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with Stefan Nestler

Ueli Steck fallen to death

Ueli Steck (1976-2017)

A black day for mountain sports: The great Ueli Steck has fallen to death on Everest. That was confirmed by the management of the 40-year-old. R.I.P, Ueli! First of all the official communication:

Ueli Steck was killed while trying to climb Mount Everest and the Lhotse. His family has learned of his death today. The exact circumstances are currently unknown. The family is infinitely sad and asks the media builders to refrain from speculation about the circumstances of his death due to respect for Ueli.

As soon as there are reliable findings on the causes of Uelis Steck’s death, the media will be informed. The family asks the media for understanding that they will not provide any further information at the time.

Date

30. April 2017 | 13:24

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Missing trekkers found in Nepal after 47 days

The surviving Taiwanese (l.) in a hospital in Kathmandu

Mountain rescuers in the Alps often complain about climbers or hikers, who overestimate their abilities, suddenly can not move neither forward nor back and have to be rescued from this precarious situation on the mountain. That’s what happened to a young couple from Taiwan, who were on a trekking tour in the mountains of Nepal, more precisely in Langtang, without a guide. The two had been missing for 47 days. Now rescuers found the 21-year-old man lying unconsciously in a cave at the foot of a rock, his 19-year-old girlfriend was dead. According to the Taiwanese she had died three days earlier.

Date

27. April 2017 | 16:24

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Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: “Low price, low safety”

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

“Nepalese climbers have been the shadow for foreign climbers”, says Mingma Gyalje Sherpa. “It is obvious that foreign climbers pay a lot to them for this work and I do respect it but still I feel that Nepalese climbers are not given the credit they rightfully own.” The 31-year-old is the head of the expedition operator “Dreamers Destination” and belongs to a new generation of Sherpa entrepreneurs: young, well trained, reliable and successful. Mingma is also an excellent climber. He has so far scaled eight eight-thousanders, in fall 2015 he made headlines by first climbing a difficult route via the West Face of the 6,685-meter-high Chobutse solo. One of his dreams is to climb Everest without bottled oxygen after five ascents with breathing mask. These days, he is leading a commercial expedition on Dhaugaliri. For a portrait of Mingma that was just published by the German magazine “Allmountain”, I did an interview with him of which I don’t want to deprive you.

Mingma, in the past years some western operators withdraw from Everest complaining about a price war with local operators in Nepal. Is this battle going on?

Date

27. April 2017 | 12:38

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The dream of becoming a model school

Plastering in the new rooms

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Nepal. About 9,000 people died, more than 22,000 were injured, hundreds of thousands of homes collapsed or were severely damaged and thus became uninhabitable. Many people in the most affected mountain regions are still living in shelters. In the village of Thulosirubari in Sindhupalchowk District, about 70 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu, has been a hive of construction activity over recent months. The donations for our aid project “School up!” have made it possible to start building a new school for more than 500 students, the construction is operated by the Nepalhilfe Beilngries. The old school had been so badly damaged by the earthquake that it later had had to be demolished. In recent weeks there have been temporary supply bottlenecks for constructions material, as well as a lack of water to mix concrete. Since the school ground is located on a hill, the water has to be pumped up or – if the pumps fail – even be carried up.

Date

26. April 2017 | 14:35

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Two fast men on Everest: Jornet and Steck

Kilian Jornet (r.) and Emelie Forsberg (l.) in Kathmandu

“I feel really acclimatized and strong in altitude,” said Kilian Jornet – already before he set off towards the Himalayas last weekend. As a training for his eight-thousander expedition, the speed specialist had climbed along with his Swedish girl friend Emelie Forsberg in Norway, and the day before their departure both had started at the Trofeo Mezzalama in Italy, one of the classic races for ski mountaineers in . Kilian had won second place in a team with the Swiss Martin Anthamatten and Werner Marti, Emelie had won the women’s competition along with the Swiss Jennifer Fiechter and the French Laetitia Roux. Jornet and Forsberg traveled via the Nepalese capital Kathmandu to Tibet. Within the next two weeks, they want to climb Cho Oyu, with an altitude of 8,188 meters the sixth highest mountain on earth. “If everything goes well, we could be on the summit on 7 or May,” said Emelie, for whom it is the first experience on an eight-thousander. And Kilian adds: “For me, it will be good preparation for Everest because I’ll be better acclimatized when I get there.”

Date

25. April 2017 | 19:03

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The magic 14

Three 8000ers at a glance: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu (from l. to r.)

It is only a number, but one that plays an important role in the world of high altitude climbers. Everyone who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders counts in the scene – even more if he or she has managed it without bottled oxygen. The circle is still quite exclusive: According to 8000ers.com, the website of the German Himalayan chronicler Eberhard Jurgalski, 34 climbers have completed the collection, 15 of them completely without breathing mask. This list could be extended this spring.

Date

21. April 2017 | 15:30

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Everest autumn climbers this time in spring

Kuriki (2nd from l.) in Everest Base Camp

Actually, both wanted to return to the highest mountain on earth next fall. But the Chinese put a spoke in their wheels. The authorities in Tibet will not issue any permits for Mount Everest in fall 2017. For this reason, the Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki as well as the Spaniard Kilian Jornet join the crowd of those who want to climb Everest from the Tibetan north side this spring. The 35-year-old Kuriki has already arrived in Chinese Base Camp at 5,200 meters. Kuriki has announced that he wants to climb up to 7,500 meters on the normal route. Subsequently, he wants to try again to climb through the North Face, solo and without bottled oxygen.

