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Bene and Basti: Ready, set, go!

Bene Boehm (r.) and Basti Haag

Bene Boehm (r.) and Basti Haag

The clock is ticking. The German ski mountaineers Benedikt Boehm and Sebastian Haag started in Tibet their attempt to set a speed record on the two eight-thousanders Shishapangma and Cho Oyu. “The only thing I can think of is that it’s gonna be the hardest seven days of my life. That’s for sure,” says Benedict in the video, which you can watch below. Sebastian is even more clearly: “This is the start button for seven days of torture, for seven days of suffering, seven days of bleeding and sweating.” Within a week, Bene and Basti want to climb the 8027-meter-high Shishapangma, ski down, cycle with their mountain bikes to Cho Oyu, climb up and ski down this eight-thousander too.

Date

17. September 2014 | 16:05

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Messner: “I don’t want do die in the mountains”

Reinhold Messner

Reinhold Messner

This man seems to be ageless. How on earth does Reinhold Messner do it? The first man who climbed all 14 eight-thousanders, responds with his motto from Tibetan: “Kalipé” – with steady feet.  Ahead of his 70th birthday on Wednesday, I called him at home in South Tyrolia.

Reinhold Messner, how will you celebrate your birthday?

It will be a private birthday party, in no way a public one. There is a time and a place. I can tell you that I have invited my friends to bivouac. For the last time, at the age of 70, I will spend the night after the party outdoor, under the stars, in the sleeping bag. Most of my friends will do the same, all the others will drive to the hotel in the valley.

Date

15. September 2014 | 15:52

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Focus on: Shishapangma

Carlos Soria

Carlos Soria

Other people at this age feel they do sport when they play Bridge. Carlos Soria is climbing eight-thousanders. The Spaniard is 75 years old, last May, he stood (with bottled oxygen) on top of the 8,586-meter-high Kangchenjunga. Thus Carlos is holding the age record on that mountain like he already does on K 2 (65 years), Broad Peak (68), Makalu (69), Gasherbrum I (70) and Manaslu (71). He has now summited eleven of the 14 eight-thousanders. Now he is trying again to climb the 8,027-meter-high Shishapangma in Tibet. “It’s just my year, and it would be a shame to let end my run of luck”, says the fit senior. In 2005 Soria reached the lower Central Summit (8008 meters). Last year, he had to turn back in Camp 3 at 7400 meters due to bad weather. Besides Shishapangma the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters) and Annapurna (8,091 meters) are still missing in Carlos’ collection.

Date

10. September 2014 | 16:26

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Near-record summer on K 2

K 2

K 2

I felt as if I was close to K 2 but in fact I was quite far off. After the return from our first ascent of the 7129-m-high Kokodak Dome I found out the real distance between the two mountains: 300 km as the crow flies. Not just around the corner. Because of my expedition I (and thus possibly also you as a reader of my blog) missed what was going at the second highest mountain in the world during this summer.

Date

4. September 2014 | 16:30

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First ascent of Kokodak Dome

Kokodak Dome

Kokodak Dome

Time so say hello again. I hope you didn’t worry about me, I am still alive. The reason why you did not read anything in English in my blog during the last weeks is that I was on expedition in the Northwest of China. Sorry, I was fully stretched climbing and writing my blog in German. I joined an AMICAL expedition to the previous unclimbed 7129-meter-high Kokodak Dome, also known as Kokodak II. The peak is part of the Kongur Range in the Kunlun mountains in the region Xinjiang. Kokodak I (or Kokodak Peak), which is 81 meters higher, was firstly climbed by a Russian team in 2006. Our expedition was led by Luis Stitzinger. The 45-year-old prominent German climber has already summited six 8000ers, five of them together with his wife Alix von Melle. Our team consisted of 13 clients from Germany and Austria – and of Chhongba Sherpa and Singi Lama, two Climbing Sherpas from Nepal.

Date

30. August 2014 | 21:48

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Bad Everest joke

Wang Jing with her certificate

Wang Jing with her certificate

As if nothing had happened. The Chinese climber Wang Jing has received her Everest certificate from the hands of Nepalese government officials in Kathmandu. Thus it is certified that the 41-year-old has scaled the highest mountain in the world on 23 May – officially and above all with no ifs and buts. Strange.

Date

1. July 2014 | 15:11

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Huber brothers cancel expedition to Pakistan

Alexander (r.) and Thomas Huber

Alexander (r.) and Thomas Huber

The Huber brothers have cancelled their planned expedition to Latok I in Pakistan – “because of the political situation in Pakistan”, Alexander and Thomas Huber write on Facebook.  “Of course the dream of this giant wall is still in our mind and we hope next year we will get another chance.” Actually the German climbers and their team comrades Dani Arnold and Mario Walder had their bags packed to start to Pakistan. “But the risk was no more calculable”, says Alexander when I call him. “First the offensive of the Taliban, now the offensive of the Pakistan army in North Waziristan. There will certainly be more terrorist attacks.”

Date

25. June 2014 | 13:33

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Coaching for Jogi’s World Cup expedition

Mike Horn and the German players

Mike Horn (r.) and the German players

Nothing can go wrong anymore for Jogi and his boys. Yesterday, just before the start of the FIFA World Cup in Brasil, the German national football team got a motivational training by an extreme athlete at the team base Campo Bahia. Mike Horn reported to national coach Loew and Co. on his adventures at sea, in the ice and on the highest mountains. Then Mike took the footballers along to his 35-meter-long expedition yacht “Pangaea”, showed them some basics of sailing and headed out to the Atlantic Ocean for a short trip.

