a book, "Prisoner of Annapurna".
In 2003, Lafaille himself had a brush with death on Broad Peak in Pakistan when he fell into a crevasse.
Last week, the weather was bad on the mountains with freezing temperature and high winds. Lafaille had told his wife he couldn't sleep at night due to the cold.
This winter, the toll has been high on the mountains.
In October, seven French climbers and their 11-member Nepali support team perished on Mt Kanguru in northern Nepal after an avalanche swept away the team's tents.
Autor: Sudeshna Sarkar
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