Katia Lafaille: Thank you Ed and Veikka
Katia’s trip to Nepal
Katia’s trip to Nepal has been tough. But with the ongoing support of Jean-Christophe's friends who helped with bureaucratic and logistical issues, she got through the ordeal. American Ed Viesturs and Finnish Veikka Gustafsson were among those who helped. Both men climbed alongside Lafaille during various expeditions (Ed even helped Lafaille down from Broad Peak in 2003).
Veikka, the companion
Viesturs has been in permanent contact with Katia, while Veikka accompanied her during the entire trip to Nepal. The Finnish climber even sat beside Jean-Christophe's widow for a last helicopter flight over Makalu on February 4. “We don’t know each other very well, but we’ve had a gut feeling about each other since we first met in Annapurna’s BC in 2002,” Katia said. “After the trip in the chopper up to 7,100m on Makalu, I’ve come to respect him very much.”
French Jean-Christophe Lafaille is reported missing on Makalu. Lafaille, who has already summited 11 8000ers, was attempting Makalu the hardest way: Solo and in winter.
Jean-Christophe left Base Camp on Tuesday, January 24th on his definitive summit bid. Katia Lafaille, his wife and supporting manager, last had contact with the climber on Thursday, over satellite telephone. Jean-Christophe was at 7600 meters, and planned to leave for the final summit in a few hours, hoping to reach the summit on Friday and be back at BC Saturday. The climber has not been heard from since.
Choppers have swept Makalu's slopes twice, spotting Lafaille's tent at 7600m, but finding no trace of the climber.
Makalu, the fifth highest mountain on earth at 8485m, has never been climbed in winter.
Ed Viesturs is the first US American to summit all 14 8000ers - and he's the 12th climber in the world to accomplish that feat. He is one of only five in the world to have done it without oxygen. Ed has now also completed 20 summits in total on the world's 8000ers (Everest 6 times, Cho Oyu twice).
Finnish Veikka Gustafsson has summited 10 8000ers, many of them teaming up with American Ed Viesturs.
Further information at: http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=1552