GORE-TEX Active Project: Extreme mountaineers’ expedition series moves on to world’s sixth-highest peak

Benedikt Böhm, Sebastian Haag and Greg Hill prepare for speed ascent of Cho Oyu (8,188 m)

Speed mountaineering may be a relatively new discipline in alpinism but the combined trio of Benedikt Böhm (34), Sebastian Haag (33) and Greg Hill (37) boast an unsurpassed wealth of experience. Which is presumably why the mountaineers from Munich, together with Canadian Hill, have set their sights sky high for September 2012’s GORE-TEX Active project on the 8,188-metre Cho Oyu mountain in Tibet: a speed climb followed by a ski descent.

A story of success, pushing the limits and intoxicating speed
2005 saw young mountaineers and friends Böhm and Haag embark on their first expedition. With their speed climb and ski descent of Gasherbrum II (8,035 m) and Mustagh Ata (7,546 m) they carved out a new discipline in high-altitude mountaineering. The Munich athletes’ Manaslu (8,136 m) and, in 2009, Broad Peak (8,051 m) expeditions saw them really hit the heights – and get pushed right to their limits. They are now true masters at combining the two disciplines of high-speed climbing and lightning-quick ski descents, high up in the death zone. Greg Hill, renowned for his countless extreme ski descents, speed climbs and endurance records on skis is the perfect addition to this team.

Professionalism on the peaks, on skis and in front of the camera
Aside from their experience as alpinists, the mountaineers have been appearing behind the camera as well as on it for a long time now, and are well versed in how to fi lm and market their expeditions. Both individually and as a team, Benedikt Böhm, Sebastian Haag and Greg Hill are ambassadors for modern high-altitude mountain climbing. Their accounts and films of their expeditions over the years have always delighted audiences. A camera crew is set to provide live coverage of their Cho Oyu speed ascent/descent. Speed mountaineering coupled with spectacular ski descents on the world’s highest peaks is increasingly capturing the public’s interest. And these three athletes’ authenticity, top performances and their intense passion for ski alpinism is truly captivating.

Cho Oyu – peak on the China-Nepal border
The sixth-highest mountain in the world lies in the Mahalangur Himal section of the Central Himalayas. A close neighbour of Mount Everest and Lhotse, Cho Oyu is part of the world’s most imposing mountain range. Its peak forms the border between China and Nepal and provides a stunning expedition arena. The name Cho Oyu originates from Tibetan, meaning Turquoise Goddess, apparently referring to the turquoise glow of the summit when viewed from Tibet.

The GORE-TEX Active Projekt:
Goal: Goal: Climb the 8,188-metre-tall Cho Oyu in record time from base camp (5,800 m) then ski back down from the peak to base camp (5,800 m). The team has set an expedition time of 24 hours. Böhm, Haag and Hill use neither artificial oxygen nor outside assistance on their expeditions. Using the right equipment is essential for the success of this project. the three athletes will wear garments with GORE-TEX Active laminates. On top, skis are central to their philosophy, and their aim is to ski down non-stop from peak to base camp. An 8,000-metre peak is not normally suitable for ski descents but its slopes of up to 50 degrees make Cho Oyu a viable option for experienced mountaineers.

Dates: 19 August – 02 October 2012
Programme: Travel to Kathmandu/Nepal. Climb the 6,461-metre Mera Peak in Nepal with ski descent for acclimatisation. Then travel via Nyalam to Tibet. Climb up to base camp (5,800m) of Cho Oyu in Tibet.
Route: Summit climb via the North-West route of the fi rst successful ascent. Speed climb planned for end of September 2012.