一步跨出生死线——法国最优秀登山家的最后时刻

KITTY猫 发表于 2009-6-23 15:03:00

让?克里斯托夫?拉法耶是他这一代人中最有天赋的登山运动员。他勇敢无畏,在没有氧气和后援的情况下独自登上了数座世界最高峰。6个月前, 8千米高的马卡鲁峰就在他眼前,可他就此销声匿迹。

在他生前最后一个清晨,让?克里斯托夫?拉法耶一觉醒来,此刻他也许是地球上最最孤独的人。他的小帐篷专为超高海拔设计,搭在马卡鲁冰封山肩的一个小山脊上,大约有25,000英尺(约7620米,译者注)高,马卡鲁是世界第五座高山。帐篷的两侧全部是硕大的岩石、积雪覆盖的峭壁和随时会发生雪崩的斜坡,顺势而下到很远处是尼泊尔喜马拉雅高山的峡谷。他的上方只有马卡鲁峰,比他所在位置大约高出3,000英尺。

他将要度过的一天换了正常人鲜有能坚持存活超过几分钟的。拉法耶作为登山运动员极具天赋,经验丰富,即便以他的标准来看,这次给自己定下的任务在现代登山运动领域几乎是史无前例的。帐篷外的温度约在零下30度左右,仍然一片漆黑,风力不大。攀登马卡鲁最高峰要用10个小时,这段路充满艰辛和危险;要攀爬布满冰雪的峭壁,经过布满裂痕的冰川和多石的悬崖,在载客喷气式飞机游弋的海拔高度呼吸稀薄的空气。此前,还从未有人在冬季登过这座山——更别说没有氧气或后援了。离开帐篷之前他又一次给妻子拨通了电话。而后,法国最优秀的登山运动员,按理说也是世界最优秀的登山运动员就销声匿迹了。

  那是在今年1月下旬,40岁的拉法耶以难度最大的方式登山。他没有绳索助手,没有行李搬运工,没有救援队。他附近没有其他的探险队,山上也没有其他人。他与人类惟一的联系方式就是一部便携式卫星电话,他每天用它给妻子和4岁的儿子打几次电话。

  拉法耶1965年出生在法国阿尔卑斯山脚下的加普。他父亲是一名狂热的业余登山运动员,收藏了一些书,这些书激励着拉法耶,使他年纪轻轻就开始登山。他很快就显示出了超凡的登山才能,在他家附近的岩石峭壁上蹚出了新的壮观的路线。

  不久,他开始攀登阿尔卑斯山脉的高山,很快就证明了自己的实力。当他重复攀登勃朗峰周围群山最难攀爬的路线时,竞争激烈的法国登山界开始注意到这颗年轻的登山新星。

  1992年,法国顶级登山运动员之一皮埃尔?贝甘提出让拉法耶去喜马拉雅山尝试在安纳布尔纳峰一条复杂而极具挑战性的新路线,此处是世界前14座高峰之一,海拔超过8千米(26,000英尺)。

  此行进展极不顺利。攀登数天之后,他们到达安纳布尔纳峰高处某个宽敞且无任何遮掩的地方,这座山几乎比勃朗峰高出一倍,这是爆发了一场风暴,两人于是决定下山。就在贝甘即将准备沿绳下滑时,人造锚突然脱落。拉法耶当时在上面眼睁睁看着经验远比自己丰富的绳索助手在绳索滑落时坠入深渊,他一直盯着贝甘的脸孔。在那种海拔高度,无论怎样摔下去通常都会没命。贝甘以及身上携带的两人使用的大量装备,沿着悬崖从高处一落至底。这样只剩下拉法耶一个人,没有食物,没有水,几乎没有什么装备,还拖着一条滑落岩石撞断的胳膊。他用了5天的时间沿着垂直的山体爬回大本营,沿途满是岩石和冰雪。

  拉法耶曾独自一人攀登阿尔卑斯山北面高大的山峰,但他并不满足,他用15天马不停蹄地连续攀爬了阿尔卑斯山的9个山峰,包括著名的艾格尔峰,从一个峰滑雪到另一个峰。拉法耶爬山并不跟随浩浩荡荡的探险队,不用绳索固定自己以便攀登和逃生,也没有携带上吨重装备的行李搬运工,他通常都是独自攀爬,几乎往往没有任何支援,当然也不用任何氧气设备。2002年,他加入一支4人组成的登山队尝试安纳布尔纳峰一条大胆得让人吃惊的新路线,此次攀爬者都是世界顶级登山运动员。其中两人中途返回了,但拉法耶和另外一名同伴继续前行。他们用了5天的时间攀爬一个刀刃式的山脊,在上面哪怕是最微弱的一阵风或是一个错误就会使他们坠入地狱。他们的力量坚持到了最后,拉法耶到达了安纳布尔纳的顶峰。他坐在悬崖边,把腿悬在空中来回摆动,而此前他攀爬的正是这面悬崖,贝甘坠崖已是10年前的事了。拉法耶为葬身于此的同伴掉下了眼泪。这就是现代登山运动中最不可思议的攀登之一。

