Monday, January 30, 2006

Lafaille Missing

Jean-Christophe Lafaille, who is attempting to solo Makalu in winter, has not called in on his sat phone since Thursday, when he arrived at a high camp at 7,600 meters. In a call to his wife, Katia, Lafaille said he hadn't been able to sleep for three nights because of intense cold and wind, but he was planning to head for the summit early Friday morning. It's certainly possible that the batteries in Lafaille's phone have died (he said on Thursday they were low) and that something has delayed his return to basecamp. But the weather is good on Makalu, and he should be down by now. According to Lafaille's website, a plane was supposed to do a fly-by today to look for his small tent at 7,600 meters—if the tent is there, the conclusion may be that he fell into a crevasse between his high camp and the summit. Lafaille is certainly a survivor: In 1992, he downclimbed for days with almost no gear and a broken arm to escape the South Face of Annapurna after his partner fell off. But the situation on Makalu is looking increasingly dire.

No comments: