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with Stefan Nestler

Instant expedition to Cho Oyu

Upper slopes on Cho Oyu

Upper slopes on Cho Oyu

Who will stop the grey gentleman? The time-thieves who are wreaking havoc in German writer Michael Ende’s  novel “Momo” seem to have invaded the Himalayas. Western operators have noticed over the past few years that the chance to sell expeditions is the higher, the shorter the trips to Asia last. There are not too many employers who approve a two-month holiday application of an employee who wants to go to an eight-thousander expedition.

Date

24. September 2016 | 13:28

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Dorjee Lama Sherpa is dead

Dorjee Lama Sherpa

Dorjee Lama Sherpa

A landslide in the trekking area around the eight-thousander Manaslu has killed three Nepalese and a Spanish tourist yesterday, the authorities said. Six other members of the trekking group were seriously injured in the accident in Gorkha District. Among the dead is Dorjee Lama Sherpa, a well-known mountaineer in Nepal. The 35-year-old was the President of the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association (NNMGA).

Date

23. September 2016 | 10:21

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Shishapangma, the last take!

Shishapangma

Shishapangma

A chewing gum is not getting better by chewing it endlessly. There must come a time to spit it out. Stories are a similar ballgame. At a certain moment everything has been devoured a 1000 times. Then you should have the courage to draw a line under it before it becomes a never ending story, which is still only annoying. This will be my last blog post on the avalanche on Shishapangma which happened on next Saturday, exactly two years ago. Maybe not yet everything is said, but in my view it’s enough to close the chapter – and hopefully learn from it.

Date

22. September 2016 | 15:41

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Billi Bierling on Cho Oyu: 3 questions, 3 answers

Billi in Tibet

Billi in Tibet

Anyone who has been on expedtion in Nepal more than once should have met her. Billi Bierling has been working as an assistent to Elizabeth Hawley, the legendary chronicler of mountaineering in the Himalayas, for many years. The meanwhile 92-year-old American is regarding Billi as her successor as leader of the Himalayan Database. What many people don’t know: the 49-year-old German does not only visit arriving and departing expedition members in the hotels of Kathmandu to interview them for the chronicle but is an ambitious high altitude mountaineer herself. She has climbed four eight-thousanders so far: in 2009 Mount Everest, in 2011 Lhotse and Manaslu (she reached this summit without bottled oxygen) and in 2014 Makalu. This fall she is tackling the 8188-meter-high Cho Oyu in Tibet. “I have chosen Cho Oyu for this year because I was here eleven years ago and reached just Camp 2 (at 7,200 meters). It was my first eight-thousander, and at that time I was convinced that I am not strong enough for such high mountains“, Billi writes to me. “Now I’m here again, and I really hope that the sixth highest mountain on earth will accept me this time. And like on Manaslu, I would like to reach the summit without supplemental oxygen.”

Billi, Cho Oyu might be your fifth eight-thousander. In preparation for expedition you did hundreds of kilometers mountain running. How high do you estimate your chance of success?

Date

21. September 2016 | 10:21

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Polish K 2 winter expedition obviously postponed

K 2

K 2

The K 2 will probably remain for another year the only eight-thousander that has not been climbed in winter so far. The Polish expedition to the second highest mountain in the world, originally planned for next winter, will take place only in 2017/2018, reports “Taternik”, the journal of the Polish Mountaineering Association PZA. The time to prepare the expedition logistically had run short. After all, the financing by two state-owned companies is in place now, says “Taternik”. In early September, the designated expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki had mentioned in an interview with Polish radio that there was still a gap of 700,000 Zloty (160,000 Euro) in the expedition budget and that time was running short to close it.

Date

20. September 2016 | 19:52

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Huge ice avalanche in Tibet

After the huge ice avalanche

After the huge ice avalanche

This summer a mega ice avalanche has swept down on the Tibetan plateau. In the Aru Range in northwestern Tibet a whole glacier tongue broke off and tumbled down into the valley. Scientists say it was one of the largest ice avalanches ever recorded. According to the Chinese authorities this natural event, which already occurred on 17 July, killed nine Tibetan herders. More than 350 sheep and 110 yaks were buried under the ice and rock masses. The American space agency NASA now published satellite images which show the dimension: The ice covered an area of ten square kilometers, the lake down in the valley was colored white and the debris piled up 30 meters in some places. The cause of the collapse is still unclear. “Climate change is causing more glacial hazards through mechanisms we do not fully understand,” said the Chinese glaciologist Tian Lide. “There is an urgent need for more monitoring and research efforts, especially in populated areas in high mountains.”

I called the Swiss scientist Samuel Nussbaumer. The 35-year-old glaciologist is working for the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) in Zurich, which is observing and analyzing the fluctuation of glaciers worldwide.

Date

16. September 2016 | 12:54

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Jornet abandons his Everest expedition

Kilian Jornet

Kilian Jornet

I was right on track with my feeling yesterday: The Spanish climber Kilian Jornet gives up due to the snow masses on Everest. The 28-year-old announces that he will return from the highest mountain on earth without having climbed it. Bad weather conditions forced him to abandon his plan to speed climb Everest via the North Face, says Jornet: “During the first few weeks we were acclimatising well and the conditions were good. However, when we were getting ready to prepare the attempt the weather began to change. There were some heavy snow storms and a large accumulation of snow. As a result, although we were in good physical shape, there was a high risk of avalanches and in the absence of good safety conditions it was impossible to climb.”  

