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with Stefan Nestler

Big rush on Manaslu

Manaslu

Once again, Manaslu turns to become the “Everest of the fall season”. The base camp at the foot of the eighth-highest mountain on earth (8,163 meters) will soon be reminiscent of the tented village at the highest of all mountains in spring. According to the newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the Nepali Ministry of Tourism has issued at least 135 permits to foreign mountaineers o climb Manaslu. Assuming that there will be on average one local Climbing Sherpa per one climber from abroad and some latecomers, probably between 300 and 400 people – including kitchen staff – will be arguing for the best pitches in the base camp. And the normal route via the north-east flank of the mountain might become crowded.

Date

7. September 2017 | 9:35

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Alexander Huber: “Climate change is clearly noticeable”

Ogre II and I (r.), they reached the col

Three attempts, then it was over. As reported, Alexander Huber, the Swiss Dani Arnold and the two East Tyroleans Mario Walder and Christian Zenz abandoned their expedition on the 7285-meter-high Ogre I in Pakistan and returned home. They had wanted to reach the summit of the mountain, which so far has been scaled only three times, over the still not mastered East Pillar. I spoke to Alexander, aged 48, the younger of the two Huber brothers, about the failed expedition.

Alexander, you wrote on Facebook that you knew what the mountain wanted to tell you. What was the message?

We set off to the mountain three times and were able to control the situation with maximum risk management three times. But we noticed every time that we were running extremely late. There was only a very short time window to move safely on the mountain. In this case you have to be en route with full steam to get out of the danger zone on time. We did it three times, and it turned out well. But one day it won’t work so well, and then you are in the middle of this extremely dangerous terrain and can not get out.

Date

2. September 2017 | 18:59

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Japanese climbers land a coup on Shispare

Kazuya Hiraide (l.) and Kenro Nakajima

Put the eight-thousander glasses aside! At an insignificantly lower mountain in the west of the Karakoram in Pakistan, two Japanese climbers succeeded an extraordinary ascent on 22 August. According to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima climbed for the first time via the Northeast Face of the 7611-meter-high Shispare. In four days, the two Japanese climbed in Alpine style through the 2700-meter-high wall to the summit and descended via the Northeast Ridge, it said.

Date

1. September 2017 | 16:37

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Ogre by night schedule

East Pillar of Ogre I

This summer, there was hardly anything to be gained on Ogre I. “The weather was almost always rather bad,” German top climber Alexander Huber writes on Facebook about his expedition to the 7285-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. The conditions were marginal. “A little old snow from the winter and a lot of fresh snow from early summer in the structure of the snowpack. In addition always high temperatures. Summing up, piles of slush.” The 48-year-old, the younger of the Huber brothers, had wanted to reach the summit along with the East Tyroleans Mario Walder and Christian Zenz and the Swiss Dani Arnold via the still unclimbed East Pillar. Even before departure, Alexander had described Ogre I to me as “one of the most exclusive peaks of our planet, one of the most difficult spots to reach”. This was confirmed: Climbing was only possible after night schedule.

Date

30. August 2017 | 22:16

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High or highest point of Broad Peak?

Broad Peak

Chroniclers of mountaineering in the Himalayas and Karakoram like the Germans Billi Bierling and Eberhard Jurgalski are in an unenviable position.  On the one hand, in the age of commercial climbing, they are facing a real flood of success reports which can hardly be overcome. On the other hand, summit successes are reported, which in fact are none because the climbers did not reach the highest point. “It’s getting harder and harder,” Billi Bierling told me some time ago. Following the retreat of the legendary chronicler Elizabeth Hawley (now 93 years old), Billi is now in charge of leading the Himalayan Database. “Actually, I’m inquiring closely. But sometimes I just want to have more time,” said Bierling. She assumed that most climbers were still honest, but sometimes the truth was “a bit distorted”, she complained.

It is disputed now whether the Nepalese expedition leader Mingma Gyalje Sherpa really led his group to the highest point of Broad Peak on 4 August, at the end of the summer season in Karakorum. Eberhard Jurgalski has compared Mingmas video, which was recorded in snow drifting, with other summit videos and photos from Broad Peak and concludes that the group has not reached the highest point of the eight-thousander but a different elevation on the summit ridge, at least 45 minutes away from the summit and about 25 meters lower than this.

Date

29. August 2017 | 16:44

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Mingma G. Sherpa and Co. also on top of Broad Peak

Broad Peak

“Mr. 8000” has done it again. “We all are on Broad peak summit,“  Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination wrote on Facebook today. All means according to Mingmas yesterday’s post: ten climbers. The summit success was confirmed by the data from the GPS tracker of John Snorri Sigurjónsson, one of Mingmas clients. For the 31-year-old Mingma, it was already his fourth success on eight-thousanders this year. Previously, the Sherpa had led clients to the summits of Dhaulagiri and Makalu in Nepal last spring and of K2 last Friday. In addition, he had reached with his team the summit ridge of Nanga Parbat not being sure if he had really found the highest point.

Date

4. August 2017 | 11:43

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Late summit attempt on Broad Peak

Broad Peak (with the shadow of K2)

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa does not seem to get fed up with climbing eight-thousanders this summer. Five days after his summit success on K2, when under his guidance twelve climbers had reached the top of the 8,611-meter-high mountain in the Karakoram, the 31-year-old expedition leader of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination set off with a team for a late-in-season summit attempt on neighboring Broad Peak. According to the GPS tracker of his client John Snorri Sigurjónsson, the team today reached Camp 2 at about 6,200 meters. Last week, John had become the first Icelander on the summit of K 2, the second highest mountain on earth.

