Summer in the Karakorum? At the moment it feels more like winter, at least in terms of precipitation. For days Mother Holle has been shaking out her mattress over Pakistan’s highest mountains. “Snowfall all day long”, writes Dominik Müller, head and expedition leader of the German operator Amical alpin at the foot of the eight-thousander Broad Peak. “Our base camp is slowly turning into a winter landscape. Avalanches barrel down from the slopes every hour!” The Austrian expedition leader Lukas Furtenbach, from Broad Peak too, takes the same lime: “Tough weather conditions this year”. The situation on the other eight-thousanders in Pakistan is not different. No matter if from the neighbouring K 2, Gasherbrum I and II or Nanga Parbat – the same messages everywhere: Lots of snow, high avalanche risk.
Date29. June 2018 | 22:13
TagsAmical Alpin, Broad Peak, Dominik Müller, Furtenbach Adventures, Karakoram, Lukas Furtenbach, Mike Horn, Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, snowfall, weather forecast
“The construction work is going smoothly,” writes Shyam Pandit, liaison man of the German aid organisation “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” in Nepal. In Thulosirubari, a small mountain village about 70 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu, the third part of the new school with eight additional classrooms is being built. The foundations are laid, the base plate is soon to be concreted. If all goes well, this third building could be ready by 2019. The first two buildings with classrooms for twelve school classes were – as reported – ceremonially inaugurated in March. At that time Ralf Dujmovits, the only German climber so far who stood on all 14 eight-thousanders, and I laid the foundation stone for the next construction phase in Thulosirubari.
Date29. June 2018 | 10:00
What did Nobukazu Kuriki really intend on Everest? This question has been bothering me ever since the 35-year-old Japanese climber was found dead on 21 May at an altitude of about 6,600 meters. Nobukazu had made a secret of his exact plan in the weeks before. He wanted to climb through the Southwest Fall, his office said after Kuriki’s death. Solo and without bottled oxygen, as he had claimed for himself? If Nobukazu had only fulfilled one of these two conditions, he would have already made Everest history.
Date26. June 2018 | 7:58
“I expect for sure some intensive moments,” says Hansjörg Auer. The 34-year-old extreme climber from Austria set off to Pakistan last weekend for a solo project. Hansjörg will tackle the West Face of the 7,181-meter-high Lupghar Sar West. “For me, it will be a special kind of project to see if I can carry out the next step of my climbing career,” Hansjörg said in a video published on Facebook before his departure.
Date20. June 2018 | 18:30
TagsHans and Sepp Gloggner, Hansjörg Auer, Hunza region, Lupghar Sar West, Pakistan, Solo, West Face
And suddenly the call came from space: “Here is Alex”. At first Ralf Dujmovits did not know who was talking at the other end of the telephone line: “Alex? Then I suddenly recognized the voice I had heard two days earlier during the broadcast of the rocket launch.” Alexander Gerst inquired from the International Space Station (ISS) about the condition of the German climber and his Canadian partner Nancy Hansen in the hypoxia chamber of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne. “It sounded like he was sitting next door.” For a quarter of an hour, Ralf, the first and so far only German climber to have scaled all 14 eight-thousanders, spoke to “Astro Alex”, the first German astronaut to take command of the ISS. “He was very interested in our experience in the lab. That was great.” Of course, Nancy talked to Gerst too. For both climbers it was a “real highlight”, says the 49-year-old Canadian.
Date18. June 2018 | 15:16
TagsDLR, Hypoxia, Jens Tank, Myocardial infarction, Myocardial regeneration, Nancy Hansen, Ralf Dujmovits, Study, Ulrich Limper
The spring season on Nepal’s highest mountains has segued almost seamlessly into the summer season on Pakistan’s eight-thousanders. The first expedition teams have reached the base camps. The South African adventurer Mike Horn arrived on the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat a week ago. In the meantime, the 51-year-old and his teammates have already climbed up to 5,900 meters. Maya Sherpa is tackling the 8125-meter-high mountain too. In May, the 40-year-old Sherpani had had to turn back on Kangchenjunga at about 8,500 metres. Less than 100 meters of altitude difference had been missing to the summit. With the Romanian Alex Gavan and the Turkish Tunc Findik, two other well-known climbers have set off for Nanga Parbat. The 36-year-old Gavan, who failed on Dhaulagiri in spring, has so far scaled six eight-thousanders. For the 46-year-old Findik, Turkey’s most successful high-altitude climber, Nanga Parbat would be his twelfth of the 14 eight-thousanders if successful.
