He may not have seen a single cloud throughout the expedition, but Charles Dubouloz, now back in Kathmandu, is on cloud nine. And not only because he has realised his dream of climbing in the Himalaya. During a short trip lasting barely a month, he and Benjamin Védrines have produced one of the year’s best routes, climbed alpine style, that is, without fixed ropes or logistical support. This is the story of two mountaineers who travel light, buoyed by their immense motivation — unquestionably the most important quality for anyone hoping to climb a north face at 7,000 metres in the Himalayas. But motivation alone is not always enough. Here, it was a combination of mental strength, exceptional fitness and luck with the conditions that enabled Dubouloz and Védrines to realise their dream on Chamlang, a popular peak this year.
Back at the foot of Chamlang. Védrines on the left, Dubouloz on the right. Their route is to the right of his left hand. ©Dubouloz-Védrines
I’d never been
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