Kristoffer Szilas

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Expedition Reports


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Cordillera Blanca - Peru

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Jess Roskelly and I spent a few weeks in Cordillera Blanca this summer. Our original project was to climb the Italien Ridge on Taulliraju, but warm temps made that impossible.The glacier was very broken up and it would be like walking into a labyrinth to find our way through it during the night and way too dangerous during the day. We also had a look at the Fowler-route through binoculars, but it looked similar to the adjacent unclimbed lines, so it was likely just powder snow on granite slabs..

Several lines on the mountain were simply not there anymore, but had been completely vaporised during the last couple of years of extreme warmth.

Our final option was the French military route which we gave a go, only to find a blank granite slab on pitch four that was completely unprotectable.

 

Having spent nearly two weeks of carrying gear up to Taulliraju and scouting for routes we were a bit disappointed, but we decided to run over to Alpamayo to at least get one peak done. We climbed the “French-Direct”, which was a very straight-forward and easy climb but a real classic.

 

It was a great experience to visit Peru and I’m sure we’ll be back one day; however we have already made plans for a couple of other expeditions first.

 

Photos from the trip can be found here:

https://plus.google.com/photos/102048338482894223782/albums/5779632925814223793

 

The French-Direct takes the central runnel in the middle of the face:

 

Alaska - Mooses Tooth

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 4:45 AM

Jim Broomhead and I spent three weeks in the Alaska range this spring and climbed the classic route ”Ham & Eggs” (TD: 5.9, AI4, 900m) to the summit of Mooses Tooth. There had been a lot of snow this winter, so conditions were not the best and there were many awkward snow mushrooms on the route and much steep, unprotectable snow.

 

On our first day in the range, we helped in the rescue of a Japanese climber who had taken a bad fall when a rappel anchor had pulled on him. Luckily there was a team of two Americans with a satphone to help as well, because our phone didn't work. It took us a whole night in the middle of a snow storm to get him out on a plateau, where he could get picked up by a helicopter. It is nice to know that a rescue can be done even in the worst possible conditions and we were very impressed with the military rescue team for flying that day.

 

Jim and I had another few unsuccessful attempts at Moonflower Buttress on Mount Hunter, but a combination of bad weather, poor conditions and various other issues made it impossible for us to climb this route, which we had attempted two years earlier.

Nevertheless, it was a good trip and we had lots of fun in Kahiltna base camp and met a lot of really cool people, including Slovenians, Koreans, and a bunch of Americans who all helped us waste time, when the weather was too poor for climbing.

 

Photos from the trip can be found here:

https://plus.google.com/photos/102048338482894223782/albums/5741527199732393745


Jim in the Twin Runnels on Moonflower Buttress


 

 

Hardest route yet, but not quite hard enough

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Last week I climbed in Italy with Ramon Marin. Our initial plan was to repeat the legendary mixed route: ”Mission Impossible” (M11). Unfortunately the ice curtain hadn’t formed so the route did indeed turn out to be impossible. For 6 months I have been training hard with this single route in mind, so it was quite disappointing to say the least.

We then headed over to Cogne to have a look at “X-Files” and “Empire Strikes Back”, but after closer inspection they proved to be very loose and had poor options for protection, so instead we climbed the pure ice route Repentance Super (WI6), which gave 5 pitches of nice ice climbing.

However, we were hungry for some physically hard mixed climbing, so we drove across Italy to the Dolomites to have a look at Grotto di Landro, which was supposed to have some of the hardest mixed lines in all of Italy. This cave is really nice, but all of the routes are sandbagged and hard for their grade.

 

Grotto di Landro:


 

 

Ramon quickly dispatched “Silent Memories” (M9) and I managed to flash it after watching him on it, so the training hadn’t been for nothing.

 

Me climbing to the first icicle of “Silent Memories” (M9):


 

Topping out after a series of figure-fours through the short roof section on “Silent Memories” (M9):


 

The day after we both repeated “Fly in the Wind” (M10+) in a few tries. A crucial hold had broken off at the very last move years ago, so this route was now hard M10+ and thus my hardest route to date.

However, while working the route I realised how contrived big number mixed routes are. In order to get a high grade these climbs needs to cross massive roof where the climbing essentially comes down to how many figure-fours you can do in a row. The less ice the better, because ice makes for solid placements and good rests, so in the end it becomes pure drytooling, which is not too appealing. Thus, although I could probably climb harder than M10+, “Fly in the Wind” is likely my last sport mixed route. I will much rather prefer technical climbing on both rock and ice that relates directly to what one finds in the mountains, so from now on my focus will be exclusively on alpinism.
It is now time to take the skills I got from all the different types of climbing I've been doing for the last 10+ years and apply them to the mountains. I really look forward to pushing myself in the mountains the next few years, because this is what I have been aiming for since I started climbing.

 

Me topping out on “Fly in the Wind” (M10+), likely my last route of this kind:


 

Route overview

Posted on August 12, 2011 at 2:05 AM

Here is an overview of the peaks that our team climbed in the eastern Djangart region this summer. The position of the different peaks can be seen on the map in the previous post and HERE is the expedition report.


Peak Alexandra (5290m) with the route “Bivouac - French for Mistake” (D: 5.4, 70, 700m) climbed by Jim Broomhead og Kristoffer Szilas


Peak Pernille (5190m) with the route “Waiting for the Tide” (AD: 55, 700m) climbed by Sune Buur, Jakob Fisker og Anders Hedeager Pedersen



Peak Lea (4950m) with the route “Mermaid” (D: M4, 70, 500m) climbed by Jim Broomhead og Kristoffer Szilas


Peak Kathryn (4885m) with the route “Russian Roulette” (AD: 60, 700m) climbed by Carsten Cooper-Jensen og Simon Lund Jensen


New routes in the Djangart Region, Kyrgyzstan

Posted on August 9, 2011 at 5:20 AM

Peak Alexandra (5290m) with our route “Bivouac - French for Mistake” (D: 5.4, 70,700m) following the left-hand skyline


 

Peak Lea (4950m) with our route “Mermaid” (D: M4, 70, 500m) going straight up left of centre


 

Map of the eastern Djangart region with the mountains our group climbed or attempted


Me on Peak Alexandra with the summit ridge above


Jim on the upper mixed bit of Peak Alexandra


Jim near the summit of Peak Lea



Jim down climbing on Peak Lea shortly before we got hammered by the first of a series of avalanches




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