As in the Alps, mountaineers in the Himalayas shall soon find shelter in mountain huts. Not in simple wooden or metal sheds. The new huts shall be functional, low maintenance, not too expensive, but, please, also nice and comfortable. The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), in cooperation with the Nepalese development programme Samarth, announced a competition for architects and designers to find “an innovative high altitude accommodation unit which will be the first of its kind ever to be established in Nepal”.
Date29. January 2015 | 16:26
No doubt, he fully deserves this honour. When the most remarkable ascents in 2014 will be awarded with the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar” for mountaineers, in Chamonix and Courmayeur from 9 to 12 April, Sir Chris Bonington will be hounoured with the “Prix Walter Bonatti” for his really outstanding mountaineering career. The prize is awared for the seventh time. The previous prizewinners from 2009 onwards were Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Robert Paragot, Kurt Diemberger and John Roskelley. “Chris Boningtons achievements have been significant in both the Alps and Himalaya”, the organizers of Piolet d’Or said. “An outstanding and passionate climber.”
Date27. January 2015 | 11:58
“He who says patience, says courage, endurance, strength”, Baroness Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach once wrote. Of course the Austrian writer, who lived from 1830 to 1913, meant it generally. But with her words she described almost exactly the characteristics that are needed to climb an eight-thousander such as Nanga Parbat in winter. After more than two dozen unsuccessful winter expeditions, courageous, persistant and strong climbers try again to scale the ninth highest mountain on earth this winter. Currently, the attempt of the Russians Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval on the Rupal side, the south side of Nanga Parbat, seems to be the most promising try.
Date26. January 2015 | 19:35
Cuddle bear or dictator – expedition leaders can be everything between these poles, always looking for the “golden way” to maximum success. How much discussion is useful, how much “Period!” necessary? In the USA, researchers now published an interesting study on the influence of hierarchy on the outcome of expeditions. They interviewed climbers from 27 countries and evaluated the data from a total of 5104 Himalayan expeditions from 1905 until 2012. Their findings: “Hierarchy both elevated and killed in the Himalayas: Expeditions from more hierarchical countries had more climbers reach the summit, but also more climbers die along the way.” Means: Strong hierarchy can increase both summit and fatality rates. On the one hand hierarchy can – due to the lack of permanent discussion – create an atmosphere leading to greater determination. On the other hand it can inhibit low-ranking team members from expressing their doubts, thus increasing the risks for the group. But how can an expedition leader find the right balance? I asked the researchers.
Date22. January 2015 | 16:08
Nepal needs strong women like Maya Sherpa. “With our women expedition project we want to inspire women doing what we really are capable of even after being married and having children”, the 36-year-old climber writes to me. In July 2014, she scaled the 8611-meter-high K 2 with Dawa Yangzum Sherpa and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita. They were the first female climbers from Nepal on top of the second highest mountain in the world. A week and a half ago, I introduced the trio’s new project in my blog: the planned ascent of Kangchenjunga next spring. I got Maya’s answers to my questions concerning their plans a few days after the article had gone online.
Date20. January 2015 | 17:24
Does Nanga Parbat show its teeth again? More than 20 winter expeditions already failed on the 8125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. Beside K 2, Nanga Parbat is the only eight-thousander which has still not been scaled in winter. That’s why the “Naked Mountain” has been an attractive destination for professional mountaineers over the past years. The Polish climber Tomasz called Tomek Mackiewicz is trying to climb the ninth highest mountain on earth for the fifth consecutive year. After having reached an altitude of about 7200 meters with the German mountaineer David Goettler on the south side of the mountain (Rupal side) last year, Tomek is now climbing on the northwest side (Diamir side). Today he and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol returned safely from a summit attempt to base camp.
Date19. January 2015 | 16:09
A milestone in the granite of El Capitan in Yosemite! After 19 days the US climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the top of the extremely difficult, about 900-meter-high Dawn Wall after having climbed it free for the first time. They made climbing history. “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall, if you will. We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely”, 30-year-old Jorgesan said according to the New York Times. “I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.” As reported, it had taken Kevin seven days alone to master the extremely difficult 15th of 32 pitches of the route. “I think the larger audience’s conception is that we’re thrill seekers out there for an adrenaline rush. We really aren’t at all. It’s about spending our lives in these beautiful places and forming these incredible bonds”, 36-year-old Caldwell said. “For me, I love to dream big, and I love to find ways to be a bit of an explorer.” Tommy is climbing with only nine full fingers.
Date15. January 2015 | 11:28
It’s easy to jump on a train that is already standing in the station. However, the climbing train of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson is still rolling. Pull by pull by pull towards the summit of the legendary granite rock El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Since 27 December, for two weeks and a half now, the two Americans climb and hang in the 900-meter-high, mostly vertical, partly overhanging “Dawn Wall” – so named, because the South-East face of El Cap catches the first sunrays in the morning. Caldwell and Jorgeson are well on the way to free climbing the extremely challenging big wall for the first time. Means: They only use ropes, bolts, nuts or friends to avoid falling, not for climbing. Actually, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. But in this special case I do it and and take my hat off to Tommy and Kevin by now.
Date14. January 2015 | 13:59
TagsDawn Wall, Dean Caldwell, El Capitan, Kevin Jorgeson, Thomas Huber, Tommy Caldwell, Warren Harding, Yosemite
The same procedure on Everest as every year? Probably not, but a reliable forecast is difficult. “There seem to be less people on expeditions and also less people trekking in Nepal”, the New Zealander Russell Brice replies to my question which influence the avalanche disaster on Good Friday 2014 and the subsequent end of all great expeditions on Everest south side will have on this year’s spring season on the highest mountain in the world. “It seems that more people want to go to North side, and less people to South side”, says the head of the expedition operator Himalayan Experience. However, Brice withdrew his tendered Everest expedition in Tibet and decided to just operate on the south side this year.
Date9. January 2015 | 15:52
TagsAng Tshering Sherpa, Dan Mazur, DAV Summit Club, Dominik Mueller, Mount Everest, Nepal, Russell Brice, Simon Lowe, Tibet, Tim Mosedale
They are a powerful trio on the mountain: On 26 July 2014, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Maya Sherpa and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita were the first women from Nepal, who reached the 8611-meter-high summit of K2 in Pakistan. The second highest mountain in the world is also called “Savage Mountain” due to the difficulty of ascent and the high fatality rate. “We were the first Nepalese women on K 2! And it was not easy climbing this moutain. Only real climbers know how and why we climbed K 2”, Dawa Yangzum writes to me. Mountaineers had appreciated their performance in an appropriate way. They did not expect that from the Nepalese government anyway: “Mostly, the government, the ministry and all these people just know Everest and the Seven Summits. If we had climbed the Seven Summits, they would have made us a front page news”, says the 25-year-old. The government is in Dawa Yangzum’s bad books anyway.
Date7. January 2015 | 17:36
Happy New Year!
Date1. January 2015 | 0:00
TagsNew Year 2015