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with Stefan Nestler

First summit successes on Everest, confusion on Makalu

North side of Mount Everest

The ropes are fixed up to the summit of Mount Everest – at least on the north side of the highest mountain on earth. On Thursday, according to consistent reports, nine Sherpas of an Indian team, responsible for securing the normal route on the Tibetan side, reached the highest point at 8,850 meters. The Nepalese operator Arun Treks, who had organized the expedition, dedicated these first ascents of the Everest season to the Swiss climber Ueli Steck, who had fallen to death on Nuptse on 30 April.

Summit, pre-summit or even below?

Meanwhile, the situation on Makalu remains confused. Who was how far up? On Wednesday – as reported – some teams had reported summit successes on the fifth highest mountain on earth. The German climber Thomas Laemmle, who is staying in the Advanced Base Camp after he had canceled his own summit attempt, wrote on Facebook, these were “fake news”: “So far nobody summited Makalu this season! Not even the fore-summit was reached due to lack of 100m fixed rope.”

Elisabeth Revol on Makalu

The Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol had informed via Facebook: “We stopped at the antecime (pre-summit). To the main summit too much snow, wind patches and too much wind. We were only 3 without oxygen on 20 climbers.“ I asked her via email whether this applied to all of the 20 climbers she had mentioned. “Yes, everyone turned back on antecime … not safe to climb,” Elisabeth replied.

On Thursday, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination, announced: “We are now on Makalu summit. Clear weather and great view.” On 30 April on Dhaulagiri, the 31-year-old Mingma had succeeded the first summit success on an eight-thousander this spring, along with two more Sherpas and two clients. If his success on Makalu is confirmed, it is Mingma’s tenth eight-thousander. Only on Mount Everest, which he has climbed already five times, he used bottled oxygen.

Date

12. May 2017 | 14:32

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  • Mingma has posted one shot from his phone that appears to confirm he continued to the summit so we should all see his summit shot soon. I’ve been on mountains with these quiet scandals before and in the past I’ve always felt that I do what I do and let others live with what they do – including collecting accolades based on incomplete truths. That was before the land of social media and the ability to do quickly achieve widespread distribution of misinformation. I leave some room for being slightly hypoxia and mistaken on the part of others but instead of directly correcting the original misinformation, others have interestingly “kind of” quietly stepped back from the summit claim but almost implied that they still reached a summit (the North summit) but did not carry on to the main summit. What’s missing is any acknowledgement that one is not the other. Instead they accept a slew of congratulations. The implication if left unaddressed is that it was close enough and it counts as a bonafide Summit or Makalu. The North summit is not the main summit. Perhaps I’m old fashioned but Shishapangma central clearly is not viewed as Shishapangma main. I own my effort for Shishapangma Central (and it helps my ego that no one made the main summit that year) but I know full well and make it very clear that it was not a true summit. Is the North summit of Makalu an exception? Clearly Mingma didn’t think so.

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