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Moncler worn on K2 expedition at auction

TURIN:  The Moncler down jacket worn by Ugo Angelino during Italy’s historic conquest of K2 in 1954, the only one known to exist from the glorious enterprise, will be up for sale on 28 February at Aste Boalffi’s website astebolaffi.it, together with other memorabilia, posters, furniture, and collector’s items for winter sport enthusiasts.

For the first Italian auction dedicated entirely to the mountains, Aste Bolaffi proposes a catalogue of 81 carefully-selected lots that are able to recount the attraction of the mountains in all of their variations.

The memorabilia from the K2 expedition are items of undisputed historical and symbolic value. K2 was conquered on 31 July, 1954 by Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli, with a crucial contribution made by both the young Walter Bonatti and the Pakistani Amir Mahdi as well. But the expedition led by Ardito Desio, which was both a great athletic triumph and a symbol of Italian rebirth in the post-war period, went down in history as a success of the entire group that took part in it.

The Moncler down jacket was worn during this expedition by Ugo Angelino, one of the “13 heroes” to whom the newly-founded French maison supplied the technical gear for the expedition. The blue down jacket worn by the Biellese mountaineer at least until the seventh camp was the first one patented with the consultation of the great mountaineer Lionel Terray. Rediscovering the thermic properties of the down jacket, Terray developed a specialized line for high-altitude missions, officially tested by the Italians on the Karakorum mountain range. With the inner label “Modèle réalisé sous la direction technique de Lionel Terray” and the handwritten inscription of Ugo Angelino, the Moncler is valued between 40 and 50 thousand euros.

Some other items from Ugo Angelino’s private collection that will be very interesting to enthusiasts include two original 16 mm copies of the renowned film Italia K2 (1955) by Marcello Baldi featuring high-altitude shots by Mario Fantin, some autographed photographs of the participants in the expedition, a commemorative ice axe produced by Grivel dedicated to Angelino, and the boots worn by the mountaineer in 1954 (starting prices from 500 to 2,000 euros).

There are also some very famous Alpine shots, from the Alps to the Himalayas, taken by Vittorio Sella included in the auction. Sella was a pioneer of high-altitude photography and produced some of the most incredible mountain photo features of all time.

The catalogue also includes a collection of photographic and biographical material that documents the Alpine activities of Julius Kugy and Wladimir Dougan (starting price 3 thousand euros), a very fine selection of posters, such as the iconic Sestriere by Mario Puppo (starting price 4,500 euros), and two posters by Carl Franz Moos, among the most sought-after mountain posters by collectors: St. Moritz and Sportbekleidung Fritz Schulze (starting price 3 thousand euros each). Paintings, furniture from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and small sculptures are also included in the catalogue.

–  ANSA

Mountaineering

Monk who blessed Everest climbers dies in Nepal

File photo: Lama Geshe offers a blessing at Pangboche to an Everest trekker.

 

KATHMANDU:  A Buddhist monk who blessed Everest climbers headed for the summit of the world’s highest mountain has died in Nepal aged 87, local officials said Wednesday (Feb 14).

Lama Geshe was a fixture of the Everest climbing community and few would dare attempt to climb the fabled 8,848 metre peak without seeking his blessing.

The Buddhist teacher died on Tuesday (Feb 13) morning at his home in the village of Pangboche, which lies in the shadow of Everest in Nepal’s Khumbu Valley, former local official Pemba Tshering Sherpa told AFP.

Lama Geshe was revered by the Sherpa community – a Buddhist ethnic group from the Himalayas who are the backbone of Nepal’s mountaineering industry, guiding hundreds of climbers up its mountains each year.

Sherpa, who consider Everest sacred and call it Chomolungma (“Goddess Mother of Mountains”), would not climb the mountain without first visiting Lama Geshe. His home became an essential stop for all climbers heading to the mountain.

