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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Decision on Nanga Parbat postponed, Urubko in Camp 2 on K2

Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

Do you already have aching muscles from keeping fingers crossed? Your pain could become even stronger. Because the summit bid of the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol that was expected already for Sunday is delayed. “We are in Camp 3, (it’s) windy (with speeds of)  about 100 km/h,” Tomek is quoted today on his Facebook page. “Tomorrow Camp 4, summit push (on) 25 January. Good weather (is expected for) that day.” In fact, the weather forecast for the summit at 8,125 meters predicts for Thursday the lowest wind speeds this week: between 15 and 25 km/h. Assuming this forecast is correct, it will be almost calm, however with minus 42 degrees Celsius quite cold, some clouds are expected. Mackiewicz and Revol climb without bottled oxygen.

Date

22. January 2018 | 14:53

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Summit attempt on Nanga Parbat?

Elisabeth Revol (l.) and Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

“We are acclimatized. We’ll try to reach the summit.” Tomek Mackiewicz is quoted on his Facebook page with these words. After about two weeks of strong winds, the weather on Nanga Parbat had improved, the conditions were good, it said. Tomek and his climbing partner Elisabeth Revol probably set off today towards their material depot at 6,700 meters.

Date

18. January 2018 | 15:22

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Helga Hengge: “Everest has given me a lot”

Helga Hengge in Cologne

You have only successfully climbed a mountain when you reach after the summit also the valley safe and sound. In this sense, Helga Hengge was the first successful German female mountaineer on Mount Everest. As a member of a commercial expedition team in spring 1999, she climbed from the Tibetan north side to the 8850-meter-high summit. Hannelore Schmatz had been the first German woman to reach the highest point of Everest in fall 1979, but she had died of exhaustion at 8,300 meters on her descent.

In 2011, Hengge became the first German female climber to complete the collection of the “Seven Summits”, the highest mountains of all continents. Helga is now 51 years old. She lives with her husband, her twelve-year-old daughter and her eleven-year-old son in Munich – and still goes to the mountains. Last fall, she tackled the 6543-meter-high Shivling in the Indian Himalayas. I met her on the margins of a lecture in Cologne.

Helga, it’s almost 19 years since you were on Mount Everest. Do you have any special relationship with the mountain?

Date

17. January 2018 | 23:27

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Camp 2 reached on Everest, storm on K2 and Nanga Parbat

Alex Txikon in Everest high camp (in the background on the right Pumori)

Alex Txikon is pleased with the progress made so far on his winter expedition on Mount Everest. On Sunday, the Spaniard and five Sherpas ascended from the base camp on the previously prepared route through the Khumbu Icefall, slept in Camp 1 at 6,050 meters and reached Camp 2 on Monday. “I am very happy, I did not think for a moment that we were going to reach Camp 2 at 6,500 meters in just one day and with a small team of only six people,” says the 36-year-old.

Date

16. January 2018 | 13:03

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Hillary’s final resting place with Everest view

Hillary Stupa above Khumjung

It is a beautiful place. Located on a hill above Khumjung, off the small path that leads down to the village. With a view to Mount Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Sir Edmund Hillary would have liked the place. For more than five years, a small part of his ashes has been resting there – in a stupa built in honor of the first ascender of Everest. Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the death of the New Zealander. At the age of 88, Hillary had died on 11 January 2008 in Auckland. Most of his ashes were later scattered on the harbour of his hometown, at the express request of the deceased, as his son Peter Hillary once told me: “The city was the base camp for his expeditions. He was definitely an Aucklander.”

Date

12. January 2018 | 17:08

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Everest winter expedition: On the double to Camp 1

Alex Txikon in the Khumbu Icefall

This went fast. In just four days, the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Sherpas Tenzing Gyalzen, Gelje, Cheppal, Walung Dorji and Pasang Norbu have completed the route through the Khumbu Icefall and reached Camp 1 at 6,050 meters. “Great job, we are very happy,” says Alex, adding that it was really hard work, each of them had carried between 25 and 35 kilos. The 36-year-old Basque points out that it took the six climbers five days less for this first major task than his team during the failed winter attempt in 2017 – despite the fact that at that time eleven, i.e. five more expedition members had been involved in the work. “The route through the icefall is very complex and required our full concentration,” says Alex. According to his words, he had searched together with the “Icefall Doctor” Gelje Sherpa for the ice areas with the lowest risk of collapsing.

Date

12. January 2018 | 0:01

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New Everest rules: Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut

Mount Everest

No more permits for solo climbers, blind and double amputees – following the argument of the Nepalese government, this makes the highest mountains in the world safer. A look at the facts shows that a sledgehammer is to be used to crack a nut. For example, let’s take a look at what’s happening on Mount Everest. The Himalayan Database (now freely accessible to all, thus also to the government of Nepal) has so far recorded 1967 expeditions to the highest mountain in the world. Of these, only six – say 0.3 percent – were classified as solo expeditions.

Date

3. January 2018 | 18:12

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Nepal adopts new rules for Everest and Co.

Everest, Lhotse, Makalu (from l. to r.)

