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with Stefan Nestler

Two fast men on Everest: Jornet and Steck

Kilian Jornet (r.) and Emelie Forsberg (l.) in Kathmandu

“I feel really acclimatized and strong in altitude,” said Kilian Jornet – already before he set off towards the Himalayas last weekend. As a training for his eight-thousander expedition, the speed specialist had climbed along with his Swedish girl friend Emelie Forsberg in Norway, and the day before their departure both had started at the Trofeo Mezzalama in Italy, one of the classic races for ski mountaineers in . Kilian had won second place in a team with the Swiss Martin Anthamatten and Werner Marti, Emelie had won the women’s competition along with the Swiss Jennifer Fiechter and the French Laetitia Roux. Jornet and Forsberg traveled via the Nepalese capital Kathmandu to Tibet. Within the next two weeks, they want to climb Cho Oyu, with an altitude of 8,188 meters the sixth highest mountain on earth. “If everything goes well, we could be on the summit on 7 or May,” said Emelie, for whom it is the first experience on an eight-thousander. And Kilian adds: “For me, it will be good preparation for Everest because I’ll be better acclimatized when I get there.”

Date

25. April 2017 | 19:03

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The magic 14

Three 8000ers at a glance: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu (from l. to r.)

It is only a number, but one that plays an important role in the world of high altitude climbers. Everyone who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders counts in the scene – even more if he or she has managed it without bottled oxygen. The circle is still quite exclusive: According to 8000ers.com, the website of the German Himalayan chronicler Eberhard Jurgalski, 34 climbers have completed the collection, 15 of them completely without breathing mask. This list could be extended this spring.

Date

21. April 2017 | 15:30

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Everest autumn climbers this time in spring

Kuriki (2nd from l.) in Everest Base Camp

Actually, both wanted to return to the highest mountain on earth next fall. But the Chinese put a spoke in their wheels. The authorities in Tibet will not issue any permits for Mount Everest in fall 2017. For this reason, the Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki as well as the Spaniard Kilian Jornet join the crowd of those who want to climb Everest from the Tibetan north side this spring. The 34-year-old Kuriki has already arrived in Chinese Base Camp at 5,200 meters. Kuriki has announced that he wants to climb up to 7,500 meters on the normal route. Subsequently, he wants to try again to climb through the North Face, solo and without bottled oxygen.

Date

20. April 2017 | 20:55

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Over penitents and narrow snow bridges

Ralf Dujmovits on Cholatse

“Everything has been going well so far.” Ralf Dujmovits is highly satisfied with his acclimatization tour in the Khumbu area. To prepare for Mount Everest, the 55-year-old, along with his partner Nancy Hansen from Canada, climbed the 6440-meter-high Cholatse. Last Thursday they reached the summit. The climb via the Southwest Ridge was anything but easy, Ralf writes to me: “A good part of the route above the col leads over steep to steepest penitents – very, very uncomfortable to climb.” Dujmovits believes that the climb to the highest point will soon change drastically. “The summit structure of Cholatse threatens to break apart in the next few years,” says Ralf. “There are many crevasses up to the summit. 30 meters below the highest point you have to cross a snow bridge which is still only two meters long and half a meter wide. If this also breaks, you need a ladder to get to the top.”

Date

18. April 2017 | 12:51

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Happy Easter!

I wish you all Happy Easter. And the “Picasso from the river Rhine” 😉 is confronting you with another easter riddle: Which mountain have I conjured onto the egg?

Date

15. April 2017 | 22:45

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Annapurna Northwest Face instead of Cho Oyu North Face

Annapurna Northwest Face

Time for plan B. Since China has not issued visa for Tibet this spring for climbers who have been staying in Pakistan for more than a month at a time during the past three years, the Canadian Louis Rousseau, the Briton Rick Allen, the Pole Adam Bielecki and the German Felix Berg had to re-plan. The team was surprised by the new Chinese regulation in Kathmandu. In 2015/16 Bielecki had tried unsuccessfully a winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, Felix Berg had climbed Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram in summer 2016. So the previous plan to open a new route through the North Face of Cho Oyu, located in Tibet, became impossible. The quartet was looking for an alternative destination in Nepal and found it.

Date

14. April 2017 | 18:40

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Rousseau and Co. tackle Cho Oyu North Face

Cho Oyu North Face

There is still potential for climbing highlights even on the “top sellers” among the eight-thousanders. This applies not only to Mount Everest (up to now more than 7500 summit successes), but also to the second most climbed eight-thousander, Cho Oyu (more than 3500 summit successes). This spring, an international team of four, led by Louis Rousseau, plans to open a new route through the North Face of the sixth highest mountain on earth, in Alpine style. For the 40-year-old Canadian, it’s a comeback on the eight-thousanders after a break of five years. In 2012, Rousseau had been searching on Gasherbrum I for his longtime climbing partner Gerfried Göschl from Austria, who had remained missing after a winter attempt on the mountain in Pakistan. In 2011, Rousseau had scaled Gasherbrum II, his third eight-thousander after Broad Peak (in 2007) and Nanga Parbat (new route along with Göschl in 2009).