  很难描述像拉法耶这样身体健壮并且意志坚强的人。埃德?维埃斯图尔斯是第一位攀登全世界所有8,000米以上高峰的美国登山运动员,他是拉法耶准备与之合作的为数不多的登山运动员之一。据埃德?维埃斯图尔斯所说,拉法耶身材短小,但十分健壮,动作非常迅速,绝对是个天才。就登山技术而言,他是世界上最有天赋的全能登山者。他可以攀爬任何类型的山。

  可能没人会知道拉法耶在马卡鲁山上出了什么事。有可能他刚离开帐篷,刚穿上靴子,给家里打通最后一个电话,走入寒风之中没多久就坠入了一个裂缝中。当然,他根本无望获救,周围只有黎明前一小时沉寂的高山。


  On his last morning alive, Jean Christophe Lafaille woke up perhaps the most profoundly alone man on the planet. His tiny tent, specially designed for ultra-high altitude, was perched on a small ridge at around 25,000ft on an icy shoulder of Makalu, the world's fifth largest mountain. Either side of the tent, huge rock and snow cliffs and avalanching slopes swept down to the distant valleys of the high Nepalese Himalayas. There was nothing above him except Makalu's summit, some 3,000ft higher.



  Ahead of him was a day that few normal human beings could have survived for more than a few minutes. Even by the standards of this most gifted and hardened mountaineer, the task Lafaille had set himself was almost unprecedented in modern mountaineering. Outside it was around -30℃, still dark, with a light wind. The summit of Makalu would take 10 hours of hard and dangerous climbing to reach; up steep ice slopes, through crevasse-strewn glaciers and rocky cliffs, gasping in the thin air at an altitude at which passenger jets cruise. No one had ever climbed the mountain in winter before — let alone without oxygen, or back-up. Before leaving his tent, he rang his wife again. And then the finest climber in France, arguably in the world, disappeared.



  It was late January this year and Lafaille, 40, was climbing in the hardest way possible. He had no rope mates, no porters, no rescue team. There were no other expeditions anywhere near him, and no one else on the mountain. His only link to the rest of mankind was a portable satellite telephone — which he had been using to call his wife and his four-year-old son several times a day.



  Lafaille was born in Gap, in the foothills of the French Alps, in 1965. He started climbing at a young age, inspired by the books collected by his father, a keen amateur mountaineer. He quickly proved to be an extraordinary talent, forcing new and spectacular routes on the rock cliffs near his home.



  Soon, he began to climb high mountains of the Alps, where he quickly proved himself. The fiercely competitive French mountaineering milieu began to take notice when the young upstart climber began 'repeating' some of the hardest routes in the Mont Blanc massif.



  In 1992, one of France's top mountaineers, Pierre Beghin, asked Lafaille to go to the Himalayas to attempt a complicated and extremely challenging new route on Annapurna, one of the 14 peaks in the world that are more than 8,000 metres (26,000ft) high.



  The trip went horribly wrong. After several days of climbing, high on a huge, exposed face of Annapurna, a mountain almost double the height of Mont Blanc, a storm erupted and the two men decided to descend. Beghin had just began to abseil when the artificial anchor popped out. Lafaille was watching his far more experienced rope mate from above, and looking straight into his face, when the rope slipped and Beghin fell backwards into space. Any fall at that altitude is usually fatal. Beghin, carrying the bulk of the two men's equipment, dropped the entire length of the face. Lafaille was left alone, with no food, no water and almost no equipment, and with an arm broken by rock fall. It took him five days to climb down the vertical mile or more of rock and ice to base camp.



  Not content with simply climbing the great north faces of the Alps individually, he did nine of them, including the famous Eiger, one after another without pause in 15 days, skiing from one to the next. Instead of climbing with huge expeditions, with ropes fixed to allow easy ascent and escape, and porters carrying tonnes of equipment, Lafaille often climbed alone, almost always without any support, and certainly without any oxygen. In 2002, he and a team of four climbers, all of them among the best in the world, attempted an astonishingly audacious new route on Annapurna. Two turned back, but Lafaille and a partner, pressed on. For five days they climbed along a knife-edge ridge from which the slightest wind or mistake would send them plummeting to their deaths. Their strength held out and Lafaille reached the summit of Annapurna. He sat with his legs dangling over the face he had down-climbed alone 10 years earlier, after Beghin's fall, and wept for the man who had died there. It was one of the most incredible climbs of modern mountaineering.



  It is difficult to give an impression of quite how fit and mentally strong someone like Lafaille has to be. Ed Viesturs, the first American climber to scale all the world's 8,000m peaks, was one of the few mountaineers with whom Lafaille was prepared to share a rope. According to Ed Viesturs,Lafaille was a little guy but phenomenally strong, very, very fast and absolutely gifted. He was technically the most talented all-round climber in the world. He could climb anything.



  It is unlikely that anyone will ever know what happened to Lafaille on Makalu. The probability is that he fell into a crevasse shortly after leaving his tent, not long after pulling on his boots, making a final phone call home and stepping out into the cold. There would, of course, be no hope of rescue. Just the silence of the high, high mountains an hour before dawn.


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