This year’s first summit successes on Manaslu are reported: Chhang Dawa Sherpa, head of the Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks, said that nine foreign mountaineers and six Climbing Sherpas summited the eighth highest mountain on earth this morning. More teams are on the way up and plan to reach the highest point at 8,156 meters on Thursday or Friday. Dan Mazur from Summit Climb tweeted from Camp 4 at 7,450 meters announcing to climb towards the summit tonight. Rainer Pircher from Amical alpin is in Camp 4 too. Dominik Mueller, head of Amical, and his clients are spending the night at Camp 3 at 6,800 meters and want to climb up to Camp 4 on Thursday.
Date30. September 2015 | 18:37
TagsAltitude Junkies, Amical Alpin, Dan Mazur, Dominik Mueller, Himalayan Experience, Manaslu, Seven Summits Treks, Summit, Summit Climb
The Nepalese government apparently wants to make sure that Mount Everest is taken seriously again. Speaking at an event in Kathmandu on the occasion of the World Tourism Day on Sunday, Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa said that new age limits and other more stringent conditions on granting permits for Everest expeditions were in preparation. It is considered to allow only climbers aged between 18 and 75 to climb the highest mountain on earth.
Date28. September 2015 | 16:19
TagsAge limit, Disabled climbers, Govinda Karki, Kripasur Sherpa, Mount Everest, Nepal, Permits, Tourism Minister
It would have been a real bang. And probably the headline was already prepared: “Historical Everest climb with only one complete finger”. But this headline will be put away in a drawer until further notice. Nobukazu Kuriki has abandoned his first summit attempt on Everest. “I tried hard taking all my energy, but it took too much time to move in the deep snow”, the 33-year-old Japanese tweeted. “I realised if I kept going, I wouldn’t be able to come back alive.” It is still unclear how high exactly he climbed. According to his GPS signal messenger, he did not reach the South Col. Kuriki had made his “last Camp”, as he wrote, at about 7,700 meters, at about the level of the Geneva Spur, 200 meters below the South Col. From there, it would have been a real marathon stage up to the 8,850-meter-high summit – in particular because the Japanese was climbing solo above Camp 2, not using bottled oxygen, and the route was neither prepared nor secured with fixed ropes.
Date27. September 2015 | 15:40
“Everything was said 40 years ago. Nothing has changed.” Doug Scott was tight-lipped when I asked him last spring about the British Everest Southwest Face Expedition in 1975. Late on 24 September, today exactly 40 years ago, Doug and his team comrade Dougal Haston, had reached the summit of Mount Everest after they had first climbed the more than 2000-meter-high, extremely difficult rock wall. After their summit success Scott and Haston survived a bivouac at 8760 meters. Their first climb of the Southwest Face was a milestone in Himalayan climbing, one of the “last big problems” was solved. Five expeditions had failed before, among them a British one in 1972.
Date24. September 2015 | 0:00
It is far from easy to survive in the highly competitive tourism market in Nepal. Under normal circumstances, but all the more after the earthquake last spring. There are hundreds of trekking and expedition agencies in Kathmandu that compete to get any clients. Most of them are small companies, and the owners often live from hand to mouth. Small entrepreneurs like my friend Mahesh Kumar Budha suffer most from the economic consequences of the earthquake. The government estimates that the tourism market has slumped by 50 percent, local operators assume that it is up to 70 percent.
Date18. September 2015 | 7:00
The 8,136-meter-high Manaslu is probably the only mountain in Nepal, where currently almost everything is as usual in fall. “We have about 15 expeditions here, many of them small teams”, Dominik Mueller tells me by satellite phone from the about 4,800-meter-high Manaslu Base Camp in western Nepal. “All in all we have probably 120 to 130 summit aspirants.” Dominik is leading an expedition of his German operator Amical alpin, along with the mountain guide Rainer Pircher. The other members are ten clients, three Climbing Sherpas, a cook and four kitchen helpers. The Base Camp is not too crowded, says Dominik. “We have found a very nice place for our tents.” On Wednesday, the puja will be held, the traditional Buddhist ceremony to get the gods’ blessings for the climbers. Some expeditions – such as the group of Himalayan Experience that is led by the New Zealander Russell Brice – have been on the mountain for a while already.
Date15. September 2015 | 19:36
Avalanche on Dôme de Neige kills seven climbers
Seven climbers have lost their lives in an avalanche in the French Alps today. The incident happened on the 4015-meter-high Dôme de Neige in the Écrins massif southeast of Grenoble. The French authorities said that four Germans and three Czechs died in the avalanche. Another injured female climber from Germany was rescued. It is said that three rope teams were hit by the snow masses. According to the rescuers, the 250-meter-long avalanche was likely triggered when a snow slab separated and hurtled down the slope. Last weekend it had heavily snowed in the region. “The conditions are winter-like at the moment“, a policeman said. At least 39 people have died in snowslides this year in France, according to the National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches.
