Marek Holeček and Zdeněk Hák are the first alpinist to conquer the north-west face of Chamlang.
On 21 May 2019, Mammut Pro Team athlete Marek Holeček and Zdeněk Hák covered the last few meters to the Chamlang summit (7321m) and were the first alpinists ever to conquer the north-western face of the Nepalese mountain. The seven day long first ascent on the route they named “UFOline” demanded everything from the two professional mountaineers.
Already in 2001, when Marek saw the elegant forms of the north-west face of Chamlang the first time, he was impressed: «I looked at the face with a mixture of humbleness and doubts arising from contemplating climbing the vast vertical wall.» About a year ago, Marek finally decided to dare an attempt and on May 17, 2019, together with Zdeněk Hák, he went into the north-west face of this giant lying in the Hunkhu Valley. «The initial meters of the climb started with unpleasant mixed climbing followed by a sloped ramp. The rock there was of very poor quality combined with loose snow which reminded us of sugar», Marek describes the first meters.
However, it did not get any easier on this first ascent in icy temperatures. On the third day, the two athletes had to face the longest climbing section. «The risk involved the point of no return once entering this section of the face. From there, you may only continue higher up, there is no reasonable way back», says Marek about this difficult part of the route.
On day five the moment had finally arrived: at 10:00 am Marek and Zdeněk passed the main summit. They were rewarded with a spectacular view: «Kanchenjunga was waving at us from the east while we were facing the pyramid of Makalu in the north. On the west the barrier of Lhotse continued with summits of Nuptse. All this being topped by the roof of Mount Everest.» The mountaineers only stopped briefly, because neither wind nor temperatures invited to a long stay and a difficult descent was lying ahead.
On May 23rd, after 160 hours and the last meters over the moraine, the athletes finally touched grass under their feet again. Marek was relieved: «The sun was shining on our faces and we left the cold behind us. We took off our clothes and lay down on beautifully scented grass just in our underwear.» The two athletes named the route “UFOline” remembering the climb over the north face of Chamlang, where Reinhold Messner and Doug Scott allegedly saw an UFO.
Read on Mammut Stories how Marek experienced the first ascent and what other difficulties the Mammut Pro Team athlete and his partner Zdeněk Hák had to overcome during their impressive performance: www.mammut.com/int/en/stories/
Founded in 1862, MAMMUT is a Swiss outdoor company that provides high-quality products and unique brand experiences for fans of mountain sports around the world. This leading international premium brand has stood for safety and pioneering innovation for more than 155 years. MAMMUT products combine functionality and performance with contemporary design. With its combination of hardware, shoes and clothing, MAMMUT is one of the most complete suppliers in the outdoor market. MAMMUT Sports Group AG operates in around 40 countries and employs more than 820 people.