The movie “Everest” works if you consume it as if you were to take a shower outside on a hot summer day: Just let the water flow, don’t think too much! Then you’ll really enjoy the 3-D dolly shots which were filmed in Nepal: for instance from above down to the suspension bridge that crosses the river Dudh Kosi in dizzy heights near Namche Bazar or the view of the Western Cwm, the “Valley of Silence”, above the Khumbu Icefall. In this case you’ll likely find the movie’s story about the disaster on Everest in 1996, when eight climbers were killed in a storm in the summit area, exciting. And you’ll probably stand up from your cinema seat after two hours with the feeling of having been well entertained and seen a cinematic well-made mountain action drama. It only becomes problematic if you take the note at the beginning of the film seriously: “Based on a true story”.
Date4. September 2015 | 12:57
TagsBoukreev, Brolin, Disaster 1996, Gyllenhall, Kneightley, Kormakur, Krakauer, Mount Everest, Movie, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Watson, Wrigth
It has gone out of style to climb Mount Everest in fall. This happened even though some of the most spectacular summit successes on the highest mountain in the world have been made in the post-monsoon period: Remember only the first ascent through the Everest Southwest Face by the British Doug Scott and Dougal Haston in September 1975 or the success of the US-American Carlos Buhler, Kim Momb and Lou Reichardt via the East Face in October 1983. However, the climbing season has moved more and more into spring since commercial expeditions have taken over on Everest – due to higher temperatures compared to fall and to the usually lower risk of avalanches. Since 2000, only 36 summit successes have been recorded in September or October – next to nothing compared with over 5,000 ascents in spring since the turn of the millennium. The last ascent to the top of Everest in fall dates from five years ago: In October 2010, the American Eric Larsen and five Sherpas reached the highest point at 8,850 meters. This fall, there will be another attempt to climb Everest from the Nepalese south side. According to the “Himalayan Times” the so-called “Icefall Doctors” – a group of high specialized Sherpas – arrived at Base Camp in order to fix a route through the Khumbu Icefall.
Date19. August 2015 | 9:55
A twelve-year-old boy on top of Everest? Professor Thomas Kuepper can only shake his head. The occupational health and sport physician at the University Hospital Aachen is an internationally recognized authority on high altitude medicine who is also advising the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA). I had asked him what he thinks about the American Tyler, aged eleven today, who – as reported in my blog – wants to climb Mount Everest next spring. “You should file a charge of child abuse”, Kuepper wrote back disgustedly.
Date11. August 2015 | 9:59
Tyler Armstrong wants to break the record. Or do his parents want him to do it? Or all three? Anyway, the family of the eleven-year-old (!) US-American has announced that Tyler will try to scale Mount Everest in spring 2016. Crazy! Then Tyler would be twelve years and four months old – thus one and a half years younger than his compatriot Jordan Romero, who climbed Everest in 2010 from the Tibetan north side and who since that time is registered in the record lists as the youngest climber ever on the highest mountain on earth.
Date6. August 2015 | 16:35
TagsExpedition 2016, Jordan Romero, Malavath Poorna, Mount Everest, Temba Tsheri Sherpa, Tyler Armstrong
Trailer of “Everest” with donation appeal
Good mountaineering movies are few and far between. They often snatch effects, are unrealistic or just cheesy. Let’s see if the film “Everest” will be a laudable exception. Now the first official trailer of the movie has been released (see below). Laudably, the Universal Studios and the film crew appeal for donations to the earthquake victims in Nepal in the closing credits of the trailer. There is no such appeal in the German version – a pity! The movie “Everest” will start in the cinemas in September. It tells the story of the Everest accident in 1996, when eight members of commercial expeditions died in a storm in the summit area. Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” about the events on 10 and 11 May 1996, was an international bestseller and triggered a discussion about commercial climbing on Everest. There are many Hollywood stars in the new Everest film.
From Gyllenhall to Knightley
Jake Gyllenhaal (known i.a. from the movie “Brokeback Mountain”) plays US mountain guide Scott Fischer, who died in the storm as well as New Zealand guide Rob Hall, who is portrayed in the film by Jason Clarke (“The Great Gatsby”). Josh Brolin (“True Grit”) plays the US client Beck Weathers, who miraculously survived the storm night outdoors but suffered from severe frostbite. There are also top actresses for the female roles. Robin Wright (“Forrest Gump”) plays Weathers’ wife Peach. Keira Knightley (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) takes on the role of Rob Hall’s pregnant wife Jan who was speaking via satellite phone with her dying man on Everest.
