“All good here in Manali. Sersank ticked. Five days to climb the north buttress and an eight day round trip from base camp. Absolutely brilliant. Should be home on 14th, so more info then.”
This is the message sent by climbers Mick Fowler and Vic Saunders to expedition sponsors Berghaus announcing that they'd successfully climbed Sersank in the Himalayas.
Prior to embarking on their ascent of Sersank, Mick and Vic last climbed together in 1987. They were regular climbing partners in the 1980s when both men lived in London, and became well known in mountaineering circles for completing many challenging Scottish winter routes, including Shield Direct on Ben Nevis, which was the first to be graded VI in a Scottish guide book. Fowler and Saunders also explored the Himalaya and their last climb together was the first ascent of the Golden Pillar of Spantik (Pakistan) in 1987, before they went their separate ways.
After the Spantik climb, Saunders gave up his job as an architect and became a mountain guide in Chamonix (and around the world). Fowler stuck with the tax office and moved to Nottingham with a specialist department, fitting his climbing in around full-time work commitments and embarking on a series of successful Himalayan climbs and first ascents with other climbers.
In 2015, Eric Vola (a mountaineer and interpreter in Chamonix) translated sections of books by Fowler and Saunders, merging their work to produce ‘Les Tribulations de Mick et Vic.’ The book was published in France and went on to win the Grand Prix at the Passy Book Festival.
Speaking before leaving for Sersank, Mick commented: “Working with Eric on the book brought Vic and I back together again and reminded us that we haven’t climbed as a team for far too long. That sowed the seeds for this year’s Himalayan reunion trip and we are both looking forward to this latest adventure with great anticipation. Attempting a first ascent in a remote location with an old friend – what’s not to get excited about?”
Full details will follow once Mick is back in the UK. You can read Mick’s 10 day outline plan for the climb on the Berghaus website here.