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with Stefan Nestler

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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No Everest ascents without bottled oxygen after all

Everest (l.) in the first daylight

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.

Date

1. June 2018 | 14:24

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Hillary Step, last take!

The spot formerly known as Hillary Step

I vow to stop writing about the Hillary Step after this blog post. Because where nothing is, nothing has to be reported. “It is 100 percent that Hillary step is gone,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader of the Nepalese operator “Imagine”, writes to me. On 14 May, the 32-year-old had climbed to a point between the South Summit (at 8,750 meters) and the former Hillary Step (8,790 meters), where he had waited for hours for the return of his summit team and thus had plenty of time, to take a close look at the spot. On the Hillary Step, says Mingma, “no more debate is required further in future”. No matter what the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism is saying. Before this spring’s season, the authority had actually subpoenally obligated all climbers not to make any statement about the Hillary Step to the media.

Date

29. May 2018 | 15:14

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Success on Everest and Lhotse w/o O2, three 8000ers in 25 days

Tenjing Sherpa climbing Everest

The good weather window in the Himalayas is impressively long. Since this spring’s first ascent of Mount Everest on 13 May by the Sherpa team that had fixed the ropes up to the summit on the south side of the mountain, climbers have reached the highest point at 8,850 meters day after day. Several hundred summit successes have since been counted. Today, Tenjing Sherpa also succeeded, without bottled oxygen. The 26-year-old wants to climb directly afterwards the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse, if conditions allow it. According to Iswari Poudel, managing director of the expedition organizer “Himalayan Guides”, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, just like Tenjing, reached the summit without breathing mask today. It was already Lakpa’s third (!) Everest ascent this season, Poudel said.

Date

24. May 2018 | 14:02

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Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours

Tendi Sherpa on Lhotse

The fast double pack connecting the highest and the fourth highest mountain on earth becomes more and more popular. This spring season, several climbers scaled the 8,516-meter high Lhotse, after they had been on the 8,850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest a day earlier. The new “Seven Summits” record holder Steve Plain from Australia and Brit Jon Gupta started the line on 14/15 May (see the video below). The Nepalese expedition leader Tendi Sherpa and US climber Mat Wood managed the feat on 18/19 May. Finally, on Sunday/Monday, the American Matt Moniz and his Argentinian mentor Willie Benegas followed.

Date

22. May 2018 | 14:50

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Nobukazu Kuriki died on Everest

Nobukazu Kuriki (1982 -2018)

The Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has been found dead today on Mount Everest. The 35-year-old had reported yesterday from Camp 3 at 7,400 meters via Facebook. It was hard, said Kuriki, assuring he would be careful. This morning, his team informed that Nobukazu was in bad shape and that he was descending. Later, he did not respond to radio calls. His camera crew climbed up and found Kuriki lifeless near Camp 2.

Date

21. May 2018 | 18:14

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Moniz/Benegaz: Everest summit success after all

Willie Benegas (l.) and Matt Moniz (r.)

All’s well that ends well. Today, 20-year-old American Matt Moniz and his mentor, 49-year-old Argentine Willie Benegas, reached the 8,850-meter summit of Mount Everest. “0459 Summit! We’re on top of the world,” Matt tweeted. On Wednesday, the two climbers also want to scale neighboring Lhotse (8,516 m) , the fourth highest mountain on earth. As reported, the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism had considered revoking Moniz’ and Benegas’ climbing permits. The reason: They had skied down the Lhotse flank during an acclimatization climb – without having a so-called “ski permit”. However, only a few knew about the existence of such a special permit. After about 150 Climbing Sherpas had campaigned for Matt and Willie in an open letter to the Ministry of Tourism for Matt and Willie, the people in charge gave in talking about a “very innocent mistake”. The way for today’s Everest summit attempt was free.

Date

20. May 2018 | 17:51

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Everest records and more

Record holder Lhakpa Sherpa

The authors of the Guinness Book of Records must put pen to paper. The information about the climbers with the highest number of Everest ascents has to be updated – both for women and for men. According to her brother Mingma Gelu Sherpa, Lhakpa Sherpa today reached the summit at 8,850 meters from the Tibetan north side. For the 44-year-old it was the ninth ascent of the highest of all mountains. Lhakpa, who lives in the USA with her two daughters at the age of eleven and 16, has already held this record. By the way, on her first ascent in 2000, Lhakpa Sherpa was the first Nepalese female climber who did not only summit Everest but also returned safe and sound to base camp. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first woman from Nepal on top of Everest, had died in 1993 on the descent.

Date

16. May 2018 | 19:15

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8000er summit successes and a death on Makalu

Tibetan north side of Everest

Now, also from the Tibetan north side, the first climbers out of commercial teams have scaled Mount Everest. Swiss expedition leader Kari Kobler reported that three of his clients reached the highest point at 8,850 meters today. On Monday, the team responsible for fixing the ropes via the Northeast Ridge to the summit, had finished their work. This had already happened a day earlier on the Nepalese south side. On Monday about 50 mountaineers had climbed to the highest point on the southern route. Among them was the Australian Steve Plain. The 36-year-old set a new time record for climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountains of all continents.

Date

15. May 2018 | 15:52

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Double amputee from China on top of Everest

Xia auf der Everest-Südseite

In the fifth attempt, Xia Boyu made it. As Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition”, wrote on Facebook, the 69-year-old Chinese was among 14 members of his team, who today reached the summit of Mount Everest at 8,850 meters. Among the summiteers was also Nima Jangmu Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to scale Everest and neighboring Lhotse in one season. She had also been part of the Mingma-led team that had succeeded the first eight-thousander summit success of the spring season on 29 April on Lhotse.

Date

14. May 2018 | 13:14

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Everest and Co.: Summit successes and a sad news

South side of Mount Everest

Mount Everest was scaled for the first time in this spring season. Today, eight climbers from Nepal reached the highest point at 8,850 meters after climbing up on the south side of the mountain. Pasang Tenjing Sherpa, Pasdawa Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Jen Jen Lama, Siddi Bahadur Tamang, Pemba Chhiri Sherpa, Tenzing Gyaljen Sherpa and Datuk Bhote fixed ropes up to the summit, paving the way for the clients of the commercial expedition teams.

Date

13. May 2018 | 17:11

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