Eyes record ascent in 2022


A renowned French mountaineer has expressed his interest to explore a new route from the base camp of Mt Everest to Camp I and Camp II from where climbers could attempt to scale the world highest peak without crossing the treacherous icefall section.

Climber Marc Batard, who was once nicknamed the 'Sprinter' said, "I am always concerned about the safety of the climbers and mountain people," and added that he would return to Mt Everest in 2022, eyeing a record ascent to the top of the world.

"I am 69 now and I would attempt to climb the world's highest peak in the spring of 2022 without using bottled oxygen," the legendary climber shared. For that, a new project to explore a new alternative route from the Base Camp to Camp I/II has already been envisaged, according to Batard.

As there are many deaths reported in the treacherous icefall section with a large number of climbers needing to cross the section multiple times during their climbing bid on Mt Everest or Mt Lhotse, Batard wants to explore a comparatively safe route above the base camp in order to avert the disasters.

"In coming September-November, I plan to train a group of high altitude Sherpa climbers to support the route exploration project," Batard, who recently flew to the base camp surveying the possible route beneath the Mt Nuptse face, added.

"Sajid Ali Sadpara and Pasang Nuru Sherpa will be my teammates for the project," he said. Batard also informed that he wanted to climb Mt Everest at the age of 70 without using oxygen support in a bid to garner support for another project of his called "Himalayan International Mountaineering School" in Nepal. Till date, Italian Abele Blanc, who scaled Mt Everest in 2010 at the age of 55 years and 264 days, holds record of the oldest climber to stand atop the mountain without oxygen support.

According to reports, Batard first made winter ascent of Dhaulagiri in December 1987. He climbed alone via the West Pillar to the summit and then down the normal route, the Northwest Ridge, to base camp in April 1988. The ascent took him only 18 hours. In preparation for Everest, Batard also scaled Cho Oyu in only 19 hours in early September 1988. He had also climbed his first eight-thousander, Gasherbrum II in Pakistan, already in 1975, opening a new route via the South Ridge.

Aged 23, Batard was then the youngest climber ever to scale an eight-thousander without bottled oxygen, Adventure Mountain reports. He was the first person to climb Everest in less than 24 hours – without bottled oxygen in the 1980s. "He took just 22.5 hours to scale Mt Everest from Nepal side in 1988."

"I am in a good shape to climb the mountains," Batard, who abandoned his Annapurna bid a few weeks ago reaching the height of 6,000 metres due to weather condition, said. He scaled four eight-thousanders in less than four months without bottled oxygen.

The French climber has flayed tourists who choose to fly to high camps to make an ascent of Mt Everest with support from Sherpa climbers. "Mountaineering is a different kind of sports and you need to respect the norms," the climber said.

Batard has already tackled Mt Everest eight times: six times from the south side, twice from the Tibetan side. After 1988 he achieved a second Everest summit success in 1990, according to the Adventure Mountain report.

"We are ready to support Marc Batard to get his projects completed," Bikram Pandey, chairman at Himalaya Expedition Pvt Ltd, said.

Marc Batard holding a flag of SISHA first international meeting on very high altitude safety. Photo Courtesy: Marc Batard
Marc Batard holding a flag of SISHA first international meeting on very high altitude safety. Photo Courtesy: Marc Batard