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with Stefan Nestler

Dujmovits: “We are in good hands here”

Ralf Dujmovits and Nancy Hansen

The doors have closed behind Ralf Dujmovits and Nancy Hansen. The so far only German climber who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders and his Canadian partner moved in a 110-square-meter hypoxia chamber of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne on Tuesday. As reported, the two mountaineers are participating in a study conducted by DLR in cooperation with the University of Texas to investigate whether extreme hypoxia can also have a positive side effect for human beings. US researchers from Texas found in two experiments with mice that heart muscle cells devided when the animals were exposed for two weeks to oxygen deficiency corresponding to conditions at 7,000 m. In mice which had previously been triggered myocardial infarctions, cardiac function improved after two weeks of hypoxia.

Medical control around the clock

Monitor in the control room

Ralf and Nancy, both healthy, are the subjects of the pilot study. They are to stay in the hypoxia chamber for about a month. In the first few weeks, acclimatization as on a Himalayan expedition is simulated. The oxygen percentage in the air will be gradually lowered and temporarily increased only twice in between – as if the two climbers would descend again to breathe thicker air. The last two weeks, the 56-year-old German and the 49-year-old Canadian are to  spend in a simulated height of 7,000 meters. The experiment can be stopped at any time in case serious problems arise. A DLR research team monitors Dujmovits’ and Hansen’s state of health around the clock. The daily schedule includes heart and lung function checks, blood and urine tests, fitness checks and so-called “cognition tests”, which check the reaction and perception of the subjects.

Yesterday, I visited the two climbers in their new “home”. That was possible on Wednesday for the last time without breathing mask. After more than half hour in a simulated altitude of about 3,700 meters, I felt a little bit dizzy. I preferred to do the interview with Ralf subsequently in thick air, by phone.

Ralf, you can not get out, there is no daylight, and the oxygen is lowered. That does not sound like a holiday apartment.

Date

17. May 2018 | 15:49

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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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Still no trace of Boyan Petrov

Rescue helicopters from Nepal at the foot of Shishapangma

Nobody puts it bluntly. But to be honest, the hope of finding the most successful Bulgarian high altitude climber Boyan Petrov alive on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet is beginning to fade. On 3 May, nine days ago, the 45-year-old was last seen by telescope from the base camp. Since then, there has been no trace of Boyan. Bad weather had delayed the rescue operation for days. On Saturday, two helicopters of the Nepali company Simrik Air, specialized in rescue operations, started to search for Petrov. Without success. What the crew members found, photographed and filmed as “suspicious objects” near Camp 3 at an altitude of about 7,300 meters, turned out to be stones and rocks when the material was subsequently viewed. The helicopter teams had to return to the Nepalese capital because the fuel ran out. “We are standby at Kathmandu for the same mission,” Simrik Air said. Also the rescue team on the slopes on the mountain, three Sherpas and three Chinese climbers, have not yet found Petrov. The rescuers were spending the night in Camp 2. On Sunday, the search is to be continued.

Date

12. May 2018 | 21:17

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40 years ago: The first German on top of Everest

Reinhard Karl (1946-1982)

This coming weekend, the first summit successes of the spring season on Mount Everest are expected. So Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the operator “Imagine”, who is known as an early starter, is aiming for Sunday as summit day with his five Chinese clients. The group wanted to climb to Camp 3 at 7,200 meters today. Exactly 40 years ago, the first German climber stood on the 8,850 meter-high summit of Mount Everest. “Oswald and I overcome the last steps arm in arm. We are on the top. We fling our arms around our necks. It’s twelve noon. Our wishes have come true, just below the sky,” Reinhard Karl later wrote about the moment on 11 May 1978, when he reached the highest point together with the Austrian Oswald Oelz. The two belonged to an Austrian expedition led by Wolfgang Nairz. Three days earlier Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler had succeeded their historic first ascent without bottled oxygen. Karl and Oelz used breathing masks.

Date

11. May 2018 | 11:01

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Search for Boyan Petrov continues

Shishapangma

There is still no trace of Boyan Petrov. As reported, the most successful Bulgarian high altitude climber has been missing for days on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet. The Bulgarian government has joined the rescue operation. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said they were in constant communication with the authorities in Nepal and China, as well as with Petrov’s family. According to Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, a helicopter suitable for flights in high altitude is now available to search for the 45-year-old. Directly on the slopes of the mountain, a rescue team of three Chinese climbers and three Sherpas is in action. Despite bad weather, the rescuers had climbed to Camp 2 at 6,900 meters, it said.

Date

9. May 2018 | 16:02

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Everest ski permit – a farce!

Puzzling ski permit

You would normally not come up with this. If you climb Mount Everest and at some point want to put on your skis, you need a special permit. The 20-year-old American Matt Moniz and his mentor, the 49-year-old Argentine Willie Benegas, had to experience this. Citing sources at the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism, the newspaper “Himalayan Times” reports that the two climbers are now threatened with being deprived of their permission to climb Everest and Lhotse this spring. However, everything had started so well. “After ten years dreaming about it, it happened! Managed to ski from Camp 3 (on) Everest (at) 7,200 meters to Camp 2 (at) 6.400m,” said Benegas. “Not much difficulty but definitely good eyes needed to read the terrain, catching an ice patch would be a bad thing to happen!”  Matt and Willie did not suspect that they had scated on their descent on thin bureaucratic ice.

