In 2010 two of the world’s 50 highest mountains still remained unclaimed: Gangkhar Puensum (7570 m) and Saser Kangri II (7153m). Mark Richey, 53, and Steve Swenson, 57, joined by Freddie Wilkinson attempted Saser Kangri II, and in August of 2011 successfully established a new route they called The Old Breed (WI4 M3, 1700m), in alpine style.
On the mountain, Swenson was nearly immobilized by couching fits and chest congestion that threatened to asphyxiate him. Their trip and ascent was in jeopardy and so was Swenson’s life. The trio continued up the mountain with assurance from Swenson that he would make it. By the time they reached to summit, he had deteriorated badly and needed to be rescued. Richey and Wilkinson were able to get Swenson back to base camp where a helicopter would eventually fly him out. All three climbers were awarded the coveted Piolet d’or later that year. A short movie of their ascent and tribulations was released last month and can be rented for two-dollars from:
The Old Breed Trailer