Riegler brothers as doubles
The mountain scenes were filmed earlier this year in Val Senales in South Tyrol. The shooting lasted five weeks. The “Everest Base Camp” of the film was on the glacier Hochjochferner, 3000 meters high. “For other shootings the stars are picked up by limousines. Here they went by glacier lifts or snowcats”, said producer Nicky Kentish Barnes. “The stars fought bravely.” But they had not to become extreme mountaineers. Eleven climbers had been engaged to double the actors in snow and ice, including the two South Tyrolean extreme climbing brothers Florian and Martin Riegler. They were not allowed to say which actors they doubled. The climbing brothers already had movie experience. In 2012 they played in the film “Messner”: Martin, born in 1980, took on the role of Reinhold Messner, the two years younger Florian played Guenter Messner, who lost his life on Nanga Parbat in 1970.
Date5. June 2015 | 17:21
TagsBrolin, Clarke, Florian Riegler, Gyllenhall, Knightley, Martin Riegler, Mount Everest, Movie Everest, Val Senales, Wright
Temba Tsheri reached the summit of Mount Everest when he was 16 years and 14 days old. The Nepalese schoolboy from Rolwaling Valley had joined a French team that climbed from the Tibetan north side to the top of Everest. Then, in 2001, he was the youngest climber ever who had scaled the highest mountain on earth. (Nine years later he was followed by 13-year-old American Jordan Romero.) In spring 2000, Temba had tried to climb Everest from the south side. Just below the summit he had had to return, because he had lost too much time because of a traffic jam at the Hillary Step. He had lost five fingers due to frostbite.
Later Temba Tsheri Sherpa studied at the University of Wuhan in China and started his own business, organizing expeditions. When the devastating earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April, he was the managing director of “Dreamers Destination”, an operator based in Kathmandu that had a large expedition group on Everest. The huge avalanche from Pumori, that was triggered by the earthquake and hit Everest Base Camp, killed three of Temba’s foreign clients and two Nepali staff members. I asked the 30-year-old Sherpa about the situation in his homeland after the earthquake.
Temba, what is your personal balance of the earthquake disaster – or in other words: What have you lost?
Date26. May 2015 | 18:50
TagsAvalanche, Dreamers Destination, Earthquake, Mount Everest, Nepal, Rolwaling, Temba Tsheri Sherpa
A video of two minutes and 28 seconds has made Jost Kobusch known throughout the world in one go. It shows the huge avalanche from the seven-thousander Pumori that was triggered by the earthquake in Nepal on 25 April and devastated Everest Base Camp. 19 people lost their lives. Jost survived and put his video online on YouTube. It spread like wildfire. The 22-year-old German climber grew up near the town of Bielefeld. Talking to me, he called himself a cosmopolitan: “I travel a lot. Last year, I lived in Kyrgyzstan for six months, in Nepal for two months, in Svalbard for two month and in Japan for a month. There was not much time left for my home address.” At the end of May, Kobusch wants to return to Nepal to help where it is possible. Afterwards he will travel to Kyrgyzstan, to the village of Arslanbob, some 200 kilometers southwest of the capital Bishkek, where he plans to initiate a climbing project with local people. I talked to Jost about his experiences after the earthquake in Nepal.
Jost, what did you think this week when you heard about the new earthquake in Nepal?
I was sitting in front of my computer and received on Facebook a message from a friend who wrote: We survived. Till then I had not heard anything about it. I immediately wrote to all my Nepalese friends whether they were doing well. A friend, who normally replies promptly, did not answer, neither in the evening nor the next morning. I started to get worried. Fortunately, she replied after all. She wrote that they were now living in a tent, because it was safer. That made me a little bit nervous. I’ll soon go to Nepal. I worry about my own safety.
Date17. May 2015 | 16:07
The Base Camps on both sides of Mount Everest have got empty eleven days after the devastating earthquake in Nepal. The climbers are on their way back. What about their permits, after they could not even make a single attempt to climb the highest mountain on earth? In Nepal, the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) has requested the government to extend this year’s permits until 2016.
