CONQUERING GIANT OF THE NATURE—— CHINESE YOUNG MOUNTAINEER GU GU
Mountaineer Gu Gu
Gu Gu has climbed tens of high-altitude snow mountains and big wall routes in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Shaanxi as well as in France and the United States etc., and became the first Chinese mountaineer peaking Mount Potala in Sichuan, big wall of Mount Shark and El Capitan in Yosemite of America through Salath Wall. He is also the first one to climb the south peak of Huashan Mountain along the big wall route “High tide or low tide”.
In terms of climbing, Gu Gu said: “Focusing on conquering the challenges emerging during climbing brings me the strongest self-identification and sense of accomplishment. Climbing is the way of life I love most.”
TEN YEARS OF CLIMBING AND REPUTATION
Gu Gu has had numerous honors in his climbing life:
Since 2006, he has climbed ice and coached for ice-climbing in Shuangqiao Valley in Sichuan every year and has conquered successfully the representative ice wall routes in the valley such as the “Saliva of Dragon” and “Celestial Stairways”;
In 2007, he received the Best Accomplishment of Climbing of China's Golden Rhino Awards；
Gu Gu climbing rocks
During 2010 and 2012, Gu Gu went to the Alps in France to learn and communicate with international climbing guides;
In 2012, 2014 and 2015, he was nominated for the Best Accomplishment of Climbing of China's Golden Rhino Awards；
In 2015, he went to South Korea for ice-climbing exchange and learning and conquered successfully the over 300 meters WI5 ice wall route of Towangseong, which is the most representative one in South Korea;
In June, 2016, Gu Gu, as the first Chinese, peaked Matterhorn in Switzerland along the east wall.
PEAKING MATTERHORN AS THE HISTORY MAKER
As a symbol of Switzerland that the country takes pride in, Matterhorn enjoys the fame of Giant of the Nature. The huge pillar of Matterhorn props up the sky in a special quadrihedron pose, making it the most representative peak of the Alps. In the rosy dawn and glowing sunset, the perpetual snow on the mountain reflects metallic luster. As the last main peak of the Alps conquered by human, the start of the north wall of Matterhorn is a pretty mature route for climbers, while it turns out much more difficult on the upside of the firn basin, which requires more experience when selecting the route. Besides, the mountaineer should have a strong judgment to act according to the circumstances because of the frequent rock-fall and fine differences of the details.
Giant of the Nature: Matterhorn
However, before Gu Gu, the number of mountaineers from Mainland China conquering Matterhorn was zero.
Gu Gu encountered consecutive harsh weather such as rain in the town and snow in the mountain area when he was in Chamonix of France preparing for climbing Matterhorn in late May, 2016. Due to the inappropriate weather, he once had to do training indoors in the climbing gym. The time to climb Matterhorn had to be postponed again and again.
The route Gu Gu took: East Wall - Shoulder - Ridge
After analyzing the condition of routes, Gu Gu and his partner Claude-Alain decided to change the former north-wall plan, because the serious condition of the snow and consecutive high temperature (just reaching 0ºC at the altitude of 4500 meters) make it far more dangerous to climb along the north wall.
Just a few days before he was about to returning to China, he got the news that there would be a short period of good weather in the Matterhorn region, which overjoyed Gu Gu and his partners. They rushed to Zermatt in Switzerland right away.
Gu Gu and his partner Claude-Alain
Because of the sudden temperature rise in the Alps during the daytime, Gu Gu and his partner could only climb before dawn, utilizing the relatively better snow condition to reach the peak quickly. The altitude difference of the whole snow slope is about 800 meters and some of the short-distance mixed terrain had no protections for the mountaineers. There are some protections in the ridge mixed route after the snow slope, but Gu Gu and his partner chose to march synchronously.
At about 8 a.m. local time, Gu Gu and his partners conquered Matterhorn, having the whole Switzerland within their view at the top of the mount.
Gu Gu and his partners at the top of Matterhorn
When being asked about the feeling of climbing Matterhorn, Gu Gu said: “It was a pity that we did not climb along the north wall, but it was also fortunate for us in terms of safety. The weather of the Alps this year has been fluctuating heavily with frequent snow slides. Yesterday an old guide in Chamonix was killed in the collapse of snow cornice. After long time of training and waiting, it was both hard and fortunate for us to seize the last opportunity to finish climbing just two days before our returning to China considering the inappropriate weather.”