Miha Valic stands atop Les Droites, with Mont Blanc in the background, on April 7, 2007, having completed his 82nd 4,000-meter peak in 102 days. Photo by Blaz Grapar.
The tiny nation of Slovenia has lost its second great climber in 2008 to a Himalayan accident. Miha Valic, 29, fell and was killed while descending 8,201-meter Cho Oyu.
Valic balanced 5.14a rock-climbing skills—he climbed Free Rider (5.12d) on El Capitan in 2003—with all-around alpine prowess. He and partners made the first alpine-style ascent of Eternal Flame on Nameless Tower in Pakistan in 2004; the first repeat of Ensueño on Fitz Roy in Pakistan, also in alpine style, in 2006; and the first ascent of the southwest face of Pathibara (23,425 feet) in Nepal in 2007. In this country, he was perhaps most famous for his 102-day odyssey through the Alps in 2006 and 2007, in which he climbed all 82 of the Alps’ 4,000-meter peaks in winter conditions, alone and with various partners.
In late summer this year, the superb Slovenian alpinist Pavle Kozjek died on 23,898-foot Mustagh Tower in Pakistan when he fell from a bivouac site at around 22,650 feet, while attempting a new route on the northeast face
Date of Accident: October 5, 2008
Source: Slovenian Press Agency, American Alpine Journal, Intotherocks.splinder.com, Urban Golob