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with Stefan Nestler

Mackiewicz wants to return to Nanga Parbat

Tomasz Mackiewicz

Tomek’s love for Nanga Parbat almost verges on mania. Six winters in a row, from 2011 to 2016, the “Naked Mountain” in Pakistan dismissed Tomasz Mackiewicz. But the 42-year-old climber from Poland just does not give up. He wants to make his way to Nanga Parbat for the seventh time this winter – if he is able to finance the expedition. Tomek has again launched a crowdfunding campaign on the internet. “Money is always a problem,” Mackiewicz writes to me. “I’am poor.”

Date

18. November 2017 | 17:40

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Vote for Everest in space

Mount Everest

If you want, there will soon be a Chomolungma/Sagarmatha in outer space as well. The Tibetan and Nepalese names of the highest mountain in the world are in common on a NASA shortlist. The American space agency is looking for a nickname for an object in space that now bears the unadorned name “2014 MU69”. At the beginning of 2019, the NASA space probe “New Horizons” will fly past the object at a distance of about 3,000 kilometers, sending data to earth.

Date

15. November 2017 | 17:47

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Kammerlander: Peace with Manaslu

Hans Kammerlander on Manaslu

That’s it. Hans Kammerlander closes the book Manaslu. “I had a nice, very good time here on this mountain. That was worth it,” said the 60-year-old South Tyrolean, after he and his North Tyrolean team partner Stephan Keck had decided last weekend to abandon their late fall expedition to the eighth highest mountain in the world (8,163 m). “I have made peace with Manaslu. Above all, I’ve finished this part of my way. That was what I had planned. It was never really about the summit itself. That would have been a highlight at best.”

Date

15. November 2017 | 11:11

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Valery Rozov killed in an accident on Ama Dablam

Valery Rozov (1964-2017)

One of the world’s most famous base jumpers is dead. Russian media report that Valery Rozov was killed in a wingsuit flight from the 6,814-meter-high Ama Dablam near Mount Everest. The exact circumstances are not yet known. Valery was 52 years old. Rozov had made headlines worldwide with his jumps from Himalayan mountains in recent years.

Date

11. November 2017 | 22:38

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Spectacular first ascent on Cerro Kishtwar

In the Northwest Face

In the pictures, it almost seems like they were climbing on the legendary granite walls of El Capitan – were it not for the snow and the chilled faces. In mid-October, the two Swiss Stephan Siegrist and Julian Zanker and the German Thomas Huber first climbed the central Northwest Face of the 6,150-meter-high Cerro Kishtwar in the Indian part of the crisis region Kashmir. The three top climbers needed two attempts before reaching the summit on 14 October. It was only the fourth ascent of the remote mountain. Overall, the trio spent ten days in the extremely steep, partially overhanging wall – three days on the first attempt, seven on their successful second one.

Date

10. November 2017 | 9:48

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First summit attempt on Lhotse failed

High up in the Lhotse South Face

Once again, the Lhotse South Face in Nepal was a too hard nut to crack. A first summit attempt of the South Korean Sung Taek Hong and the Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga in early November ended in Camp 4 at 8,250 meters. This is what Kyu-po Pyun, spokesman of the expedition, writes to me. Hong and his team entered the wall on 29 October. The South Korean had hoped that the sun and wind would have removed the snow out of the wall. Instead, according to Pyun, it was unexpectedly snowy on 30 and 31 October so that the climbers first had to free the ropes that they had fixed during the previous ascent from snow and ice. The team therefore made slow progress, the work tired them. Then the next setback: The tents in Camp 2 (at 7,200 m) and Camp 3 (7800 m) were ripped, the poles broken, the food and gas cartridges which they had deposited there before were blown off the mountain.

Date

9. November 2017 | 17:43

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Piolet d’Or for two Brits and three Russians

Summit selfie of Ramsden (l.)  and Bullock (r.)

There will be a celebration tonight in Grenoble – with Golden Ice Axes.  In a special ceremony in the town in the French Alps, this year’s winners will receive the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of Mountaineers”. A high-grade jury, including German top climber Thomas Huber, selected two expedition teams for the prestigious award this spring. The two Britons Paul Ramsden and Nick Bullock are honored for their first ascent of the North Face of the 7,046-meter-high Nyainqentangla South East in Tibet. The wall “was almost impossible to describe without using superlatives,” Nick Bullock wrote on his website after the expedition in fall 2016. “It was a dream, it had runnels, ice, fields of snow, arêtes – the face twisted and turned in some warped massive monster Matterhorn way”. Nick called the face a “mouth-puckering 1600 m”. It took Ramsden and Bullock five days to climb the wall.

Date

8. November 2017 | 15:13

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Russians make first ascent of Phungi

Ascent (red) and descent route (green)

Who says that there are no playgrounds for top climbers in the Himalayas anymore? Yury Koshelenko and Aleksei Lonchinskii have erased a blank spot on the map of the six-thousanders. 0n 28 October the two Russians succeeded the first ascent of the 6,538-meter-high Phungi, located west of the eight-thousander Manaslu in Nepal. The 54-year-old Koshelenko and  Lonchinskii, aged 35, climbed on a rather direct route through the about  1,500-meter-high Southeast Face of the mountain. It took them three days for the ascent in Alpine style and two more days for the descent on a different route.

Date

6. November 2017 | 17:42

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Uluru banned for climbing from 2019

Uluru, holy mountain of the Aborigines

The holy mountain of the Aborigines will become a forbidden one. From 26 October 2019, Uluru, Australia’s most famous mountain, can no longer be climbed. “It’s an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland,” said Sammy Wilson, chairman of the National Park Board, himself an Anangu. These local Aborigines have been living near Uluru for at least 30,000 years. The striking, 863-meter-high monolith, formerly also known as Ayers Rock, has a great spiritual significance for the indigenous people of Australia. Legends from the mythical dreamtime of the Aborigines surround the mountain Uluru. Numerous places on the huge rock, which is shimmering red because of the high iron content, are sacred to the Anangu and is neither allowed to be entered nor photographed.

