In their infinite quest for unclimbed big walls, adventurers Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, Nicolas Favresse, Stephane Hanssens and filmmaker Evrard Wendenbaum traveled in September 2013 to a remote valley in the westernmost region of China. There, they found a beautiful 4000-foot vertical rock pillar. They spent 14 days with their musical instrument hanging on the mountain in order to elevate themselves to the summit of their dreams and of Kyzyl Asker topping out at over 19,000 feet. The relentless obstacle and the weather condition colder than anticipated lead to a real battle with their limits.
- 1 avril - Paris (Grand Rex) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 2 avril - Bruxelles (Collège Don Bosco, Chaussée de Stockel, 270 à 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert), Belgium
- 3 avril - Leuven, Belgium
- 4 avril - Strasbourg (UGC Ciné Cité) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 5 avril - Pau Festival Images Montagne, France
- 8 avril - Bordeaux (CGR Le Français) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 11 avril - Toulouse (Gaumont Wilson) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 15 avril - Montpellier (Cinéma Le Royal) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 16 avril - Val d’Isère (Centre des Congrès), France
- 16 avril - Salardú - Val d’Aran Festival Pyrenades, Spain
- 18 avril - Nice (Pathé Massena) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 20 avril - Saint-Etienne - Festival Curieux Voyageurs (Centre des Congrès) France
- 23 avril - Annecy (Cinéma Décavision) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 23 avril - Bolzano, Italy
- 25 avril - Mons (Face Nord), Belgium
- 26 avril - Louvain-la-neuve (Entre Ciel et Terre), Belgium
- 28 avril - Arlon, Belgium
- 29 avril - Lyon (UGC Confluence) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 6 mai - Lille (UGC Ciné Cité) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 13 mai - Nantes (Le Katorza) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
- 16 mai - Marseille (Cinéma Le Prado) - Réservations sur Montagne en scène, France
We just got news from the China Jam expedition. After two weeks black out due to technical issue with their sat phone the crew reported about their journey in China.
First of all a successful attempt to summit a big wall in the Western Kokshal Tau mountains. They stayed more than 15 days on the wall to achieve 1200 meters climb with beautiful pitches between 6a and 7c/8a. The conditions were pretty hot with snowstorm and temperature around 1°C near the summit (5700 m)…
The team also reported collateral damages: Stephane got two toes frozen at the end of the climb.
At this stage they arrived to the base camp and prepare to go back to the closest city to recover.
We expect to get more news from them in the coming days.
Like for everybody else, our holidays are over, it’s time to go back to work.
At last, after some hold-ups with customs and check points, we have finally arrived at our new home: the Chinese Base Camp (3600m). We managed to carry all our gear and food in one go! Ok we did get a little help from two camels who carried 200kg each! And three donkeys (on top of the expedition members) who also carried a fair bit of weight. It’s really beautiful here and the atmosphere is very different to any of our previous expeditions. Hopefully we will find what we are looking for. Some of us are looking for boulders, big walls and great acoustics others are looking for spiritual enlightenment, sufferfests and wisdom. It’s just so exciting to be here.
So far the team is doing really well: after arriving at base camp, Sean has a bad case of diarrhea, Nico has a bit of a sunstroke and is vomiting, Stéphane has a bad headache and Evrard has a sore back. So nothing unusual to report really.
Now we need to explore the valley to see if we can find anything attractive.
More news to come!
The Chinajam team
Just like a miracle, today everything seems to be piecing together. Finally Evrard got his visa and our bags arrived in Urumqi. Tomorrow we ll take off with a mini van, pick up Evrard in Aksu and keep driving south for the next couple days (about 1500km) until we get to the mountains!
At last the adventure is about to start! We (Sean Villanueva, Stephane Hanssens and Nicolas Favresse) have just landed in China.
It was a frustrating decision to cancel our initial plan to Pakistan in early July due to the terrorist attack. We were full of energy ready to charge in the mountains but unfortunately we had to keep the beasts in their cage a while longer. We searched hard to find a good alternative, which was very difficult, especially after having to abandon such a great project.