Date6. May 2015 | 15:50
The first videos showing the disaster area provide pure horror: An entire village as erased. Except for a single house, standing directly at the slope of the mountain and being protected by an overhanging rock, a huge mudslide has destroyed or buried all buildings in Langtang Village. Until the earthquake ten days ago, about 200 people had been living in the village at about 3,500 meters, located on the very popular trekking route through the Langtang Valley. Hardly anyone survived. Around 100 bodies have been recovered, among the dead are also foreign tourists.
Date5. May 2015 | 15:52
China shows its friendly face. For 10 May, the Chinese government is planning “to provide a charter flight free of charge form Lhasa to Kathmandu for all Sherpas – not just for Climbing Sherpas, but also for cooks and kitchen helpers”, Ralf Dujmovits wrote to me calling it “a generous gesture” – despite the expected propaganda of the Chinese. The most successful German mountaineer arrived in Lhasa, like many other western climbers who were on expedition in Tibet. “The China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) generously bears the costs of transport to Lhasa, accommodation and meals. And they take care of the visa formalities for the stranded climbers coming from all Tibetan peaks”, the 53-year-old said.
Date4. May 2015 | 14:52
TagsAvalanche, CTMA, Earthquake, Langtang, Lhasa, Nancy Hansen, Nepal, Ralf Dujmovits, Sindhupalchowk, Tibet
A few climbers are incorrigible. „I wish it was all so simple, but I am afraid not. I still have expedition members who call me to say that they have not experienced any death, or any disadvantage and that it is my responsibility to continue climbing“, Russell Brice, head of the New Zealand expedition operator Himalayan Experience, wrote in his newsletter from Everest Base Camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. On Friday, Brice had abandoned all Himex expeditions in Nepal: „Now having considered all facts, I can tell you that we will not be continuing any of our ascents in Nepal this season.“
Date3. May 2015 | 15:54
Although a few teams still stay at the Base Camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest, the spring climbing season in Nepal seems to be de facto as good as finished. Whether on Everest or the eight-thousanders Makalu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, the majority of climbers have packed up and made their way back. In Tibet, where the Chinese authorities forbade any further mountain activities on the eight-thousanders, the expedition leaders are organizing the return home of their climbers via Lhasa and Beijing instead of the otherwise usual way back via Kathmandu. The departure by land to Nepal is currently not possible.
Date1. May 2015 | 10:49
Business as usual on Mount Everest very soon after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal? The government of Nepal seems to be determined to continue the climbing season on the highest mountain on earth despite the chaotic situation all over the country. “The ladders (on the route through the Khumbu Icefall) will be repaired in the next two to three days and climbing will continue, there is no reason for anyone to quit their expeditions,” tourism department chief Tulsi Gautam told the French news agency AFP. Gyanendra Shrestha, another official of the Nepalese Tourism Ministry confirmed: “We have not called off the expeditions. A couple of teams have told us they still want to go ahead.” If the route from Base Camp to Camp 2 is restored, teams who want to can attempt the climb, he said. “Adventure is like that”, Shrestha said. “It is full of the unknown. You have to be safe on your own. The government can’t prevent disasters.”
Date30. April 2015 | 16:34
First of all: Compared to the suffering in Nepal after the earthquake of last Saturday – now more than 5,000 deaths and 10,000 injuries have been counted – it seems almost insignificant what is happening on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest. But I also give reports on the consequences of the terrible tragedy in Nepal for the climbers in the region – and there are still several hundred mountaineers in Tibet, including many Sherpas from Nepal. All will go home now. Whether they like it or not, they have to. “It’s official: Everest is closed for this season”, expedition leader Dominik Mueller, head of the German operator Amical alpin, writes from “Chinese Base Camp” on the north side of Mount Everest. Yesterday Mueller had abandoned his expedition, one day before the decisive meeting of the expedition leaders with representatives of the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) in Base Camp at 5,150 meters.
Date29. April 2015 | 16:33
TagsAlois Fuchs, China, Dominik Mueller, Earthquake, Hospital, Matthias Baumann, Mount Everest, Nepal, Russell Brice, Tibet
Breaking news: Season on Everest north side is over
“It’s official: Tibetan north side of Everest is closed for this spring season”, reports expedition leader Dominik Mueller, head of the German operator Amical alpin, from Chinese Basecamp. There was a last decisive meeting between the expedition leaders and Chinese officials this morning. Other climbers confirm the end of the season. More details later.
Date29. April 2015 | 13:33