Date

13. April 2017 | 16:09

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China reacts allergically to Pakistan visas

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

Nasty surprise for some climbers heading for destinations in Tibet this spring: I have been confirmed by several sides that China currently does not allow tourists to enter Tibet in case that there is a visa for Pakistan issued in the past three years in their passport. Especially professional climbers, who like to tackle the impressive mountains of the Karakoram in summer, run the risk of not obtaining a visa for Tibet. Some mountaineers are stuck in the Nepali capital Kathmandu, because they have learned too late about this new regulation. So if you want to travel to Cho Oyu, Shishapangma or the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest and do not want to experience a bad surprise, take a look at your passport!

Date

12. April 2017 | 15:13

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In four weeks to the summit of Everest?

North side of Everest

Rapid is not enough, it should be as fast as a flash. This could describe the concept of the Austrian expedition operator Lukas Furtenbach: for eight-thousander aspirants with a big pile of money, but little time budget. After the US operator Alpenglow had halved the duration of an Everest expedition with their “Rapid Ascent Expedition” from about 70 days to 34 days, the 39-year-old Tyrolean wants to go one step further next year. In spring 2018, the “Everest Flash Expedition” of Furtenbach Adventures on the Tibetan north side of the mountain is to last a maximum of four weeks.

Date

11. April 2017 | 23:53

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Moro and Lunger plan Kangchenjunga traverse

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro

“It’s a wonderful project,” says Simone Moro. “It’s the highest traverse possible on the planet.” Via Facebook live from Kathmandu, the 49-year-old Italian and his 30-year-old South Tyrolean climbing partner Tamara Lunger yesterday revealed the secret of their new project. And that’s really a tough job. This spring, Simone and Tamara want to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif which are higher than 8,000 meters: from the West Summit (8,505 meters) to the Main Summit (8,586 meters), then across the Central Summit  (8,473 meters) to the South Summit (8,476 meters). The whole thing in Alpine style, means without high camps, without Sherpa support and without bottled oxygen. In 1989 a Russian expedition had succeeded the traverse for the first time, however, using breathing masks.

Date

7. April 2017 | 13:04

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Mountain bikers and runners needed for study on Kibo

Kilimanjaro

According to the statistics, Kilimanjaro is one of the top mountain destinations in the world. Every year tens of thousands of people tackle the highest mountain in Africa. In 2016, reportedly, more than 30,000 visitors have reached the highest point at 5,895 meters. The “Kibo” is said to be a trekking mountain, several easy routes lead to the summit. Only during the rainy seasons in April/May and October/November the tourist flow decreases a bit. Many operators offer hikes to the roof of Africa as a week trip – this short stay also ensures that the mountain is so popular. However, it is less known that every year several hundred tourists suffering seriously from high altitude sickness have to be rescued from Kilimanjaro, and about two dozens of them die, in some years even significantly more.

Date

7. April 2017 | 9:21

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Shishapangma South Face, take two!

Shishapangma South Face

This wall has enthused him. The second spring in a row, the German professional climber David Goettler will try to open a new route through the South Face of the 8027-meter-high Shishapangma in Tibet. After his failed attempt in 2016 with the Swiss Ueli Steck, the 38-year-old is now on the road with Hervé Barmasse. The 39-year-old Italian is a very experienced climber who has made headlines in recent years, especially with new routes on his home mountain, the Matterhorn. Hervé has also succeeded spectacular first ascents in the Karakoram and in Patagonia. Barmasse has not yet scaled an eight-thousander. I got a hold of Goettler on the phone, just before his departure to the Himalayas, on the way to the airport.

David, you’re just on your way to Nepal. What is your feeling?

Date

5. April 2017 | 16:07

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Same route as in the accident year 2014

Route through the Khumbu Icefall (on the right) in the two past years and that of 2014 (left)

Has the memory of the Everest tragedy in 2014 faded so quickly? According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the “Icefall Doctors” have relocated the route through the Khumbu Icefall for the upcoming season to the left side of the ice labyrinth, just below the ice-loaded West Shoulder. On 18 April 2014, an ice avalanche had swept down from there and killed 16 Nepalese climbers. In spring 2015 (this season also ended prematurely due to the devastating earthquake in Nepal) and in 2016 too, the Sherpas, who were responsible for securing and maintaining the route through the Icefall, had chosen a variant on the right side.

Date

4. April 2017 | 16:35

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Sharma: “I’m more of a beach person”

Chris Sharma (© PRana)

Actually, it is recommended to use superlatives only with caution. But it’s undisputed that Chris Sharma has been one of the best rock climbers in the world for many years. The 35-year-old American and the 24-year-old Czech Adam Ondra have so far been the only climbers who have mastered a 9b+ route (on the French grading system) – partly extremely overhanging, actually impossible to climb. Currently the measure of all things. Chris is living with his wife Jimena Alarcon and the little daughter Alana in Barcelona.

Chris, you have been climbing at the highest level for so many years.. Do you think that you one day  get tired of doing it? 

Date

31. March 2017 | 16:14

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With garbage bag on Everest

Collecting garbage on Everest

Such big garbage bags have guaranteed not yet been brought down from Mount Everest. The Expedition Operator’s Association Nepal (EOA) has delivered canvas bags, capable of holding 80 kilograms, to Everest Base Camp. They are to be used in particular for transporting old tents and garbage, which have accumulated in Camp 2 at 6,400 meters due to the premature end of the climbing seasons in 2014 and 2015, down to the valley. 80-kg bags are, of course, too heavy to be shouldered by porters and carried through the Khumbu Icefall to Everest Base Camp.

Date

29. March 2017 | 16:02

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