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Mark Richey at the Mountaineering Culture Studies Group


TheMountaineeringCulture Studies Group


Invites you to

Saser Kangri II: The First Ascent


ByMark Richey

5 p.m. | 14 March 2013 | 3154 Angell Hall


In the summer of 2011 Mark Richey led a small team of six climbers into a remote region of India’s Eastern Karakoram to attempt the first ascent of what was then the second highest unclimbed mountain in the world, Saser Kangri II, at 7518 metres.  It was important to reach the summit, but just as important was reaching it in pure alpine style: with no fixed ropes, no fixed camps, and no support on the climb.  In addition to the ascent of SKII, the team explored on skis the glaciers and mountains surrounding SKII and made four other significant first ascents of 6000-metre peaks. The story of the expedition speaks to several fascinating issues and questions facing climbers today. The history of SKII—and why a mountain so high remained unclimbed for so long—is both fascinating and complex.  SKII lies very near the Indian LOC (Line of Control), a region in military conflict for nearly four decades.  What is involved in gaining a permit to enter such a geopolitical or ‘manmade’ wilderness, and what are the logistics of climbing there? Next, as both Mark and his partner Steve Swenson are in their mid to late fifties, it is a question worth asking (until) what age it is reasonable—and safe—to attempt this style of demanding high-altitude climbing in. Finally, while both Mark and Steve have made dozens of expeditions to the Himalaya and Karakoram, this one was a little different for them in including both men and women.  What are the actual and potential dynamics, challenges, and advantages to a multi-gender, multi-generation Himalayan expedition today? These questions and others will be explored in Mark’s lecture: ‘Saser Kangri II: The First Ascent’. In conclusion, Mark will screen a short film about the SKII climb, The Old Breed.

Mark Richey began climbing in 1973 at age 15 in the Quincy Quarries of Massachusetts. Adept at all forms of climbing, he has made over 25 expeditions to the greater ranges throughout the world with a focus towards technical alpine style ascents and exploratory climbing. The highlights include the Nose on El Cap at age 16, North Face of the Eiger in 12 hours in 1981, first ascent of the East face of Cayesh in 1984, Cerro Torre in 1987, Everest in 1991, the East ridge of Shivling in 1996, an alpine style ascent of Latok II in 2006, and most recently, the first ascent of Saser Kangri II in the Indian Karakoram. Mark lives in Newbury, Massachusetts with his wife Teresa.  Together they own and operate an Architectural woodworking business they founded in 1982.

Start Time: 3/14/2013  5:00 PM
Location: 3154 AH
Website: http://www.umich.edu/~mcsg/main.html
Contact: amritad@umich.edu
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