Date

3. November 2017 | 0:59

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Biogas from Everest faeces

This is where the biogas plant is to be built

There are things that stink to high heaven – quite literally. For example, if up to 1000 climbers, high altitude porters, cooks, kitchen helpers and other staff relieve themselves for two months during the spring season in the base camp on the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest. The number of 12,000 kilograms of faeces has been reported for years, which seems to me rather low. The removal of the human waste from Everest Base Camp has been regulated for a long time, in contrast to the faecal problem in the high camps. The excrements from the toilet tents of the expeditions are collected in barrels and carried downwards by so-called “shit porters” – until 2014 without exception to Gorak Shep, the next small settlement, located  about five kilometers from the base camp, now also further down the valley. There the faeces have been tipped into pits thus posing a great danger to the drinking water. The International Climbing and Moutaineering Association (UIAA) has now awarded an environmental protection project which could make an important contribution to tackling the problem.

Date

28. October 2017 | 14:59

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Simone Moro turns 50: “I’m still alive”

Simone Moro

It does not hurt more than usual. I can say that from my own experience. It is rather a mental challenge to realize that the first 50 years are over and the second half of life has definitely begun. Time to take stock. This Friday, Simone Moro celebrates his 50th birthday. The Italian can already be more than satisfied with his career as a high-altitude climber. No one else besides Simone has four winter first ascents of eight-thousanders on his account.

In 2005, Moro summited along with the Polish climber Piotr Morawski the 8027-meter-high Shishapangma for the first time in the cold season. Three other first winter ascents followed: In 2009 with the native Kazakh Denis Urubko on Makalu (8,485 m), in 2011 with Urubko and the American Cory Richards on Gasherbrum II (8,034 m) and in 2016 with the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” on Nanga Parbat (8,125 m). Simone did all these eight-thousander climbs without bottled oxygen. Last spring, Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger had planned to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif, but had to turn back without having reached a single summit. Two attempts ended at 7,200 meters, because Simone suffered from stomach ache. Moro is married to the South Tyrolean climber Barbara Zwerger and has a 19-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son. Simone has also earned his merits as a rescue helicopter pilot in the Himalayas.

Simone, half a century in your legs, how does that feel?

Date

26. October 2017 | 11:25

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Lhotse summit push scheduled for the end of October

Sung Taek Hong on ascent to Camp 4

Shaken but prepared for the summit attempt – this is how the state of the team of Sung Taek Hong can be described. The 50-year-old South Korean, his 49-year-old Spanish climbing partner Jorge Egocheaga and their Sherpa team are currently recovering in the base camp at the foot of Lhotse from their last ascent into the South Face of the fourth highest mountain on earth. As reported previously, they had pitched Camp 3 at 7,800 meters and Camp 4 at 8250 meters. During the ascent, Furba Wangyal Sherpa and Phurba Sherpa had been slightly injured by rockfall near Camp 2. They left the base camp to be treated. “Thankfully they said it isn’t too serious,” the team informed on their website.

Date

24. October 2017 | 15:04

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New route through Nuptse South Face

The “Mustache Gang”: Degoulet, Guigonnet, Millerioux (from l. to r.)

The “Mustache Gang” has struck in Nepal. The French climbers Helias Millerioux, Frederic Degoulet and Benjamin Guigonnet, who call themselves “Le Gang des Mustaches”, opened in Alpine style a new route through the South Face of Nuptse. “Jippie, it’s done! They did it!”, the Base Camp team of the trio posted yesterday on Facebook, adding that the three climbers had reached the 7,742-meter-high summit. They did not mean the 7861-meter high Nuptse I, but Nuptse Nup II, also called Nuptse Northwest. Helias, Frederic and Benjamin had entered their route last Friday. After six nights in the wall they reached the highest point.

Date

20. October 2017 | 15:18

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High up in the Lhotse South Face

Lhotse South Face

The most exciting eight-thousander expedition this fall is in the probably decisive phase. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the South Korean Sung Taek Hong and the Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga reached Camp IV at 8,250 meters on the Lhotse South Face on Wednesday. They planned to pitch another camp at 8,400 meters before heading to the highest point at 8,516 meters. (see the video below).

Date

20. October 2017 | 11:04

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Kobusch, first ascender of Nangpai Gosum II: “Very difficult”

Kobusch’s route on Nangpai Gosum II

“The feeling was more than overwhelming to stand in a place that no one ever entered before me,” writes Jost Kobusch about his first ascent of the 7296-meter-high Nangpai Gosum II in the east of Nepal. As reported, the 25-year-old German had scaled the till then fourth-highest unclimbed mountain on earth two weeks ago. “Such ascents are still pure, real alpinism,” Jost writes to me. “This is exactly the direction I want to take – because a solo on a route with other climbers is not a real solo. I would like to enjoy alpinism in its purest form. For me, this is the maximum of minimalist mountaineering.” In the meantime, Kobusch has also given details of his route, which he graded to me as “TD”, which means “very difficult” (in the International French Adjectival System (IFAS) ,TD stands for “Tres Difficile”, with sustained snow and ice at an angle of 65-80 degrees and rock climbing at grade V and VI). He was en route with a very small team: the Nepali cook Ngima, kitchen helper Phurba and cameraman Raphael Schardt, who, according to Jost, only joined him once on the way to the Advanced Basce Camp (ABC) at the beginning of the expedition, later only filming with a large telephoto lens from the Base Camp.

Date

17. October 2017 | 15:17

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