Date15. September 2015 | 16:48
There is a jinx on it. Two spring seasons on Everest in a row remained without summit successes (I ignore those of the Wang Jing team in 2014 because they were flown by helicopter to the high camp). In 2014, all commercial expeditions were cancelled after an avalanche had killed 16 Nepalese climbers in Khumbu Icefall. This year, the devastating earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche from the seven-thousander Pumori hitting Everest Base Camp and killing 19 mountaineers and support staff. Once again the spring season ended before it had really begun. What does this mean for the Sherpa people?
I called Dawa Steven Sherpa. Along with his father Ang Tshering Sherpa, the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the 31-year-old is managing “Asian Trekking”, a Kathmandu-based leading operator for expeditions and trekkings in the Himalayas. Dawa Steven scaled Everest twice (in 2007 and 2008) and in addition the eight-thousanders Cho Oyu (2006) and Lhotse (2009). Under his expedition leadership more than 150 climbers have summited Everest. But Dawa Steven is also a tireless fighter for environmental and climate protection in the Himalayas. Furthermore he is leading “Resilient Homes” , a project of the “Himalayan Climate Initiative” to help earthquake-affected communities to rebuild their houses and other buildings – one more reason to talk to him about the current situation in Nepal.
Date9. September 2015 | 14:45
TagsAsian Trekking, Avalanche, Dawa Steven Sherpa, Earthquake, Expedition, Kuriki, Mount Everest, Nepal, Permit, Tibet
It was simply too dangerous. In the village of Thulosirubari in the Nepalese earthquake zone, residents and helpers of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have begun to remove the debris of the school. The building that was heavily damaged by the quake on 25 April “stands dangerously on the side of the ground where children use to play”, Arjun Gatraj, chairman of the School Management Committee, writes to me. As reported, the ground floor of the “Gerlinde and Ralf School” had collapsed, the building cannot be maintained. “These days, we have the big problem on how to destroy the main building and how to clear the rubble”, says Arjun. “We have no money for that ant the Government of Nepal is also not able to support us.”
Date8. September 2015 | 14:07
TagsArjun Gatraj, Donation campaign, Earthquake, Gerlinde and Ralf School, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Nepal, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf Dujmovits, Thulosirubari
The movie “Everest” works if you consume it as if you were to take a shower outside on a hot summer day: Just let the water flow, don’t think too much! Then you’ll really enjoy the 3-D dolly shots which were filmed in Nepal: for instance from above down to the suspension bridge that crosses the river Dudh Kosi in dizzy heights near Namche Bazar or the view of the Western Cwm, the “Valley of Silence”, above the Khumbu Icefall. In this case you’ll likely find the movie’s story about the disaster on Everest in 1996, when eight climbers were killed in a storm in the summit area, exciting. And you’ll probably stand up from your cinema seat after two hours with the feeling of having been well entertained and seen a cinematic well-made mountain action drama. It only becomes problematic if you take the note at the beginning of the film seriously: “Based on a true story”.
Date4. September 2015 | 12:57
TagsBoukreev, Brolin, Disaster 1996, Gyllenhall, Kneightley, Kormakur, Krakauer, Mount Everest, Movie, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Watson, Wrigth
There are only 20 days left until Ueli Steck will return to Nepal. To the country where the 38-year-old Swiss top climber in the same year celebrated his probably most spectacular success as an extreme climber as well as the greatest fear of death that had nothing to do with mountain dangers. In spring 2013, a group of angry Sherpas attacked Ueli and his teammates Simone Moro and Jonathan Griffith in Everest high camp and threatened them with death. In fall 2013, Steck reached the 8091-meter-high summit of Annapurna, the eight-thousander with the highest fatality rate: solo, via the extremely dangerous South Face, on a partly new route, as always without bottled oxygen. It took Ueli only 28 hours to climb up and down.
This summer, he proved once again that he is able to climb mountains lickety-split, when he – as reported in my blog – scaled all 82 four-thousanders of the Alps within 62 days and overcame the distance between the mountains without engine power: by hiking, cycling or paragliding. I talked to Ueli about his tour de force through the Alps – and also about his upcoming exciting project in Nepal: on Nuptse, within sight of Mount Everest.
Date2. September 2015 | 13:00
Tags82 Summits, Annapurna, Babanov, Colin Haley, Earthquake, Mount Everest, Nepal, Nuptse East, Ueli Steck