After initial reports of their alpine-style ascent of Annapurna’s South Face, news of Stephane Benoist and Yannick Graziani was scarce. On October 24, French mountain guide Nicolas Feraud reported that the pair had reached Annapurna’s summit eight days after leaving Advance Base Camp. Today, Feraud posted an update on the climbers’ status: “The pair went down the south face. Stephane suffering from frostbite and two climbers were evacuated from the moraine to the hospital in Kathmandu.” They are expected to return to France in a few days.
On October 23, Feraud spoke with Benoist via telephone from the climbers’ 7700-meter camp. “They took time, 3 days to cross the most technical part. bivouacs were not comfortable. They slept a night without a tent, as in the Alps,” Feraud wrote. “[Stephane’s] voice was a little marked by the effort, but his determination and lucidity net appeared.” The duo’s successful summit marks the second ascent of the Beghin-Lafaille route, completed for the first time on October 9 by Ueli Steck.
[Nicolas Feraud’s posts were translated by Google. Check back on Alpinist.com for details of their climb and recovery.–Ed.]