Date

20. April 2017 | 20:55

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Over penitents and narrow snow bridges

Ralf Dujmovits on Cholatse

“Everything has been going well so far.” Ralf Dujmovits is highly satisfied with his acclimatization tour in the Khumbu area. To prepare for Mount Everest, the 55-year-old, along with his partner Nancy Hansen from Canada, climbed the 6440-meter-high Cholatse. Last Thursday they reached the summit. The climb via the Southwest Ridge was anything but easy, Ralf writes to me: “A good part of the route above the col leads over steep to steepest penitents – very, very uncomfortable to climb.” Dujmovits believes that the climb to the highest point will soon change drastically. “The summit structure of Cholatse threatens to break apart in the next few years,” says Ralf. “There are many crevasses up to the summit. 30 meters below the highest point you have to cross a snow bridge which is still only two meters long and half a meter wide. If this also breaks, you need a ladder to get to the top.”

Date

18. April 2017 | 12:51

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Happy Easter!

I wish you all Happy Easter. And the “Picasso from the river Rhine” 😉 is confronting you with another easter riddle: Which mountain have I conjured onto the egg?

Date

15. April 2017 | 22:45

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Annapurna Northwest Face instead of Cho Oyu North Face

Annapurna Northwest Face

Time for plan B. Since China has not issued visa for Tibet this spring for climbers who have been staying in Pakistan for more than a month at a time during the past three years, the Canadian Louis Rousseau, the Briton Rick Allen, the Pole Adam Bielecki and the German Felix Berg had to re-plan. The team was surprised by the new Chinese regulation in Kathmandu. In 2015/16 Bielecki had tried unsuccessfully a winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, Felix Berg had climbed Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram in summer 2016. So the previous plan to open a new route through the North Face of Cho Oyu, located in Tibet, became impossible. The quartet was looking for an alternative destination in Nepal and found it.

Date

14. April 2017 | 18:40

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Rousseau and Co. tackle Cho Oyu North Face

Cho Oyu North Face

There is still potential for climbing highlights even on the “top sellers” among the eight-thousanders. This applies not only to Mount Everest (up to now more than 7500 summit successes), but also to the second most climbed eight-thousander, Cho Oyu (more than 3500 summit successes). This spring, an international team of four, led by Louis Rousseau, plans to open a new route through the North Face of the sixth highest mountain on earth, in Alpine style. For the 40-year-old Canadian, it’s a comeback on the eight-thousanders after a break of five years. In 2012, Rousseau had been searching on Gasherbrum I for his longtime climbing partner Gerfried Göschl from Austria, who had remained missing after a winter attempt on the mountain in Pakistan. In 2011, Rousseau had scaled Gasherbrum II, his third eight-thousander after Broad Peak (in 2007) and Nanga Parbat (new route along with Göschl in 2009).

Date

13. April 2017 | 16:09

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China reacts allergically to Pakistan visas

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

Nasty surprise for some climbers heading for destinations in Tibet this spring: I have been confirmed by several sides that China currently does not allow tourists to enter Tibet in case that there is a visa for Pakistan issued in the past three years in their passport. Especially professional climbers, who like to tackle the impressive mountains of the Karakoram in summer, run the risk of not obtaining a visa for Tibet. Some mountaineers are stuck in the Nepali capital Kathmandu, because they have learned too late about this new regulation. So if you want to travel to Cho Oyu, Shishapangma or the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest and do not want to experience a bad surprise, take a look at your passport!

Date

12. April 2017 | 15:13

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In four weeks to the summit of Everest?

North side of Everest

Rapid is not enough, it should be as fast as a flash. This could describe the concept of the Austrian expedition operator Lukas Furtenbach: for eight-thousander aspirants with a big pile of money, but little time budget. After the US operator Alpenglow had halved the duration of an Everest expedition with their “Rapid Ascent Expedition” from about 70 days to 34 days, the 39-year-old Tyrolean wants to go one step further next year. In spring 2018, the “Everest Flash Expedition” of Furtenbach Adventures on the Tibetan north side of the mountain is to last a maximum of four weeks.

Date

11. April 2017 | 23:53

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Moro and Lunger plan Kangchenjunga traverse

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro

“It’s a wonderful project,” says Simone Moro. “It’s the highest traverse possible on the planet.” Via Facebook live from Kathmandu, the 49-year-old Italian and his 30-year-old South Tyrolean climbing partner Tamara Lunger yesterday revealed the secret of their new project. And that’s really a tough job. This spring, Simone and Tamara want to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif which are higher than 8,000 meters: from the West Summit (8,505 meters) to the Main Summit (8,586 meters), then across the Central Summit  (8,473 meters) to the South Summit (8,476 meters). The whole thing in Alpine style, means without high camps, without Sherpa support and without bottled oxygen. In 1989 a Russian expedition had succeeded the traverse for the first time, however, using breathing masks.

Date

7. April 2017 | 13:04

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Mountain bikers and runners needed for study on Kibo

Kilimanjaro

According to the statistics, Kilimanjaro is one of the top mountain destinations in the world. Every year tens of thousands of people tackle the highest mountain in Africa. In 2016, reportedly, more than 30,000 visitors have reached the highest point at 5,895 meters. The “Kibo” is said to be a trekking mountain, several easy routes lead to the summit. Only during the rainy seasons in April/May and October/November the tourist flow decreases a bit. Many operators offer hikes to the roof of Africa as a week trip – this short stay also ensures that the mountain is so popular. However, it is less known that every year several hundred tourists suffering seriously from high altitude sickness have to be rescued from Kilimanjaro, and about two dozens of them die, in some years even significantly more.

Date

7. April 2017 | 9:21

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