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Annapurna West Face Expedition: frostbites stopped Luka Stražar and Nejc Marcic

 - Athletes

Annapurna (8091 m) said no to Luka Stražar and Nejc Marcic. Frostbites forced our Slovenian guys - that won the Piolet d'Or for their ascent on K7 West - to abandon their alpine style dream on the extremely difficult west face of the 10th peak of the world. In the last months Luka and Nejc trained and worked a lot for realizing this huge project, so they are now really disappointed. But they are also more experienced and ready to start new great adventures, as Luka explains in his interesting report.

THE IMPORTANCE TO LEARN FROM FAILURE

by Luka Stražar

Writing a report after a failed expedition is not the most pleasant thing you could encounter. Effort and energy that were put in don't reflect in an outcome and that fact can not provoke the nicest of feelings. So if failure is a thing that hurts (mostly our egos) but at the same time offers a handful of experience to the one who is willing to learn, then let's look what we found out.

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Organizing logistics and raising funds is demanding and it takes far more energy than some trips of smaller type. Struggles and failures left a small scar even before boarding on a plane. Next time, have a bigger better tank of energy ready for such tasks. I have to say thanks however to C.A.M.P. as official sponsor and others who recognized and acknowledged our spirit and gave us their support.

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Before the expedition lots of people asked us: “Is it just you two?”. Well that's how we are used to climb. One downside a two member party carries showcased when Nejc got frostbites on his toes and couldn't carry on. But it could also be something else like digestion problems. Next time, think about a three member party.

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Our plan was to ascent the normal route to the summit before trying the west face. Even if it was not fully realized, we made good progress before the frostbites. From a psychological point acclimatizing like this gives you a good morale before attempt and I think I would try this principle in the future.

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Base Camp lies around 4000m above see level. It's a relative low lying BC and so the environment is more mild and already a home of potential predators that endanger your food supplies. Nima (our kitchen boy) usually named them “mouse” or “cat”. Well the truth was somewhere in between, and looked similar to weasel. If naming the creatures posed a problem to Nima, catching those “mouses” or “cats” certainly didn't. Next time, if your BC tends to lie quite low, try to invite a skilled hunter into your BC crew.

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Approach to BC is one of the trickiest I've encountered so far. Steep grassy slopes demand caution. Drums or duffel bags can quickly and irreversibly transport themselves down a 1000m slope, that statement is sadly supported by actual events. Autumn season is clearly not that popular so the trail was completely overgrown by grass and bushes at places. When this happened we had to check our maps and found out that the route is marked completely wrong, well on map it also stated that Annapurna was first ascended by two guys named Maurice and Herzog... so I guess some other errors might be expected as well.

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Desire to climb high mountains is still there. So goodbye... till next time!