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with Stefan Nestler

“School up!”: First floor slab is finished

Construction side in Thulosirubari (on the right the two already completed school buildings)

“The construction work is going smoothly,” writes Shyam Pandit, who coordinates the projects of the German aid organisation Nepalhilfe Beilngries in the Himalayan state. At the end of last week, Shyam once again visited the construction site of the new school in the mountain village of Thulosirubari, some 70 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu. After teaching in the first two parts of the building started as well as using the corresponding toilet block, the third and last section of the building is being constructed right next door. Your donations made this possible for our aid project “School up!”, which I founded together with the two climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits after the devastating earthquake in 2015, in order to rebuild the destroyed school in Thulosirubari as quickly as possible.

Date

25. September 2018 | 7:12

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Sherpa dies in avalanche on Dhaulagiri

R.I.P.

Tragic incident on the eight-thousander Dhaulagiri in western Nepal: Yesterday an avalanche hit a seven-man Sherpa team of the operator “Seven Summit Treks”, who were fixing ropes between Camp 2 (6,400 m) and Camp 3 (7,400 m). “Six (Sherpas) survived the avalanche unharmed, but the only 24-year-old Dawa Gyaljen, born near (the eight-thousander) Makalu, is missed,” Spaniard Luis Miguel Lopez Soriano wrote on Facebook. Luis accompanies his 79-year-old friend Carlos Soria, who this fall is trying for the tenth and, in his own words, probably last time to scale Dhaulagiri. The 8,167-meter-high mountain and Shishapangma (8,027 m) are the last two eight-thousanders still missing from Carlos’s collection.

Date

20. September 2018 | 18:38

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Rockfall on Spantik

Spantik (the normal route

It was close, damn close. “We were very, very lucky,” writes Patrick z’Brun to me. The mountain guide was part of a Swiss team that escaped a tragedy by a hair’s breadth on the 7,027-meter-high Spantik in the Karakoram this summer. The day after their arrival, the climbers were just setting up their base camp. “Suddenly someone shouted ‘Rock, rock’,” reports Patrick. A large boulder rushed through a couloir directly towards the base camp. Nearly 200 meters ahead of the camp, the boulder divided into two pieces without them changing direction: “Two kitchen tents and a sleeping tent were sheer shaved off. The two rocks rushed past two climbers by a hair’s breadth.” According to Patrick’s words, an expedition member just managed to save himself by jumping behind a small wall on which the kitchen tent had stood. An eight-second video of the incident documents how lucky the group was:

Date

19. September 2018 | 17:25

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Ski attempts on Annapurna and Lhotse

Anton Pugovkin (l.) und Vitaly Lazo (r.)

“Death Zone Freeride” – so the two Russians Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin named their ambitious project. Their goal: to scale five of the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen and ski down from the summits. In fall 2017, the two climbers achieved their first success on the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu. This fall season, part two of the project is to follow on the 8,091-meter-high Annapurna. In addition, Mount Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat are on the Russians’ to-do list.

After some back and forth on the material transport by helicopter, Vitaly and Anton finally seem to have flown today from the Nepalese town of Pokhara to Annapurna Base Camp. The so far only successful ski descent from the summit of Annapurna was made by the Slovenian brothers Davo and Andrej Karnicar via the north side of the mountain in spring 1995, during their climb they also did not use breathing masks.

Date

18. September 2018 | 18:01

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Czechs on Nanga Parbat: “Like frozen fish fillets”

In the Rupal Face

“To paraphrase Shakespeare: living on without summit or voting for death.” This is how Marek Holecek described the decision that he and his team mate Tomas Petrecek had to make last Sunday at the exit of the mighty Rupal Face, 300 meters below the summit of Nanga Parbat. Gusts of wind of up to 100 kilometers per hour blew over the 8,125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan, the ninth highest in the world. After six days in the wall, the two Czech climbers decided to turn around.

