Daniele Nardi can not keep his hands off Nanga Parbat yet. Already for the fifth time the 42-year-old climber from Italy tries his luck in winter on the 8125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. Nardi and his 30-year-old British climbing partner Tom Ballard arrived in the capital Islamabad, from where they travel on to the north of the country. The team will also include Pakistani mountaineers Rahmat Ullah Baig and Kareem Hayat. Their goal: a new route to the eighth highest mountain on earth via the so-called “Mummery Rib”. In 1895, the British pioneer Albert Frederick Mummery had dared the first serious attempt on an eight-thousander via the rock spur in the Diamir Face. With the Gurkha Ragobir he had reached an altitude of 6,100 meters. Nardi tries this route for the second time: In winter 2013, he had climbed with the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol up to about 6,400 meters.
Date21. December 2018 | 0:44
TagsAlison Hargreaves, Daniele Nardi, Kareem Hayat, Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, Rahmat Ullah Baig, Tom Ballard, winter expedition, Winterexpedition
If I could write a wish list for Christmas now, it would say: “Please don’t forget the children of Thulosirubari!” For two years now, the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” has been building the new school for more than 500 children and young people in the small mountain village about 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. This was made possible by your donations for “School up!”, the aid project that I launched together with the professional mountaineers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits after the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015. The money we collect ends up in Thulosirubari and is used exclusively for the new construction.
Date19. December 2018 | 17:21
TagsAid project: School up!, Gerlinde and Ralf School, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Nepal, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf Dujmovits, Thulosirubari
“We were the mice for five weeks,” says Nancy Hansen describing the time she and Ralf Dujmovits – as reported – spent in a hypoxia chamber at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne half a year ago. The goal of the study was to find out whether, under certain circumstances, extreme hypoxia can lead to a strengthening of the heart in humans – as previously found out in two experiments with mice in the USA. After an acclimatization phase of around two weeks, the climbers had spent 16 days at a simulated altitude of 6,700 meters or higher, including four days at an oxygen content of only eight percent, which corresponds to 7,112 meters. “I suffered quite a lot,” admits Nancy. “But it was a big privilege to be part of the study.” Ralf is also still impressed by the experience: “I was hard on the edge. To be honest, I wouldn’t do it again. I underestimated the whole thing.” Last week the couple was in Cologne again – for one of several follow-up examinations. The first preliminary results of the study are now available.
Date18. December 2018 | 12:18
TagsDLR, Fabian Hofmann, German Aerospace Center, Jens Tank, Nancy Hansen, Ralf Dujmovits, Study, Ulrich Limper
Without him, I couldn’t call myself a first ascender. Luis Stitzinger was the expedition leader of the German operator “Amical alpin” in summer 2014, who led us to maximum success on the 7,129 meter high Kokodak Dome in western China: All 16 team members reached the summit – not least thanks to Luis’ experience and circumspection. Stitzinger already stood on eight eight-thousanders: Cho Oyu (in 2000), Gasherbrum II (2006), Nanga Parbat (2008), Dhaulagiri (2009), Broad Peak (2011), Shishapangma (2013), Manaslu (2017) and Gasherbrum I (2018). He scaled them all without bottled oxygen, six of them together with his wife Alix von Melle.
This Sunday, Luis will celebrate his 50th birthday, “under palm trees on a sandy beach,” he tells me laughing. With Alix, he treats himself to a three-week holiday in the Greek climbing paradise of Leonidio: “I gave it to myself for my birthday.” I spoke to him before he left to Greece.
Luis, half a century old, doesn’t even an experienced mountaineer get a bit dizzy?
Date15. December 2018 | 0:36
“The Little Prince climbed a high mountain”, wrote the French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his world-famous story “The Little Prince”, published in 1943. “From a mountain as high as this one, he said to himself, I shall be able to see the whole planet at one glance, and all the people. But he saw nothing, save peaks of rock that were sharpened like needles.” Zsolt Torok, Teofil Vlad and Romeo (called “Romica”) Popa might have been less surprised when they stood on the 7,161-meter-high summit of Pumori last fall and saw nothing else but directly opposite the eight-thousanders Mount Everest and Lhotse as well as the seven-thousander Nuptse. The three climbers from Romania had just opened a new route through the Southeast Face in Alpine style – without the support of Sherpas, without bottled oxygen and without a chain of fixed high camps. They called it „Le Voyage du Petit Prince“ (The Little Prince‘s Journey). I asked Zsolt Torok why they chose this name.