The time has come. According to reports of the newspapers “Kathmandu Post”  and “The Himalayan Times”, the government of Nepal has adopted some new rules for expeditions – “to improve the safety of the climbers”, as Tourism Secretary Maheswor Neupane said. The new rules apply to all mountains above 6,600 meters – these fall under the responsibility of the government – and will be in force already in the spring season 2018.

Date

30. December 2017 | 11:33

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New Everest rules in Nepal? Wait and eat Dal Bhat!

Dal Bhat

The fact that this news pops up every year is almost as certain as the lentils in the Nepalese national dish Dal Bhat: The government in Kathmandu wants to change the mountaineering rules on Mount Everest. The emphasis is on “wants to”. In the end, there is always nothing more than this statement of intent, because the proposed amendment gets stuck in any department – or the current government is replaced by a new one. The Ministry of Tourism is now announcing for the umpteenth time that the rules for granting Everest permits will be tightened.

Date

7. December 2017 | 0:33

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Highest court of Nepal scraps Everest record

Mount Everest

The Supreme Court of Nepal, the highest court in the Himalayan state, does not recognize the supposedly fastest ascent of Mount Everest. There was no evidence that Pemba Dorje Sherpa really ascended on 21 May 2004 in just eight hours and 10 minutes from the base camp on the south side of the highest mountain in the world to the summit at 8,850 meters, the court said, adding that there was no summit picture, nor could another climber confirm that Pemba Dorje had been at the top that day. The court said that the record was now back to Lakpa Gelu Sherpa, who had reached the summit on 26 May 2003 in ten hours and 56 minutes.

Date

29. November 2017 | 14:38

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Biogas from Everest faeces

This is where the biogas plant is to be built

There are things that stink to high heaven – quite literally. For example, if up to 1000 climbers, high altitude porters, cooks, kitchen helpers and other staff relieve themselves for two months during the spring season in the base camp on the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest. The number of 12,000 kilograms of faeces has been reported for years, which seems to me rather low. The removal of the human waste from Everest Base Camp has been regulated for a long time, in contrast to the faecal problem in the high camps. The excrements from the toilet tents of the expeditions are collected in barrels and carried downwards by so-called “shit porters” – until 2014 without exception to Gorak Shep, the next small settlement, located  about five kilometers from the base camp, now also further down the valley. There the faeces have been tipped into pits thus posing a great danger to the drinking water. The International Climbing and Moutaineering Association (UIAA) has now awarded an environmental protection project which could make an important contribution to tackling the problem.

Date

28. October 2017 | 14:59

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The eternal rascal

Peter Habeler

Even aged 75, he appears to be a rascal. Good-humored, always good for a joke, the laugh lines on his face – and fit as a fiddle. “Climbing is my fountain of youth,” says Peter Habeler. The Tyrolean from the Zillertal is still climbing through steep walls. Shortly before his big birthday even through the Eiger North Face, along with David Lama, in winter. “It was something very special for me,” Peter tells me as we hike below the peaks of the Geisler group in the Villnöss Valley in the South Tyrolean Dolomites. “Many years ago, I discovered David’s talent when he did his first climbing as a little boy in my alpine school in the Zillertal. I saw that he would become a great climber.” Today Lama is one of the best climbers in the world. “When I climbed behind him in the Eiger North Face and watched how easily and smoothly he mastered even the most difficult passages, I felt like I was back in time when I myself was still young,” says Peter.

Date

14. October 2017 | 0:41

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Once upon a time … the Hillary Step

Hillary Step in 2017

The big boulder is gone. This is for sure. Tim Mosedale, a six-time Everest summiter from the UK, has added some pictures to Facebook to support his statement that the Hillary Step, the striking twelve-meter-high rock at 8,790 meters, no longer exists in its previous form. Tim’s pictures show: Where once a mighty boulder represented the last serious challenge before the summit, now only a few chunks are lying around. The British expedition leader had already claimed this in mid-May after his successful summit attempt: “It’s official. The Hillary Step is no more.”

Date

13. June 2017 | 16:37

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China cancels fall season on Tibet’s eight-thousanders

Janusz Adamski

This was not a good week for Janusz Adamski. First, the Nepalese government seized his passport and informed the Pole that he would be not allowed to enter Nepal for mountaineering in the next ten years. And now, the Chinese authorities made the 48-year-old the scapegoat for not issuing any permits next fall for the three eight-thousanders in Tibet. Adamski, who “illegally” scaled Mount Everest from the north side and then traversed to the south side on 21 May, was responsible that the rules and regulations had to be “adjusted and improved”, informed the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA). To ensure that the problems were solved in time by 2018, there would be no climbing permits for fall 2017, said the CTMA.

Date

8. June 2017 | 21:19

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Everest season: successes, records, deaths and more

North side of Everest in the last daylight

If a mountain could breathe a sight of relief, Mount Everest would probably do it now. A total of more than 1,000 climbers on both sides of the highest mountain on earth have left the base camps and have returned home. There is silence again on Chomolungma, as the Sherpas call the mountain. Time to take stock. The exact figures are not yet available, but this spring some 600 summit successes have been recorded, increasing the number since the first ascent in 1953 to more than 8000.

Date

7. June 2017 | 15:10

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