Date13. June 2018 | 15:46
TagsAdam Bielecki, Alex Gavan, Alix von Melle, Andrzej Bargiel, Broad Peak, Felix Berg, Gasherbrum, Jacek Czech, K 2, Luis Stitzinger, Maya Sherpa, Mike Horn, Nanga Parbat, Tunc Findik, Urdok Kangri II
“Damn it! What a mess,” I cursed this morning as I rode my bike to work after the sunny weekend. “Are these peoples’ brains turned off?” The path was paved with plastic cups, fast food packaging, barbecue trays and shards of broken beer bottles. It looked similar, albeit with other, sometimes even less appetizing ingredients, after this spring season in the high camps on Mount Everest. Even bags with faeces were lying around. The Mexican climber David Liano Gonzalez documented this mess with pictures. “I’ve been a part of ‚Eco Everest Expeditions‘ for ten years. We have brought down more than ten tons of trash. I carry down my own poop on special bags,” the 38-year-old, who scaled the highest mountain on earth for the seventh time this year, writes to me. “I try to leave the mountain cleaner than I found it. But with so many people, no oversight and no mountain ethics, the problem is out of control.”
Date11. June 2018 | 15:55
The good news first: The finished spring season in the Himalayas has shown that coordinated rescue operations for climbers in serious trouble are also possible in Tibet. For example, the Chinese authorities even allowed the use of Nepalese rescue helicopters in the case of the Bulgarian Boyan Petrov, missing on the eight-thousander Shishapangma. At the same time, a team consisting of three Sherpas and three Chinese climbers, was searching for Boyan directly on the mountain’s slopes. Unfortunately in vain. But the cooperation between Nepalese and Tibetan rescuers could have set standards for the future. Also on the 8,188-meter high Cho Oyu, a three-person Chinese-Tibetan rescue team was deployed immediately after an emergency call. Now for the bad news: As with Petrov, there was no happy ending in this case too. And the world hasn’t heard about it either –till today.
Date7. June 2018 | 15:55
TagsAtanas Skatov, Billi Bierling, Boyan Petrov, Cho Oyu, CTMA, Death, Felix Berg, Himalayan Database, Rescue, Rettung, Rishi Bhandari, Satori, South Korean, Todesfall
Having scaled the fifth and fourth highest mountain on earth, without bottled oxygen and a High-Altitude Sherpa by his side – the spring season in Nepal went like clockwork for the German climber Thomas Lämmle. The 52-year-old from the town of Waldburg in Baden-Württemberg summited the 8,485-meter-high Makalu on 13 May. Only eight days later, on 21 May, Thomas stood on top of the 8,516-meter-high Lhotse, in the immediate vicinity of Mount Everest. Lämmle has now scaled seven eight-thousanders after Cho Oyu (in 2003), Gasherbrum II (in 2005 and 2013), Manaslu (in 2008), Shishapangma (in 2013) and Mount Everest (in 2016). I asked him about his experiences.
Thomas, last year your four summit attempts on Makalu failed due to bad weather. How have you been during your successful summit bid this spring?
Date6. June 2018 | 20:49
The fog is clearing. The climbers mentioned in my last blog post have spoken. For days, the false report had been tenacious that Tenjing (mostly called “Tenji”) Sherpa and Lakpa Dendi Sherpa were the only mountaineers this season to climb Everest without bottled oxygen. “I think the confusion arose because Sherpa Dendi radio ahead of us on the summit to say we had all made it,” Jon Griffith, Tenjing’s British rope partner, wrote in a comment to my article on Facebook. “Given that Tenji was attempting a no O2 climb and given that radio comms is pretty poor from the summit I suspect that Base Camp assumed that he had climbed without O2 and hence the rumour spread.”
Date5. June 2018 | 14:05
TagsJon Griffith, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Lech Flaczynski, Makalu, Mount Everest, Tenjing Sherpa, Wojziech Flaczynski
Actually, it’s quite simple. An Everest summit success without bottled oxygen means that the climber did not use a breathing mask. And that’s exactly why the only two alleged climbs without bottled oxygen reported this spring season from the highest mountain on earth were indeed only summit successes, but nothing more! The German mountaineer and journalist Billi Bierling, head of the chronicle “Himalayan Database”, informed me today that on 24 May Tenjing Sherpa (often also called “Tenji”) had used bottled oxygen from the South Summit at 8,750 meters, 100 meters below the main summit. It had been windy, the 26-year-old had not wanted to risk frostbite, Billi said after the debriefing with Tenji and his British climbing partner Jon Griffith. The chronicler informed me that Lakpa Dendi Sherpa had used a breathing mask even above the South Col, at nearly 8,000 meters.
Date1. June 2018 | 14:24
TagsBilli Bierling, Himalayan Database, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Lech Flaczynski, Makalu, Mount Everest, Without bottled oxygen, Wojciech Flaczynski