Date

2. August 2017 | 16:39

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Czechs complete new route on Gasherbrum I

Marek Holecek, in the background Gasherbrum I

Marek Holecek has fulfilled his great dream. In the fifth run, the 43-year-old Czech climber completed a new route via the Southwest Face of the eight-thousander Gasherbrum I. On Monday, Marek, according to his own words, reached together with his countryman Zdenek Hak the 8,080 meter-high-summit of the mountain in the Karakoram, which is also called Hidden Peak. Today they returned to the base camp safe and sound, but “dead tired, smelly, emaciated more than the world’s top models”, as Marek told the Czech website “lidovky.cz”.

Date

1. August 2017 | 11:44

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Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: “Perfect teamwork on K2”

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa on the summit of K2

The base camp at K 2, the second highest mountain on earth, will turn empty in the coming days. Andrzej Bargiel and his Polish friends declared that their ski expedition was over after they had finished their summit attempt at the weekend because of too much avalanche danger. The Swedish Fredrik Sträng and his Pakistani companion also turned around. The commercial expedition operators Furtenbach Adventure and Himalayan Experience had previously thrown in the towel.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the operator Dreamers Destination, can return to Nepal highly satisfied. Under the guidance of the 31-year-old a team of twelve climbers had reached the 8,611-meter-high summit on Friday. These were the first summit successes on K2 since 2014, when Mingma had also been one of the successful climbers there and had climbed up without breathing mask. In spring 2017, the extremely high performing Sherpa had already scaled along with clients the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri and Makalu. This summer he had reached with a team the summit ridge of Nanga Parbat without knowing if they had really found the highest point. After his success on K2, I have sent Mingma some questions. Here are his answers:

Mingma, first of all congrats to you and your team. Great performance! Some expedition leaders turned around due to the avalanche risk which they valued as being too high. What made you feel confident that it could work?

Date

31. July 2017 | 13:55

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Summit successes on K2

K 2, seen from Base Camp

It was a tough piece of work. “Finally we are at the summit of K2,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination, wrote on Facebook. Besides him, eleven other climbers had reached the highest point at 8,611 meters, including six Sherpas, Mingma said. Obviously it took them about 16 hours to climb from the last high camp on the K2 Shoulder at about 7,650 meters up to the summit – no wonder considering the large amount of fresh snow, which had previously caused some teams to abandon their attempts due to the avalanche danger.

Date

28. July 2017 | 14:41

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Oscar Cadiach completes his 14×8000

Oscar Cadiach

The Beatles can not have meant Oscar Cadiach when they wrote the lyrics for their song “When I’m sixty-four”: “Yours sincerely, wasting away”. The Spanish climber is 64 years old but nothing could be further from wasting away. He is certainly fitter than most 32-year-olds. Today, Oscar completed his big project: The Catalan summited the 8051- meter-high Broad Peak in the Karakoram and has now stood on top of all 14 eight-thousanders without having used bottled oxygen. 33 years ago, Cadiach had scaled his first eight-thousander, also in Pakistan: Nanga Parbat.

Date

27. July 2017 | 18:56

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K 2 and Broad Peak: Summits within reach

K 2, the “King of the Eight-thousanders”

Will K2, after all, stretch out its hand for reconciliation? Despite the difficult weather and snow conditions on the second highest mountain on earth, today more than a dozen climbers have reached the highest camp on the K 2 Shoulder. “He just arrived at Camp 4,” Lina Moey, partner of the Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson, wrote on Facebook. “He is very tired, after almost twelve hours of climbing. This was a very long day and the snow reached up to his waist at some points. Fourteen people are planing to summit the peak, 9 of them are Sherpa. They had to dig 1.5 meter down to be able to put the tent down.” On 16 May, the 44-year-old Sigurjonsson had summited the 8516-meter-high Lhotse in Nepal. He was the first Icelander on the fourth highest mountain on earth. Also on the summit of K2, he would be the first climber of his country. John’s GPS tracker showed an altitude of 7,650 meters.

Date

26. July 2017 | 19:37

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Hard days in the Karakoram

Shadow of K2 falls on Broad Peak (there was better weather in 2004)

Damn hard or impossible? This question is likely to be answered in the next few days on the eight-thousanders K2 and Broad Peak. Summit bids are running on both mountains. “K2 is all about weather,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination, writes on Facebook today. “We had three days bad weather though weather report showed good (weather). Some teams on K2 are closed already and some in my team are going down too. But remaining, we still want to check 27 July.”

Date

25. July 2017 | 15:17

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The big wait on K 2

K 2 Base Camp

Waiting can wear down. For more than one and a half weeks, the freak weather in the Karakoram prevented major activities on K2, the second highest mountain on earth. A week ago, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa watched from Base Camp a big avalanche, which swept down over the normal route via the Abruzzi spur at about 7,000 meters. The 31-year-old head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination had to give up his plan to check what damage had been caused due to bad weather. Since then, he has been waiting for a summit change at the foot of the mountain, along with his clients and Climbing Sherpas. After all, the first team members left BC today heading for Camp 1. Before, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa answered my questions.

Mingma, how is the mood in K 2 Base Camp while waiting for a good weather window? 

Date

23. July 2017 | 8:20

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Spanish trio abandons summit attempt on Gasherbrum II

Route of the Spaniards on Gasherbrum II (blue)

Once again the weather in the Karakorum is a grab bag. “We are all still at Base Camp with the same 4 seasons in one day, sun, cloud, rain, snow, wind,” the New Zealand expedition leader Russell Brice wrote this week from K 2, the second highest mountain on earth. About 20 kilometers as the crow flies from there, Alberto Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza regardless of the freak weather started their ambitious attempt to traverse Gasherbrum I and II in Alpine style without descending to the base camp – 33 years after Reinhold Messner’s and Hans Kammerlander’s pioneering on these two eight-thousanders which has not yet been repeated to date.

Date

21. July 2017 | 16:15

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