In the game of high-altitude, big-wall mountaineering, the unclimbed Shark’s Fin route on the NW face of Meru (20,700 ft) lies right at the boundary of what is possible. The lower third is classic alpine snow-and-ice climbing; the middle is mixed ice and rock; and the final section is a supremely difficult, overhanging headwall. The Shark’s Fin has drawn many of the world’s top alpinists over the past 30 years, but none of them finished the route.
In 2008, The North Face® global athletes Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk traveled to the incredibly remote Garhwal Himalaya of India to attempt the test piece and nearly succeeded. The team spent 19 grueling days on the wall and encountered some of the most technical high-altitude climbing on earth in unimaginably punishing conditions only to be forced to turn back 100 meters from the summit. Haunted by their unfinished business, the team is returning to Meru in 2011 better prepared and even more determined with one goal in mind. Success on the Shark’s Fin.