But finally we found a really exciting area in the Western Kokshal Tau mountains in China which is meant to have huge, untouched, granite walls. The mountains in this area rise up to almost 6000 m so the altitude will be felt and most likely there will be some snow and Ice. Our musical instruments are ready to test the acoustic of these walls;)
Our fourth team member is frenchman / Xylophone specialist Evrard Wendenbaum (unfortunately he apparently left his violin at home). He is flying straight from his previous project in Madagascar and he will be bringing a full new range of tunes to our repertoire. He will be a crucial addition to our band!
Greetings from Urumqi, China!
Donderdag 21 maart, 8 uur
Aanvang FILM 20.00u (ticket 7 euro)
Boulderen + film (12 euro)
PASTA vanaf 19.00u (5 euro)
Friday, March 22, 2013 20H
Casino Modern André
Samedi 23 mars 19H
Salle d’escladade Terres neuves
Lundi 25 mars les nuit de la montagne
Grand Rex à Paris
Jeudi 28 mars
20h, ON2 04.223 - Herestraat 49, 3000, Leuven, http://www.luak.be
20h, Cinema Rialto - Langestraat 39 Oostende, www.brosbarbier.be
20h, Country Hall d’Angleur, http://www.cabliege.org/
20h, Altitude CCM, Centre sportif Cardinal mercier, 83 ch de Mont-St-Jean, 1420 Braine-l’Alleud, www.ccmsports.be
20h, Salle d’escalade Face Nord, Chemin Chêne aux Haies, 2 à 7000 Mons, www.facenord.be
20h, Auditoire Pedro Arupe, rue Grangagnage, 5000 Namur, namur.clubalpin.be
20h15, Salle Ysaye, Place des Chasseurs Ardennais, 6700 Arlon, www.escalpades.eu
20h, Salle d’escalade Entre Ciel et Terre, Cenre sportif du Blocry, Place des Sport, 1 à 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, www.entrecieletterre.be
To be honest when we first arrived to this wall and looked at putting up a route on its right side we felt crushed by it, we felt there would be no chance for us to find a line to free and we should just find different objectives. But as we climbed our first route up an obvious line on the left side of the wall, we noticed that unlike granite, the rock here is full of horizontal holds which are impossible to see from the ground. We realized we had to look at this wall in a different perspective because anything is possible with this rock. Not to say that there are holds everywhere but just that holds can be found sometimes in the most improbable places.
When we came back to the wall with an extra load of food, suddenly one line, as improbable as it looked, stood out and then we set out for our second vertical adventure up Amuri but knowing that chances of failure would be higher than success. Even if from the ground only the first couple pitches looked more or less obvious and not so steep, the climbing was wild and adventurous right from the start. Plants, lose blocks, poor protections, wet holds and occasional visit of animals made the climbing very exciting! Between all of us we took a record of about 20 falls but thankfully the wall is so steep all you do is fly in the air. But out of all of us Sean owns the hairier ones with his 40m fall on the second pitch (see details on the attaches pictures) which resulted in some serious burns on Jean-Louis’s hands but also a few other spectacular ones with memorable nasty core shots on the double ropes. It was tricky to decide what to do with Jean-Louis fingers in order to avoid infection. So we waited 4 days extra on the ground to see how his wounds would evolve. Fortunately eventually, it improved and he managed to join us for the ride on our exploration unfortunately though without being able to climb or belay.
Here we are again, like wild animals out of the jungle, after another amazing adventure. We climbed Amuri Tepui… a second time!! This time a very improbable line….
After our first line on Amuri we retuned to the small village of Yunek to collect the rest of food we had left behind there. That’s where we finally caught up with the other team: Mason, Siebe, George and Sam, who were airing for their plane to fly out. Even though we spent 10 days hanging on the wall, not too far away from each other, it was difficult to harmonize the notes because of the distance and the speed of sound, so finally Yunek was the first time we could really JAM together, and also catch up and talk.
They told us about their ascent, the difficulties, the obstacles and the magical moments. Even though they will never hear us say it, the line they choose is amazing, obvious and (you never heard this from us) a “king line”. When they raved about their ascent obviously we were very tempted to go back and try to free climb their line. Now that they had explored the line it would be a lot easier for us to repeat it and thus leave us a lot more time to try and free climb the line (they did not manage to free the line entirely due to difficulty and lack of time). They flew away, and we returned into the bushes to have Amori to ourselves. All alone. When we returned to the wall, our vision had changed and we dared to imagine things… we set our eyes on a different line… (obviously the real king line).
We will be updating this website regularly for the next few weeks with more info and pictures!