Date

5. September 2018 | 12:26

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David Göttler: “Some 8000ers are still on my list”

David Göttler

They have two homes. German professional climber David Göttler and his partner Monica Piris spend the winter in Chamonix am Mont Blanc, the summer in Monica’s native northern Spain, between the towns of Bilbao and Santander, “where Spain is still really green”, David enthuses. This summer, as reported, Göttler had returned from Pakistan empty-handed. Bad weather had put a spoke in the wheel of him and his teammate, Italian Hervé Barmasse, on the 7,932-meter-high Gasherbrum IV in the Karakoram. Yesterday Göttler celebrated his 40th birthday in Spain – not in the mountains, but on the construction site, as he tells me, when I belated congratulate him: “I have finished my training room. So it was a good day.”

40 years, David, that’s a mark. Many ook back then on their lives or make plans for the future. You too?

Date

4. September 2018 | 17:45

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New guidelines for helicopter rescue on Nepal’s mountains

Rescue flight on Everest

A committee is to get to the bottom of it. Since Friday, new guidelines for helicopter rescue have been in force in Nepal, with which the government wants to prevent insurance fraud with “fake rescue flights” in the future. A “Tourist Search and Rescue Committee” will monitor all rescue operations. The committee includes representatives of the ministries of home and of health as well as of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and the tourist police. Helicopter companies, expedition and trekking agencies, hospitals and insurance companies are now obliged to provide all details of rescue flights and medical care as well as insurance invoices in a timely manner so that the committee can review them. In the event of irregularities, the committee is also responsible for punishing the black sheeps in the sector.

Date

3. September 2018 | 15:36

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Penalty for fake Everest permit

Mount Everest

If it is about its own income, the Nepalese government can’t take a joke. According to the newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the Ministry of Tourism has fined Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks” 44,000 dollars for forging a permit for Mount Everest. In spring, the authority granted a permit to an expedition led by the Chinese Sun Yiguan and managed by “Seven Summit Treks” to climb the highest mountain on earth. The original document was issued for twelve member. Later a fake version appeared in which an Australian and a Chinese climber had been added.

Date

31. August 2018 | 15:54

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Latok I: How high did Gukov and Glazunov climb?

Climbing into the fog

No photo, no video, no GPS data. It’s not possible to prove clearly where exactly on the seven-thousander Latok I in the Karakoram the two Russian climbers Alexander Gukov and Sergey Glazunov finished their ascent on 23 July. The GPS tracker didn’t work properly. The mini-camera they had used to document the ascent was carried by Sergey when he fell to his death on 25 July. The body of the 26-year-old could not be recovered. Two days before, the two Russians had reached their highest point in the fog. “By 7 pm, Sergey climbed up a small col between a rock and a snowy serac. I was standing ten meters below him. The snow was almost vertical,” Alexander recalls on “mountain.ru”, where an English translation of his statements was published today.

Date

28. August 2018 | 15:47

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Fight against fake rescue flights in Nepal

Rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp

The air is getting thinner for those in Nepal who feather their beds with fake rescue flights. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, international insurance companies have set an ultimatum until 1 September to put an end to these illegal activities. Otherwise, they no longer want to cover the costs of helicopter rescue flights. The Nepalese government plans to set up a police unit in the Tourism Ministry that is to manage all rescues.

Not practicable

Lakpa Norbu Sherpa (r.) and Maurizio Folini

Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, who has been coordinating rescue on Mount Everest since 2003 as base camp manager of the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), is sceptical. “Police officers are no specialists”, tells me the 37-year-old, who was trained as a helicopter rescuer in Switzerland in 2012. Similar comments are made by Maurizio Folini: “The solution is not practicable. The police have no idea how to save people in the mountains.” The 53-year-old helicopter pilot from Italy is a pioneer for rescue flights on the eight-thousanders in Nepal. Since 2011 Folini has been flying regularly on the highest mountains in the world, in 2013 he managed the highest longline helicopter rescue of all time when he brought down a Nepalese climber from 7,800 meter on Everest.

