It was one of the most exciting climbing projects of this spring’s season in the Himalayas. Swiss top climber Ueli Steck and German David Goettler initially planned to open a new direct route through the South Face of 8,027-meter-high Shishapangma. But they were not able to put it into practice. They “only” climbed the so called “Corredor Girona” route, opened by a Spanish team in 1995, up to the ridge at 7,800 meters and in their last attempt the route of the British first-ascenders of the South Face in 1982, Doug Scott, Alex MacIntyre and Roger Baxter-Jones, up to 7,600 meters. Even though they failed to climb a new route, Ueli and David didn’t return empty-handed from Tibet. I called the 39-year-old Swiss and the 37-year-old German in their hotel in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.
Satisfied, disappointed or some of both? How do you feel after this expedition?
Date30. May 2016 | 10:34
More than 400 summit successes, five deaths. This is so far the balance of this spring’s climbing season on Mount Everest, which is slowly but surely coming to an end. The two Indian climbers who had been missing for nearly a week with a probability bordering on certainty are dead. A Sherpa rescue team discovered the body of Paresh Chandra Nath above South Col. Rising wind prevented the search for the second missing, Gautam Ghosh. The chance of finding him still alive is virtually nil. The dead bodies of Dutchman Eric Arnold and Australian Maria Strydom have been meanwhile transferred by helicopter to Kathmandu. The corpse of Indian Subhash Pal, who had also passed away during summit attempt, should be brought today to Camp 2, to be flown out from there subsequently.
Date27. May 2016 | 15:26
TagsArnold Coster, Eric Anrold, Gautam Ghosh, Maria Strydom, Mount Everest, Pareh Chandra Nath, Recovery, Robert Gropel
Female Power on Mount Everest. There were two women among the handful of climbers who have so far reached the 8850- meter-high summit without bottled oxygen this spring season: Melissa Arnot and Carla Perez. Before them, only six female climbers had succeeded this feat: Lydia Bradey (New Zealand, in 1988), Alison Hargreaves (UK, in 1995), Francys Arsentiev (USA, in 1998, she died on descend), La Ji (China, in 2004), Nives Meroi (Italy, in 2010) and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (Austria, in 2010).
Date25. May 2016 | 9:53
TagsCarla Perez, Climbing Sherpa, Lhakpa Sherpa, Maya Sherpa, Melissa Arnot, Mount Everest, Nepal, Tibet, Without bottled oxygen
Who could say no? On the summit of Mount Everest at 8,850 meters, Thomas Laemmle popped the question to his partner, via GPS messenger: “Heike, will you marry me?” Her answer was not (yet) spread on the Internet. Thomas today reached the highest point on Earth via the normal route on the Tibetan north side – without oxygen. For the 50-year-old from the German town of Waldburg in Baden-Wurttemberg Everest is the fifth eight-thousander he has scaled. Previously, the high altitude climber and sports scientist from the Allgaeu region had successfully climbed Cho Oyu (in 2003), Gasherbrum II (in 2005 and 2013), Manaslu (in 2008) and Shishapangma (in 2013). This spring Laemmle had abandoned a summit attempt on Cho Oyu due to bad weather.
Date23. May 2016 | 17:54
Not a good day on Mount Everest. The Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks had to report two deaths on Saturday. On the South Col, at an altitude of almost 8,000 meters, first the Dutchman Eric Arnold died and later the Australian Maria Strydom, both were obviously suffering from altitude sickness. Arnold, 35 years old, had reached the summit before and was on descent, the 34-year-old Strydom had apparantly abandoned her summit attempt.
Date21. May 2016 | 20:59
It is not only the thin air on Everest that makes climbers pant. Meanwhile, also a race seems to have started to be the most hip in social networks. Number one in this category this spring season – taking in account the media response worldwide – are without question the two Americans Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards. They document their ascent without bottled oxygen on the Tibetan north side also via Snapchat – the image and video messaging service for smartphones and tablets, in which the messages automatically disappear after a while – and thus make couch potatoes gasp. Under #EverestNoFilter, everyone can follow Ballinger’s and Richard’s ascent via the Northeast Ridge virtually in real time and unfiltered. The two climbers want to reach the 8850-meter-high summit this weekend.
Date20. May 2016 | 16:16
Tags#EverestNoFilter, Adrian Ballinger, Alberto Zerain, Cory Richards, Dhaulagiri, Lhapka Sherpa, Mariano Galvan, Mount Everest, Nepal, Prasad Joshi, Rajib Bhattacharya, Snapchat, Tibet
A solitary summit experience is different. Gyanendra Shrestha from the Nepalese Tourism Ministry told the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times” that about 150 climbers had reached the 8850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest since the morning. The number would probably increase to more than 200 during the day. After the strong wind had calmed down, many teams set off from South Col on the Nepalese side of the mountain. The numerous summit successes on Everest were overshadowed by a fatality on the neighboring mountain Lhotse.
Date19. May 2016 | 11:17
The Everest summit wave is rolling. Dozens, if not hundreds of summit successes are expected these days, on the Nepalese south side of the highest mountain on earth as well as on the Tibetan north side. Do the Everest aspirants still remember Beck Weathers? Possibly. After all, in 2015 the successful Hollywood movie “Everest” told his story. 20 years ago, in spring 1996, Beck also wanted to climb to the top of the world. Due to vision problems the American pathologist had to abandon his summit attempt at about 8,400 meters. Later he was caught in the storm that cost the lives of eight climbers within 24 hours.
It’s a miracle that Weathers survived. Actually, he was already as good as dead. After a night in whiteout his fellow climbers left him lying in the snow supposing he was dead. But Beck regained consciousness and despite severe frostbite he dragged himself to Camp 4. A rescue team brought him down to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters, from where Beck was brought to safety with a spectacular helicopter flight. Weathers’ right arm had to be amputated just below the elbow. Beck also lost all fingers of the left hand. His frostbitten nose had to be reconstructed in numerous operations.