Date

12. June 2014 | 17:02

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New Everest category “aviation-assisted climb”?

How much helicopter should be allowed on Everest?l

How much helicopter should be allowed on Everest?l

The spring season on Mount Everest is over, but not the discussion about what happened at the highest mountain in the world. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has set up a committee to clarify whether, when and how often helicopters were used to airlift team members of the Chinese female climber Wang Jing and the Brazilian-American Cleo Weidlich to Camp 2 at 6400 meters. On 23 May, Wang was the first person who reached the summit of Mount Everest this spring, just before the first successes from the north side were reported. Weidlich originally planned to climb Lhotse, but in her own words she made no real attempt to reach the summit.

Date

7. June 2014 | 16:59

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Russell Brice points the finger

Russell Brice

Russell Brice

He kept silent for weeks, but now he has found very clear words. “This is my 20th year of operations for Himalayan Experience but never before have I experienced such a variety of emotions as I did this year” writes Russell Brice at the beginning of a five-part series of reports about what happened on and around Mount Everest this spring. At this point I can only sum up the content but you should really take time to read Russell’s first hand reports in its full length. The owner and expedition operator from New Zealand was at Everest Base Camp when the devastating avalanche went down over the Khumbu Icefall and killed 16 Nepalese climbers on 18 April. “It appears that there was already a traffic jam in this area at the time of the avalanche, so it is not surprising that there were so many killed and injured.”

Date

4. June 2014 | 15:38

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Pulmonary edema stops Alix von Melle on Makalu

Alix (l.) and Luis on Makalu

Alix (l.) and Luis on Makalu

The most important thing first: Alix von Melle is doing well under the circumstances. The 42-year-old, who has scaled six eight-thousanders and is therefore the most successful German female high altitude climber, started with her husband Luis Stitzinger for their second summit attempt on Makalu at the end of last week. Both reached their last high camp at 7600 meters, as planned. The following night Alix and Luis began to climb to the summit. They wanted to reach the highest point at 8485 meters without bottled oxygen. It was cold and windy, Luis writes. “Like in the past days Alix was plagued by a strong cough, in the extremely cold and dry air at an altitude of more than 7500 meters. After a strong coughing fit Alix suddenly said: Something’s not right, I can hardly breathe!”

Date

30. May 2014 | 16:01

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German women power on Makalu

Heidi Sand (2012 on Everest)

Heidi Sand (2012 on Everest)

Super Sunday on Makalu. Two German female climbers reached the 8485-meter-high summit of the fifth highest mountain in the world on 25 May: Heidi Sand and Billi Bierling. Both were members of the team of Himalayan Experience. Therefore I am tempted to say that both are the first German women on Makalu.Heidi Sand was motivated to do high altitude mountaineering by a serious illness. When she was 43 years old, the sculptor from the town of Stuttgart she got the devastating diagnosis: colon cancer. She swore: If I survive, I will scale Mount Everest. Both happened. Heidi fought the cancer and reached the top of the world in 2012. In 2013, she scaled Cho Oyu – and now at the age of 47 years her third eight-thousander Makalu.

Date

27. May 2014 | 22:57

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End of an Everest dream

Advanced Base Camp on Everest

Advanced Base Camp on Everest

Failure is hard, even for a climber who is up to every trick in the mountains. „I’m not satisfied“, Ralf Dujmovits admits. On Monday he arrived safely back in Advanced Base Camp ABC) at 6400 meters. But what happened to him on Saturday in Camp 3 will probably captivate him for a long time. „I really felt fine all the way up to 8300 meters. But then within half an hour everything changed“, Ralf told me on Monday. The uneven ground, the white frost on the inside of the single-walled tent which melted, dripped down and made everything wet, including his lighter. „It just threw me off course that I could no longer melt snow.“

I ask the 52-year-old whether everything would have been different if he had chosen another tent for Camp 3. „It’s possible. But I chose the lightweight tent because I wanted to reduce the weight as much as possible“, Ralf answers. „If you can carry more, you surely take a different tent.“ And if he had found a better place for his tent? „Then perhaps it would have been different.“ If and would and when, pure speculation. „I ‘m not the kind of man who blames everything on the external circumstances. I am also self-critical“, says Dujmovits. „It was just the way it was.“

Date

27. May 2014 | 18:35

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Double fault stops Dujmovits on Everest

North side of Mount Everest

North side of Mount Everest

Ralf Dujmovits is annoyed. More about himself than about the fact that his dream to climb Mount Everest without bottled oxygen has disappeared. At 8300 meters, Germany’s most successful high-altitude climber decided not to start to the 8850-meter-high summit but to turn around. “I have performed badly”, says Ralf when he calls me by satellite phone from Camp 2 at 7700 meters. “I made a double fault.”

Date

25. May 2014 | 13:27

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Ralf Dujmovits turns around at 8300 meters

Ralf Dujmovits has abandoned his summit attempt without bottled oxygen on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest. He called me from Camp 2 on 7700 meters and said he wanted to descend further down to the Advanced Base Camp at 6400 meters. More details later.

Date

25. May 2014 | 9:59

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