Date

9. May 2018 | 10:23

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Concern over Boyan Petrov

Boyan Petrov some weeks ago in Kathmandu

The most successful Bulgarian high altitude climber, Boyan Petrov, has been missing for several days on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet. This was confirmed today by his partner Radoslava Nenova on Facebook. According to her, a search for Petrov is to begin tomorrow. Previously, the team of the Hungarian climber David Klein reported that the 45-year-old Bulgarian had set off on 29 April for a solo attempt without bottled oxygen. On 3 May, last Thursday, Petrov was seen from base camp by telescope at the level of Camp 3. On Saturday, an Ukrainian and three Sherpas reached Camp 3 at about 7,400 meters and found Boyan’s semi-open tent with his sleeping bag, covered in snow. Obviously, Petrov had left for the summit.

Date

7. May 2018 | 10:35

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40 years ago: Messner and Habeler without breathing mask on Everest

Habeler (r.) and Messner (in 1975)

It was a real pioneering act – greater than its effect. Next Tuesday, 40 years ago, the South Tyrolean Reinhold Messner and the North Tyrolean Peter Habeler were the first people to reach the 8,850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. They proved that it was possible. However, it did not become usual thereby. According to the climbing chronicle Himalayan Database, the highest mountain in the world has been scaled 8,219 times so far, but only 202 times without breathing mask. This corresponds to a share of 2.5 percent. Also this year it will hardly be higher.

Date

5. May 2018 | 22:03

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Danger zone tent

Camp 1 on Kokodak Dome (2014)

Actually, the tent is a place of refuge and security. And most of the time I felt safe when I lay in my tent in the mountains. But there were exceptions. For example in 2004 during my reportage trip to K2, when I woke up suddenly in the base camp at the foot of the second highest mountain on earth, because the glacier made noises under my tent floor, as if it wanted to devour me in the next moment. Ten years later, during the first ascent of the seven-thousander Kokodak Dome in western China, we pitched up Camp 1 at 5,500 meters at a quite exposed spot – and I wondered: What happens if a real storm is raging here? That’s what I remembered when I learned of the death of Italian Simone La Terra on Dhaulagiri earlier this week.

Date

4. May 2018 | 14:22

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Summit success on Lhotse, death on Dhaulagiri

Lhotse (in the sun)

The early eight-thousander bird catches the worm. Mingma Gyalje Sherpa once again lived up to his reputation as an early starter and booked the first eight-thousander summit success of this spring season on the 8516-meter-high Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world. “We are on Lhotse summit now,” wrote the 32-year-old on Sunday morning on Facebook. “Thanks to ‘Madission‘ team for their hard work till 7800m and our team for further hard work till summit. Imagine Trek & Expedition team rocks.” Mingma is the head and expedition leader of the Nepalese operator.

Date

30. April 2018 | 10:56

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“School up!”: Back to work in Thulosirubari

The next construction phase begins

Three years ago, the earth shook in Nepal. Nearly 8,000 people were killed in the devastating earthquake on 25 April 2015 and the aftershocks in the following weeks. Even today, numerous traces of the earthquake can still be found in the capital Kathmandu, and the rural areas, which were particularly hard hit. But a lot has happened. For example in Thulosirubari. Thanks to your donations for our aid project “School up!”, last March – as reported – the first two buildings of the new school with a total of twelve classrooms could be inaugurated in the small mountain village, located about 70 kilometers east of the capital. On this occasion, German climber Ralf Dujmovits and I also laid the foundation for the next phase of construction. As you can see in the picture, sent to me by Dulal Tanka from Thulosirubari, the construction of the third building with eight more classrooms is now beginning.

Please continue to support us!

The toilet house

Also the toilet house behind the school is taking shape. You see, your money keeps working. However, we have not yet reached the finish line. Once again here is the bank account of “School up!”:

Recipient: Nepalhilfe Beilngries e.V.
Bank: Volksbank Bayern Mitte eG/Germany
IBAN: DE05 7216 0818 0004 6227 07
BIC/SWIFT-Code: GENODEF1INP
Intended purpose: Gerlinde and Ralf School

Thank you so much! You are great!

Date

28. April 2018 | 22:13

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Waiting for first summit attempts on Everest and Lhotse

High Camp in the Western Cwm

The preliminary work on Mount Everest and Lhotse is entering the final phase. According to Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator “Imagine”, today ten Sherpas were to climb up to Everest South Col at about 8,000 meters to pitch up Camp 4 . “Kilu Pemba and myself will fix Lhotse Camp 4,” Mingma wrote on Facebook yesterday. He wants to lead two Chinese clients to the 8516-meter-high summit of Lhotse. Five more Chinese from his team will tackle Mount Everest, including – as reported – the double amputee Xia Boyu, aged 69. Mingma is known as an early starter at the eight-thousanders. “I am quite sure that we will be the first team on the summit of Lhotse,” he told me in March when we met in Kathmandu. “We are planning to reach it at the end of April or in the first week of May.”

Date

27. April 2018 | 16:50

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