On the 13th of December, at 12:30, Jean-Marc Nowak reached the 6,893 meter summit.
Jean-Marc never ceases to amaze us. After celebrating his 61st birthday and planning to retire on the 31st of January, he seems to escape aging more than ever. On the 18th of December, he returned from three expeditions to Chile, where he was accompanied by a team of four friends (Bernard Becchetti, Sylvain Unia, Bruno Guerin-Marthe and André Cachat).
They set off to climb Ojos del Salado, the highest summit of the Americas. With its 6,893 meters it is also the highest volcano in the world. There he flew the flag of Monaco City Council, his employer and also his sponsor.
Facing the wind and snow situated on the western cordillera of the Andes, between Bolivia, Argentina and the Pacific Ocean, this mountain is, according to Jean-Marc Nowak – “technically easy”; except when difficult weather conditions were encountered. A wind of around 100 km/h and up to a meter of snow at the highest part of the relief – “never seen in my memory”. So, what is “easy” for the Monaco mountaineer is physical expertise for others. Jean-Marc Nowak and his teammates, mainly from the Alpine Club of Monaco, had to face temperatures of between -25 and -30 degrees, and to walk on slopes of up to 40 degrees. “In normal weather, the soil is dry. There we were covered like we were in Antarctica where it was -10 degrees. The tracks were a bit tiring because the snow was laid on sand, which is quite unstable. We advanced between 20 to 25 km per day with a 1100 meter vertical gain.” Jean-Marc Nowak likes exploring; but he appreciates the experience of discovering a country and local people even more.
“A huge natural bathtub”
“This trip was a first for me. This mountain is very far from everything. It takes several days to drive to. It is a total expatriation. The landscapes are magnificent. At 4,250 meters above the sea level, we found geothermal formations and boiling water. A natural bath with waters that have a peculiarity: one floats effortlessly in them.”
His next journey?
“Nepal, for the association Namaste, in partnership with the Nepalese cultural association of Avignon. After the April 2015 earthquake, it is necessary for us to rebuild schools with six masons, three doctors, nurses, a dentist and a farmer.” There, Nancy Dotta, president of the Monegasque association will join him and will supervise a workshop of women to develop crafts.
Long Live Adventure!
“In a month, I will be able to live my passion thoroughly.”
Yes, when others see retirement as a peaceful and tranquil moment, Jean Marc Nowak is already challenging the most ambitious projects. I am settling in Saint-Martin de Vésubie where my family will come to join me regularly. From there, I will prepare my expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic, a summit of 7,500 m in China, I’ve planned for April-May 2018, the ascent of Manaslu – 8,163 m, located in Nepal – the 8th highest peak in the world. The retreat will offer me an enormous experience. It’s going to be a real treat. And I will be happy to wear the colors of the Principality.”