“Sherpas believe that his prayers were extremely powerful in protecting them on Everest,” said Dawa Steven Sherpa of Asian Trekking, a mountaineering expedition organiser in Nepal.

“There will be a little bit of anxiety among the Sherpa going to the mountain this year because they will be missing a vital ingredient for safety.” Each climbing season Lama Geshe would bless hundreds of mountaineers, reciting a mantra, or prayer, to the powerful Buddhist goddess Miyolangsangma who lives at the top of Mount Everest and whom all climbers must appease if they want to safely summit the peak.

Tenzing Norgay, the first man to summit Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, often said that Miyolangsangma guided him up the mountain and allowed him to reach its peak.

Lama Geshe would also give climbers a talisman containing part of the mantra to wear around their necks during their ascent of Everest.

Lama Geshe studied in Tibet as a young boy and earned the highest academic achievement among monks, a Buddhist doctorate.

He fled Tibet during the Chinese occupation in the 1950s and returned to his childhood home in the Khumbu Valley.

He was married and had two children, which is permitted in certain Buddhist monastic traditions.

–  AFP

Mountaineering

Mountaineer hopes to become first Australian woman to conquer 14 peaks in the Himalayan ‘death zone’

PHOTO: Samantha McMahon climbing Ama Dablam in October 2016 (Supplied: Samantha McMahon)

 

When Samantha McMahon broke her leg in a car accident in 2008, it was the beginning of a shocking run of injuries.

A few months later, while participating in Run For The Kids in Melbourne, she broke her hip. After unsuccessful surgery and a second surgery several months later, the Bendigo resident was told she would need a hip replacement after her femoral head [or femur head] died. She was just 22.

“It was months and months on crutches, but I’ve become very good on crutches,” she said.

It was this positive outlook that she hoped would help her conquer the highest mountain peaks in the world — 14 individual mountains that tower over 8,000 metres in the Himalayas. The summits of these mountains are in an area dubbed the ‘death zone’, where altitudes are too high and oxygen levels too low, to sustain human life.

On her expeditions, Ms McMahon can spend up to two months in the mountains. She said she always wanted to climb higher.

“I was just trekking in Nepal in 2015 and the views I experienced were incredible then and I just thought, ‘I wonder what the view is like from a little bit higher’.”

“The mountains humble me in a way nothing else can.”

Next month, she plans to climb Everest and Lhotse, at a staggering 8,848 meters and 8,516 meters respectively, with good friend and fellow female climber, Phunjo Lama, from the remote Tsum Valley in Nepal.

Ms McMahon said if successful, she would be the first Australian woman to climb both Mount Everest and Lhotse unassisted in the same expedition. She has already climbed Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world.

She hoped to become the first Australian woman to climb all 14 of the peaks.

A GoFundMe page called Women Without Limits to help Ms McMahon fund the trip has been created. The permit just to climb Everest costs about $14,000.

Descending Manaslu to base campPHOTO: After summiting Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world and commencing the descent to base camp after a successful summit on September 26th, 2017 (Supplied: Samantha McMahon )

“There’s a saying that you often go to Nepal the first time for the mountains and you keep going back for the people.”

Ms McMahon, who is a social worker, left Nepal a few days before the deadly 2015 earthquake struck, and boarded a plane to return when she knew her skills might be needed.

“There weren’t many of us flying into Kathmandu, the commercial jet was mostly filled with boxes of aid materials,” she said.

In Nepal, she used her skills to educate teachers about how to help children overcome trauma.

“It was absolutely devastating, whole communities were completely affected — but the resilience of the people and their giving nature, even when they had nothing, really affected me.”

It was from that moment, she decided to give back.

“If this beautiful country gives me amazing mountains to climb and great people to climb them with, then anything I can do to give back, I’m absolutely more than happy to.”

female mountaineer climbingPHOTO: Samantha McMahon celebrates on the summit of Ama Dablam (Supplied: Samantha McMahon)
–  ABC NEWS
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