I have contacted Beck Weathers on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Everest disaster. Because the 69-year-old was traveling, he has sent me his answers to my questions only a few days after the anniversary.
Beck, the 1996 Everest disaster was probably one of your most profound experiences. In what way has it changed your life?
Date18. May 2016 | 16:24
TagsBeck Weathers, Everest disaster 1996, Interview, Mount Everest, Nepal, storm, Survived, Tibet, Whiteout
It sounds like an April fool’s joke with a month’s delay. Before the German Jost Kobusch – as reported – reached the 8,091 meter-high summit of Annapurna on 1 May, he, according to his own words, played a game of chess against the Israeli climber Nadav Ben-Yehuda just below the highest point. “We had previously played at least two games every day at Base Camp during the periods of bad weather,” says Jost. So the idea of a chess duel at the top was born. Nadav, who used bottled oxygen, reached the highest point just before Jost, who climbed without breathing mask. “When we met just below the summit, I said to him: Wait! We still have to play a game of chess,” the 23-year-old German tells me. “We played on my smartphone, 20 meters below the summit.”
Date13. May 2016 | 19:29
TagsAnnapurna, Avalanche, Chess, Earthquake, Eigth-thousander, Everest, Jost Kobusch, Nadav Ben-Yehuda, Nepal, Video
Also the first foreign climbers have now reached the summit of Mount Everest. After on Thursday – as reported – nine Sherpas had prepared the way to the highest point on 8.850 meters with fixed ropes, on Friday the two Britons Kenton Cool (aged 42) and Robert Lucas (53) reached the summit, accompanied by the Sherpas Dorchi Gyalzen and Pemba Bhote. Cool stood on the “Roof of the world” for the twelfth time. A few minutes after the British climbers, the Mexican David Liano Gonzalez (36) enjoyed his sixth Everest summit success, also led by a Sherpa: Pasang Rita.
Date13. May 2016 | 0:22
TagsAccident, Amical, Carbon monoxide poisoning, David Liano, Dominik Mueller, Kenton Cool, Makalu, Mount Everest, Robert Lucas
The workers were the first. Today nine Sherpas reached the summit of Mount Everest, as first climbers this spring, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). The Sherpas belonged to a team including members of several expedition operators, which fixed ropes up to the highest point at 8,850 meters. It was the first summit success on the Nepalese side of Everest since 2013.
Date11. May 2016 | 16:38
TagsAng Tshering Sherpa, Gipfelerfolg, Mount Everest, NMA, Rope-fixing team, Sherpa, Summit successes, Wang Jing
How could that happen? Two Sherpa mountain guides who were working for an expedition of the German operator Amical alpin died in Camp 2 at 6,700 m during a summit attempt on the eight-thousander Makalu. Other group members found the two Sherpas lifeless in their tent in the afternoon. “We can only speculate,” Dominik Mueller, head of Amical, tells me. “We suspect that they cooked in their closed tent without providing adequate ventilation and then died of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Date11. May 2016 | 14:55
It’s show time in the Himalayas. After all climbers should have completed their acclimatization on the eight-thousanders, the first summit successes have been reported. Yesterday Romanian Horia Colibasanu and Slovak Peter Hamor reached the 8163-meter-high summit of Manaslu via the normal route on the northeast side – without bottled oxygen and Sherpa support. Actually this ascent was only for acclimatization. The two plan to climb the mountain a second time, on a new “long and difficult route” (Colibasanu) on the north side of the mountain.
Date11. May 2016 | 10:53
TagsCho Oyu, Colibasanu, Goettler, Hamor, Manaslu, Mount Everest, Pal, Roeske, Shishapangma, Steck, Strba
Everest hard way. So the two Slovakian climbers Zoltan Pál and Vladimir Štrba had named their expedition on the south side of the highest mountain on earth. They wanted to reach the 8850-meter-high summit via the difficult route through the Southwest Face, which had been opened by Doug Scott and Dougal Haston in 1975. In contrast to the legendary British climbers, the two Slovaks planned to climb the route in the wall if possible in Alpine style: without Sherpa support, fixed ropes, high camps and also without bottled oxygen. Now they have run into difficulties in the wall.
Date10. May 2016 | 14:55
The good weather window on Mount Everest has not yet opened. “Heavy snow in Everest Base Camp at the moment,” American Dan Mazur, expedition leader of the operator Summit Climb, today wrote on Twitter from the Nepalese south side of the mountain. “Our Sherpas are working high up on the mountain, carrying oxygen, ropes, tents, food.” On the north side of Everest, the Americans Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards climbed today to an altitude of about 7,600 meters. “For just today, I’m pretty sure Cory and I were the highest people on the planet”, Adrian wrote on Instagram. “Does it matter? Of course not. But it felt special.” The two climbers, who want to scale Everest without bottled oxygen, returned to the North Col, “as afternoon clouds try to cross the border from Nepal into Tibet”. The weathermen expect for the next few days more snowfall on Everest. Maybe one or the other climbers in the base camps on the north and south side will use the time to read again Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”. It describes the disaster on Everest in spring 1996. The 20th anniversary will be next Tuesday .
I have talked to Ralf Dujmovits about Mount Everest then and now. The 54-year-old is the first and so far only German who stood on the summits of all 14 eight-thousanders.
Ralf, you have taken an Everest sabbatical this year. Did you – like many others – want to see how the whole situation on Everest is developing?
Date6. May 2016 | 17:19
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Cory Richards, Dan Mazur, Disaster 1996, Mount Everest, Nancy Hasen, Nepal, Tibet