Speed Climbing the 8000m Peaks by Marc Batard

After most of the high peaks in the Himalaya had been climbed, the quest to climb the mountain at the fastest speed emerged as another challenge for mountaineers. Speed climbers typically take enormous risks in order to attain speed, often bypassing several time-consuming safety precautions, such as belaying and placing protection. Marc Batard, a French climbing guide, is considered to be amongst the first and foremost speed climbers of the Himalayan peaks.

In 1988, Batard climbed solo in one day (after camps were set up) from the Base Camp (4950m) to the summit of Makalu (8463m), reaching the top on 27 April in 19 hours 45 minutes time. Later in the year, Batard climbed to the summit of Cho Oyu (8201m) in 21 hours, setting out from Base Camp at 5700m and reaching the top on 1 September, and returned to Base Camp 29 hours after starting out. Batard followed this up by climbing from the Base Camp of Everest at 5350m to its summit at 8848m on 26 September via the South Col route without the use of supplemental oxygen in 22 hours 29 minutes, a record which stood unbroken for the next 10 years. In his talk, Batard shares his experiences of these and other notable speed climbs that he has done over the years.

In recent years, the world-renowned mountain climber set aside his high-mountain quest, turning to his childhood interest in painting, and has since painted close to one hundred paintings. He has also written an autobiographical novel "La fièvre des sommets".

Gulmohar Hall, India Habit Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 7 to 8 pm, Friday, 7th March 2014

For more details, please contact Maninder Kohli, Honorary Local Secretary, The Himalayan Club, Delhi at 9810009564