Date

15. September 2016 | 15:37

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Snowy Everest

Everest North Face (now)

Everest North Face (now)

I know this view. But how different is Mount Everest looking now this fall. The Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has pitched his Advanced Base Camp (ABC) exactly where our tents stood eleven years ago. In spring 2005, I accompanied the Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, the German Ralf Dujmovits and the Japanese Hirotaka Takeuchi to Everest North Face and reported from ABC at 5,500 meters on DW Radio and the Internet on the progress of the expedition.

Date

15. September 2016 | 9:58

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Mourning for US climbers Dempster and Adamson

Kyle Dempster (l.) and Scott Adamson

Kyle Dempster (l.) and Scott Adamson

Thomas Huber‘s new Karakoram adventure began with a rescue mission. The German top climber’s exact local knowledge on the Ogre (also called Baintha Brakk) was in demand. About a week ago (I report on it only now because I was on holiday in the Alps at that time) the 49-year-old was picked up by a Pakistani rescue helicopter to search along with the crew for the missing Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson. In vain. No sign of the Americans. In the end the search was canceled because there was no more hope of finding them alive.

Date

13. September 2016 | 9:50

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The highest ski school in the world

Ski course in Nepal

Ski course in Nepal

Certainly they won’t be the most elegant skiers on Mera Peak, but motivation and enthusiasm will surely not be missing. Six Nepalese mountain guides have set out to ski down the 6476-meter-high “trekking peak” in Nepal in September. They will be accompanied by two ski instructors from Europe, German Julius Seidenader and Austrian Michael Moik. What’s remarkable: The Nepalese have been for the very first time on skis only last February. “I am confident that they will be able to ski down along with us,” says Julius.

Date

25. August 2016 | 21:06

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Sport climber Halenke: “Olympics as a door opener”

Sebastian Halenke in action

Sebastian Halenke in action

The Olympic flag is already there, the climbers will come in four years. Today Governor Yuriko Koiki presented at Haneda airport in Tokyo the flag with the Olympic rings which the Mayor of Rio had handed over to her at the closing ceremony of the Olympics in Brazil. In 2020 in Tokyo, sport climbers will officially compete for medals for the first time (one week before the Winter Games in Albertville in 1992, there was already a demonstration event won by German climber Stefan Glowacz). “Of course, as a competition climber I welcome this development in principle,” says Sebastian Halenke regarding the Olympic premiere. “Until now, climbing as a competitive sport is barely represented in the media and even within the climbing scene there are rather spartan reports on the competitions.” The 21-year-old climber from the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, whose trademark is his red mohawk haircut, belongs to the World Cup’s top ten in the discipline Lead. In these competitions the participants have to climb a long, difficult route after only a brief glance at it as far as possible within a time limit and without falling.

Date

24. August 2016 | 15:56

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Mountaineering ban for Everest cheaters

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

No mercy for Everest cheaters. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times” a three-member investigation commission recommended that the Nepalese government should withdraw the summit certificates of the Indian climbers Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod and forbid the couple to go to Nepal for mountaineering for at least ten years. It is seen as a formality that Tourism Ministery will nod the recommendation through.

Date

19. August 2016 | 13:35

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The “Everest Fall Man” is back

Nobukazu Kuriki

Nobukazu Kuriki

He is going to make it a round half-dozen. For the sixth time, Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki wants to tackle Mount Everest in the post-monsoon season. The 34-year-old says, he is planning to climb the highest mountain on earth solo, without bottled oxygen, this time via the Tibetan north side. Last year Kuriki had tried to reach the summit from the Nepalese south side – and had failed on Everest for the fifth time: He climbed up to 8,150 meters, about 200 meters above the South Col, before he abandoned his summit attempt due to deep snow and strong winds.

Date

16. August 2016 | 5:06

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Thomas Huber: “I’ll travel with a laughing heart”

Thomas Huber will set off again

Thomas Huber will set off again

Incredible – that describes Thomas Huber’s current life quite aptly. No wonder that the 49-year-old German top climber uses this word very often when we talk on the phone. Thomas was, as he himself says, “incredibly lucky” when he survived his 16-meter-fall from a rock face on 5 July. He recovered so “incredibly fast” that he – as initially planned before his fall – will shortly go “with incredible joy” on expedition to Pakistan. Truly incredible! The aim of the travel is the north side of the 7,145-meter-high granite giant Latok I in the Karakoram. Huber’s team includes Toni Gutsch – who, in 1997, first climbed the West Face of Latok II (7108 m) along with the Huber brothers and US climber Conrad Anker – and Sebastian Brutscher.

Date

13. August 2016 | 9:17

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On your mark, ready, …

Schoolchildren in Thulosirubari

Schoolchildren in Thulosirubari

… go! Not only Olympic athletes are currently waiting for this call. People in Thulosirubari are in the starting blocks too. Hopefully we are only few days away from the start of the construction of the new school at this small village in Sindhupalchowk District in Nepal. According to the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” finally all bureaucratic barriers have been broken down so that the school for 700 children and adolescents in Thulosirubari can be rebuilt. That has been and will be the goal of the aid project “School up!” that I had launched along with the professional climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner from Austria and Ralf Dujmovits from Germany a year ago. The “Gerlinde and Ralf School”, which had been inaugurated only in 2009, was so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015 that it had to be demolished.

Date

9. August 2016 | 15:20

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