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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Rugby on Everest

This is where the game is to be played

Mount Everest has long been an event venue. Thus in 2009, the Nepalese government moved a cabinet meeting to the base camp at the foot of Mount Everest to attract media attention. Also there the British DJ Paul Oakenfold gave a benefit concert in 2017. Last year a British star chef organized the “world’s highest dinner party” on the Tibetan north side of Everest: exclusive dining on the North Col at about 7,000 meters, with a white tablecloth, candlestick and champagne. And it goes on. Next spring, Everest will probably host the highest rugby match of all time.

Date

17. January 2019 | 16:23

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In their husbands’ Everest footsteps

Furdiki Sherpa (l.) and Nima Doma Sherpa (r.)

Mount Everest took their husbands. And the fathers of their children. Nevertheless, Nima Doma Sherpa and Furdiki Sherpa want to climb the highest mountain on earth this spring. “We are doing our expedition for the respect of our late husbands because they were mountaineers too,” Nima Doma replies to my question about the purpose of their project. “And we want to motivate all the widows.” Everest has left a lot of single mothers behind. According to the mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, 37 Sherpas have died there in the past 20 years alone. Furdiki’s husband, Mingma Sherpa, belonged to the so-called “Icefall Doctors” who set up and secure the route through the Khumbu Icefall every year. The 44-year-old died in a fall into a crevasse on 7 April 2013. One year later, on 18 April 2014, Nima Doma Sherpa’s husband, Tshering Wangchu Sherpa, was one of the 16 Nepalese victims of the major avalanche accident in the Icefall

Date

9. January 2019 | 16:49

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The “Snow Leopard” from Mount Everest

Ang Rita Sherpa with certificates of the Guinness Book of Records

Ang Rita Sherpa‘s Everest record could be one for eternity. The legendary climber from Nepal, who the locals reverently call “Snow Leopard”, is now 70 years old. No other climber has scaled the highest mountain on earth as often without bottled oxygen as Ang Rita did in the 1980s and 90s. “His record of nine will probably stand for a long time since current climbing Sherpas are required to use O2 by their companies,” Richard Salisbury from the “Himalayan Database” writes to me.

Date

7. December 2018 | 0:01

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Commercial Everest winter expedition postponed

Everest (l.) in the first daylight

In the coming winter there will be no commercial winter expedition to the highest mountain on earth after all. The Nepalese operator “Seven Summit Treks” (SST) postponed their Everest project by one year to winter 2019/2020. “We are personally busy this year”, board director Chhang Dawa Sherpa writes to me, adding that a strong SST team will accompany the Spaniard Alex Txikon on his upcoming winter expedition to K2 in Pakistan.

Date

5. December 2018 | 12:01

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Stricter regulations for expeditions on the Tibetan eight-thousanders

Tibetan north side of Mount Everest

The expedition operators in Nepal might have been so shocked that they dropped their pencils. In the “New Regulations for Foreign Expeditions 2019” in Tibet (available to me) it says under point 6: “In order to ensure the healthy and orderly development of mountaineering and minimize the occurrence of mountaineering accidents, mountaineering teams which were organized in Nepal temporarily will not be accepted.” As I have learned from a reliable source, a delegation from Nepal immediately traveled to China to have this regulation removed or at least weakened. Apparently the delegates of the Nepali operators were at least partially successful. Some agencies, however, are supposedly to receive no more approval. The Chinese and Tibetan Mountaineering Associations announced to cooperate in future only “with expedition companies with good social reputation, strong ability of team formation, logistic support, reliable service quality, excellent professional quality, and (who are) law-abiding”.

Date

4. December 2018 | 16:48

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“Warm” ice in Everest glacier

Khumbu glacier

The Khumbu Glacier at the foot of Mount Everest is apparently even more endangered by climate change than previously assumed. British glaciologists, who measured the ice temperature of the glacier in 2017 and 2018, point to this. At three drill sites up to an altitude of about 5,200 meters near Everest base camp, they used a specified adapted car wash unit to conduct hot water under high pressure into the ice. The scientists hung strings with temperature sensors in the resulting holes, the deepest of which reached about 130 meters deep into the ice. “The temperature range we measured was warmer than we expected – and hoped – to find,” says Duncan Quincey of Leeds University, leader of the “EverDrill” project.

Date

23. November 2018 | 14:49

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Family trip onto Mount Everest

The Hillary grandchildren Alexander, Lily and George (from l.) in Auckland

The Hillarys seem to carry an Everest gene. Edmund Hillary succeeded in 1953 with the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay the first ascent of the highest mountain on earth. In 1990 and 2003, his son Peter followed in his father’s footsteps and reached the top of Everest at 8,850 meters twice. And in a year and a half, in spring 2020, three of the six grandchildren of the first Everest summiter could follow: Lily, Alexander and George Hillary.

Date

10. November 2018 | 22:02

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Soon only e-vehicles in Tibetan Everest Base Camp?

North side of Everest

Will the mountaineers on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest be chauffeured to the base camp next spring with electric buggies, as we know them from golf courses? This Tibetan provincial government’s plan is reported by Chinese state media. Step by step, all vehicles without electric motors should be banned from the base camp in order to reduce air pollution, it said. “In peak season, the camp welcomes an average of 200 to 400 vehicles every day,” said Tang Wu, director of Tibet’s Tourism Development Commission. “The camp receives an average of 20,000 vehicles every year.”

Date

2. November 2018 | 15:17

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First commercial winter expedition on Mount Everest?

Mount Everest

Winter climbing on the eight-thousanders was previously reserved for the best and toughest. In the 1980s, the heyday of winter expeditions to the world’s highest mountains, the Polish experts for the cold season were called “Ice Warriors”. In that decade they achieved seven winter first ascents of eight-thousanders. Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy kicked off on 17 February 1980 on the highest of all mountains, Mount Everest. It’s strange that a commercial winter expedition might pitch up their tents there for the first time.

Date

24. October 2018 | 19:50

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Penalty for fake Everest permit

Mount Everest

If it is about its own income, the Nepalese government can’t take a joke. According to the newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the Ministry of Tourism has fined Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks” 44,000 dollars for forging a permit for Mount Everest. In spring, the authority granted a permit to an expedition led by the Chinese Sun Yiguan and managed by “Seven Summit Treks” to climb the highest mountain on earth. The original document was issued for twelve member. Later a fake version appeared in which an Australian and a Chinese climber had been added.

Date

31. August 2018 | 15:54

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48 hours, two German women, one summit: Mount Everest

South side of Mount Everest

It would not have taken much more for the two women from Germany to shake hands on the roof of the world. Within 48 hours Ingrid Schittich at first, then Susanne Müller-Zantop reached the 8850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest last spring: Schittich on 15 May from the Tibetan north side, Müller-Zantop on 17 May from the Nepalese south side. They didn’t know about each other. Billi Bierling, head of the mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, first drew their attention to the fact that they had narrowly missed each other on Everest.

Date

20. July 2018 | 15:56

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Did Nobukazu Kuriki overtighten the screw?

Everest Southwest Face

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.

Date

26. June 2018 | 7:58

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A mess on Everest

Garbage in Everest high camp

“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.”

Date

11. June 2018 | 15:55

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Lämmle after Makalu and Lhotse: “Tactics worked”

Thomas Lämmle on top of Lhotse

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?

Date

6. June 2018 | 20:49

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Everest/Makalu: Clarifications

South side of Mount Everest

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.”

Date

5. June 2018 | 14:05

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