Date

26. August 2018 | 17:22

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Climbing legend Jeff Lowe is dead

Jeff Lowe (1950-2018)

“The climb will go. Get rid of the rope. It’s only distracting you,” Jeff Lowe once said. He was an uncompromising climber. Lowe loved to be alone or in small teams on extreme routes. The American succeeded more than 1,000 first ascents in his climbing career. Jeff was born in 1950 in Ogden, Utah, as the fourth of eight children. When he was four years old, his father took him skiing and two years later climbing. The family was enthusiastic about mountain sports. Aged 14, Jeff climbed his first new route: on Mount Ogden, doing it solo. He was often en route with his brothers Greg and Mike and his cousin George Henry Lowe.

Date

25. August 2018 | 20:36

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Slovenian-British trio succeeds coup on 7000er Latok I

Luka Strazar, Tom Livingstone, Ales Cesen (from l. to r.)

It is one of this year’s most spectacular successes on the highest mountains in the world: The two Slovenians Ales Cesen (36 years old) and Luka Strazar (29) and the British Tom Livingstone (27) managed the only second ascent of the 7,145-meter-high, extremely difficult Latok I in the Karakoram – the first ascent from the north side at all. Since the legendary first attempt in 1978 by the Americans Jeff and George Henry Lowe, Michael Kennedy and Jim Donini via the North Ridge, who were forced back by a storm about 150 meters below the summit, this task had been a too hard nut to crack for about 30 expeditions. ”The ridge itself remains a challenge for the future,” said Tom Livingstone modestly in an interview with the British Mountaineering Council (BMC).

Date

22. August 2018 | 22:47

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Summit attempts on Gasherbrum IV abandoned

Gasherbrum Iv

The weather conditions in the Karakoram remain difficult. German David Göttler and Italian Herve Barmasse had to give up their attempt on the almost-eight-thousander Gasherbrum IV. The two had originally planned to first climb the Southwest Face of the 7,932-meter-high mountain in the Karakoram for the first time. “For now, G IV must remain a dream climb,” writes David on Facebook. “Sad and frustrated we have been forced back to Base Camp by unpredicted snowfall. (The) Avalanche danger is too high.” Also the Spaniards Oriol Baro, Roger Cararach, Iker Madoz and Marc Toralles abandoned their summit attempt because of the bad weather and returned from Camp 2 at 6,500 meters. They had planned to reach the summit via the still unclimbed South Pillar.

Date

2. August 2018 | 16:15

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“School up!”: Base plate is concreted

The bricks are already there

Your donations for our aid project “School up!” continue to work. The base plate for the third section of the new school in the small mountain village of Thulosirubari, 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, has now been concreted. In the next step, the bricks for the walls of the first floor will be laid. Ralf Dujmovits – the so far only German climber to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders – and I had laid the foundation stone for the third construction phase with another eight classrooms in mid-March. At that time, the first two buildings had been festively inaugurated.

Date

2. August 2018 | 10:49

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Thomas Huber before his expedition to 7000er Latok I: “Complex and difficult”

Thomas Huber, Rainer Treppte and Simon Gietl (from l. to r.)

Thomas Huber is sitting on packed expedition barrels. “I’m really looking forward to the expedition,” says the 51-year-old. The older of the two Huber brothers is leaving for Pakistan this Saturday. Thomas wants to tackle the northern side of the 7,145-meter-high Latok I – together with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl and climbing old hand Rainer Treppte, aged 59, who comes from Saxony and has been living in the Allgäu region for a long time. “I have already climbed with them,” says Huber about his two climbing partners. Last spring, the trio succeeded in repeating for the first time the difficult “La Strada” route on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites, which the Poles Piotr Edelman and Jan Fialkowski had mastered for the first time in 1988. “We harmonize very well as a team, and we have every chance to tackle such a goal as Latok I,” says Thomas Huber. I also talked to him about the drama on this seven-thousander in the Karakoram that had kept us in suspense for days.

Thomas, yesterday we got the relieving message that the Russian climber Alexander Gukov was rescued from the North Ridge of Latok I. How did you experience this dramatic story?

Date

1. August 2018 | 19:57

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