Chantal Mauduit


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Sport climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 29, 2015 - 10:54am PT

Chantal Mauduit

Born in Paris, she arrived in the French Alps at age five and started climbing at the age of 15. After several difficult routes in the Alps, she focused her attention on the Andes, and then the Himalayas, where she climbed K2 (1992; fourth woman overall), Shisha Pangma (1993), Cho Oyu (1993), Lhotse (1996; first woman solo), Manaslu (1996), and Gasherbrum II (1997), all without supplemental oxygen.

US climber Ed Viesturs refers to Mauduit as "the talented French climber" and calls her a friend.

Along with her Sherpa partner Ang Tsering, she was killed at Camp II on Dhaulagiri on May 11, 1998 while asleep in their tent.

In honor of her generosity, her friends and family created a foundation to help needy Nepalese children, especially girls and those in need of schooling: The Association Chantal Mauduit Namasté. Created by the Association, the Chantal Mauduit School in Kathmandu now enrolls 200 children.

Tous ces sommets himalayens ont été réalisés sans l'apport d'oxygène artificiel.
 K2 (8 611 m), le 3 août 1992.
 Shishapangma (8 046 m), par la face sud, le 4 octobre 1993.
 Cho Oyu (8 201 m), le 31 octobre 1993.
 Lhotse (8 516 m), en solitaire, le 10 mai 1996 (première féminine).
 Manaslu (8 163 m), en solitaire, le 24 mai 1996.
 Gasherbrum II (8 035 m), le 17 juillet 1997.


Mauduit needed to be rescued by Ed Viesturs and Scott Fischer on descent from K2 in 1992, Viesturs and Fischer gave up their own summit attempt of K2 at the time in order to get Mauduit, who had become snow blind, to safety. According to Viesturs, initially Mauduit did not mention the salvation. Actually they entered into a relationship before she left the Base Camp of K2 and later climbed together when Viesturs was in Chamonix. In his account of the 1996 Everest disaster Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer quotes Mauduit as grateful for the 1992 rescue and as mourning the death of Scott Fischer who she also deemed a friend.

After collapsing during a failed summit attempt on Mount Everest in 1995, Mauduit was carried off the mountain by other climbers. Some climbers, again including Viesturs, perceived her as ungrateful for never acknowledging the lifesaving assistance that she had been given. She was also accused of not pulling her weight on climbing expeditions, leaving it to others to fix ropes on difficult sections of mountain or stock higher camps with food and other provisions, and then taking advantage of their work.

In the book "No Shortcuts to the Top" Viesturs tells about the discovery of Mauduit's and her Sherpa partner's body in the tent at Camp II of Dhaulagiri. Viesturs writes that initially he was uncertain about the real cause of death, suggesting possible other causes, but then recognises that it was possible that a rockfall or ice had broken the neck of the two climbers. Viesturs was on Dhaulagiri at the time of Mauduit's death, but had no first hand knowledge about how Mauduit died. Chantal Mauduit's body was returned to France and the autopsy concluded that the cause of death was a broken neck. Frederique Delrieu, a climbing companion of both Viesturs and Mauduit, saw Mauduit's body first-hand and confirmed that she had a broken neck.

Interview Chantal Mauduit
[Click to View YouTube Video]

[Click to View YouTube Video]

SAVAGE SUMMIT The True Stories of the First Five Women Who Climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain. By Jennifer Jordan. Illustrated. 303 pp. William Morrow. $24.95.

"GREAT things are done when men and mountains meet," William Blake wrote. But when women and mountains meet, the results are far more complicated, to judge by Jennifer Jordan's account of the first five women to climb to the top of K2. As if cursed by the world's second-highest mountain, they all died, three while on descent, two while later climbing other peaks. Jordan highlights not only the dangers, but also the sexism, disregard for basic decency and narcissism that plague the world of high-altitude alpinism.

But if the time these women spent in the "death zone" was tough, it merely mirrored life in thicker air. The revelation in "Savage Summit" comes not from the women's dramatic successes and failures, but from the sad, lonely lives that propelled them to climb and the misunderstanding and ill will heaped on them by others.

The author, a writer and radio and documentary producer, was drawn to the grim statistics on K2, in Pakistan's Karakoram range. Why were women so much more likely than men to die on its slopes -- especially since women have a slightly lower death rate than men on most other peaks higher than 8,000 meters (over 26,000 feet)? Did discrimination and pressure to prove themselves lead them to take chances they shouldn't have? Did male partners browbeat them? Were they weaker, less experienced? The answer seems to include all of the above.

If Jordan has an ax to grind (she admits she was spurred on by the news media's unfair treatment of Sandy Hill Pittman, the socialite who had to be carried for a time while on Mount Everest in 1996), it recedes as the stories of these women take shape.

Consider Wanda Rutkiewicz, one of the most accomplished climbers of all time. "The pretty brunette who looked like a Hollywood starlet" was an ox. She once hiked for a week to K2's base camp on crutches. Setting a record for women, she climbed eight of the world's 14 peaks over 8,000 meters, including K2 in 1986. But with two failed marriages, a dead third husband and few friends, she grew embittered. Despite, or maybe because of, her awesome skill, she suffered hostility and sabotage at the hands of male teammates. One apparently stole her sleeping bag on Everest, while others abandoned her on Annapurna.

Perhaps most savagely, Rutkiewicz's male teammates on Annapurna publicly doubted that she had reached the top, alone and injured, until her film proved it. That same venom infected the claim of Chantal Mauduit on Lhotse. Without photographic evidence, she quickly learned who her many enemies were. A French climber renowned for her beauty and sexual appetite, Mauduit reached the top of K2 in 1992.

Men were obsessed with her. One scorned lover and fellow climber called her a "black widow." Her achievements were derided because she used Sherpas -- as do many climbers -- to help carry equipment. It didn't help her cause that she occasionally climbed with a stuffed animal. She died in 1998 when she was struck by falling ice on what would have been her seventh 8,000-meter peak.

Florence Williams

Sport climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2016 - 11:14am PT

Soirée HOMMAGE à Chantal Mauduit - Samedi 16 avril à 18h à l'espace Guérin de Chamonix:
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