House and Anderson started off on Sept. 1 and scaled the central pillars of the Rupal face in six days. The pair stayed to the southwest of Humar's attempted line, on a route that had less exposure and risk of avalanches but was technically more difficult. On the second day they spent 10 hours ascending just 300 meters through delicate ice-filled pillars and loose rock. The final summit push was an almost equally grueling 15-hour grind.
House and Anderson's Rupal ascent is considered one of the greatest climbs in modern Himalayan mountaineering. "It's an enormous face at high altitude. It's a hell of an undertaking. They did it in perfect style," says Christian Beckwith, editor of Alpinist magazine. Maintaining a pure Alpine style is key to House and Anderson, who see expedition climbing--with its Sherpas and bottled oxygen--as almost pointless.
"With expedition style, you make camps and stock supplies--you remove the commitment. Mountaineering is dead with that philosophy," House says. "Alpine style is the only way to keep it fair. If there's no chance of failure, there's not as much meaning when you do succeed." In other words, as long as House climbs, batteries will not be included.