Date13. December 2018 | 12:34
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.
Date7. December 2018 | 0:01
TagsAng Rita Sherpa, David Breashears, Everest winter ascent, Himalayan Database, Mount Everest, Richard Salisbury, Snow leopard, Without bottled oxygen
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.
Date5. December 2018 | 12:01
TagsAlex Txikon, Chhang Dawa Sherpa, commercial winter expedition, K2, Mount Everest, Seven Summit Treks
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”.
Date4. December 2018 | 16:48
TagsChina, Cho Oyu, expedition regulations, garbage, Mount Everest, mountain rescue, Nepalese expedition operators, Sherpa, Shishapangma, Tibet
After all. The Spaniard Alex Txikon will tackle K2 in the upcoming winter. The 35-year-old announced this at a press conference in Bilbao today. He will travel to Pakistan on 2 January with his compatriot Felix Criado, with the goal of scaling the second highest mountain on earth for the first time in the cold season. It had already become known that the Pakistani government had granted Txikon a climbing permit for K2. However, the Basque had left it open to this day whether he would actually use the permit.
Date29. November 2018 | 23:20
“I traverse the last few metres over wind packed snow that sticks to the granite on the Nepalese side of the mountain. Even though my head is full with the impressions that I absorb every moment up here, my thoughts are somehow empty. The knowledge that I must not make any mistake is constantly present and dominates all other feelings. It results in an intense, almost exhausting concentration – a feeling I know only from other solo ascents in the mountains,” Austrian top climber David Lama writes on his website about the moment when the 28-year-old was the first to set his foot on the summit of the 6,907-metre-high Lunag Ri about a month ago (see video below). The technically difficult mountain is located in the Rolwaling Himal on the border between Nepal and Tibet, more than 35 kilometers as the crow flies northwest of Mount Everest. “Having arrived at the very front of the summit spur, I stand still. It feels strange that suddenly I have no more further to go. I sink down to my knees, tired and happy, even though I wouldn’t be able to express it that way right now. Briefly I think about Conrad. He is the only one I would have liked to share this moment with.”
Date27. November 2018 | 13:06
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.
Date23. November 2018 | 14:49
Tagsclimate change, Duncan Quincey, EverDrill project, glacier melt, Ice temperature, Khumbu Glacier, Mount Everest, Universität Leeds
Sorry, Fazal Ali – that your extraordinary performance on K2 just slipped past me last summer! I reported on the first ski descent from the second highest mountain in the world by the Pole Andrzej Bargiel. I also noticed that Muhammad Ali “Sadpara”, the Pakistani winter first ascender of Nanga Parbat, completed his collection of the five eight-thousanders of his home country on K2 – and that it was a record season on “Chogori”, as you locals call the mountain. But I missed the news that you, Fazal, were the first mountaineer in the world to reach the 8,611-meter-high summit of the “King of the Eight-thousanders” for the third time after 2014 and 2017 without bottled oxygen. All the deeper I now take my hat off!
Date21. November 2018 | 15:54
TagsExpeditions, Fazal Ali, K2, Karakoram, Karakorum Expeditions, Mirza Ali Baig, Pakistan, Sherpas
One does not have to be a prophet to predict that K2 will be besieged regularly in winter until it is also scaled in the cold season. The second highest mountain in the world is the last remaining eight-thousander, the summit of which is still untouched in winter. After the failed Polish expedition from the beginning of this year, a team from three states of the former Soviet Union will attempt “Chogori”, as the local Balti call the mountain, next winter: Five Russians, four Kazakhs and two Kyrgyz. “We must be in Islamabad at the latest on 2 January,” writes me Artem Brown. The Russian, born in 1976, has been organizing the winter expedition.
Date20. November 2018 | 0:44
Shiva has rough edges. On the one hand he is the god of creation for the Hindus. But he is also feared for the fact that he smashes everything to bits, if he is in a real peeve. The same applies to the 6,142 meter-high mountain of the same name in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Sometimes Shiva attracts the world’s best climbers with its steep walls and beautiful shape, then again it is unruly – as the Swiss climbers Stephan Siegrist and Jonas Schild as well as their photographer Dominic Fischer had to experience this fall. Siegrist, aged 45, and the 26-year-old Schild had actually planned to climb the North Face of the mountain. But somehow everything went wrong.
Date13. November 2018 | 16:56
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.
Date10. November 2018 | 22:02