A blank spot less on the map of the highest mountains: According to his own words, the 24-year-old German climber Jost Kobusch made the first ascent of the 7,296-meter-high Nangpai Gosum II. The mountain, till then the fourth highest unclimbed peak of the world, is located in the border area between Nepal and China, not far from the eight-thousander Cho Oyu. The slightly higher Nangpai Gosum I (7,351 meters) is also known as Jasemba, in Nepal it is officially called Pasang Lhamu Chuli, named after the first Nepali woman on Mount Everest. “I’ve been climbing very fast. Shortly below the summit it got once again exhausting because there was a lot of deep snow,” Jost said in a podcast published on his website. “Standing up there was liberating. All these pains, the efforts before, suddenly subsided. I think I had not really believed that it would work.”
Date10. October 2017 | 15:35
The very big point was missing. The 6,942-meter-high Burke Khang was successfully first climbed – but Bill Burke, the man after whom the mountain in the Gokyo Valley near Mount Everest is named, was not at the top. According to the Nepali expedition operator Asian Trekking, the Northern Irishman Noel Hanna and the Sherpas Naga Dorje Sherpa, Pemba Tshering Sherpa and Samden Bhote reached the summit of Burke Khang on Thursday. Bill had ascended up to Camp 1 but had decided not to climb higher, it said. Bummer! He would have deserved to be among the first ascenders, just only because of his persistance. For the fourth time – after in fall 2015 and 2016 and in spring 2017 – the 75-year-old American had traveled to Burke Khang. The previous attempts had failed due to bad weather or dangerous conditions on the mountain.
Date8. October 2017 | 12:23
TagsAng Phurba Sherpa, Bill Burke, Boyan Petrov, Burke Khang, Dhaulagiri, first ascent, Naga Dorje Sherpa, Nepal, Noel Hanna, Pemba Tshering Sherpa, Samden Bhote, Yuri Kruglov
“Despite the premonition, we were utterly amazed at what happened there,” says Luis Stitzinger after his return from Manaslu. “This was a true tent city in the base camp.” As reported earlier, the 48-year-old had led a team of eight of the German expedition operator Amical alpin to the 8,163-meter-high summit in Nepal last Saturday. Along with Luis, his 46-year-old wife Alix von Melle, reached the highest point. For both, it was their seventh eight-thousander and the sixth which they scaled together, all without bottled oxygen. At the beginning of the expedition eleven of the 14 members of the Amical team had become infected with flu by ill porters. “It was a bad start,” says Luis. “Some members had to abandon the whole thing. It was a pity.” I reach Luis on the phone at a hotel in Kathmandu:
Luis, first of all congratulations on your seventh eight-thousander. How did you experience your summit day?
Date6. October 2017 | 10:31
TagsAlix von Melle, Amical Alpin, climate chance, Luis Stitzinger, Manaslu, theft, Without bottled oxygen
It did not let him rest. “This time I have no doubt,” says Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, when he rings me out of bed after midnight our time. “We were at the summit of Nanga Parbat.” The 31-year-old calls me by satellite telephone from Camp 4. The connection is bad, I have to ask several times. Eight climbers were at the highest point, the Nepalese reports. “The weather was very good and the view too.”
Date3. October 2017 | 1:17
The “Mountain of the Spirit” is close to my heart. It is simply because I spent more than a month at the foot of Manaslu ten years ago. Since then, I have had a personal relationship with this impressive eight-thousander in Nepal. In spring 2007, I reported from the base camp at 4,850 meters about a commercial expedition. Once I myself climbed up to Camp 1 at 5,700 meters. At that time we – expedition leader Ralf Dujmovits and eleven clients as well as a team of two from Austria – were the only people on the mountain. We could not imagine (and would not have liked) then that Manaslu would mutate into the “Mount Everest of fall season”. In the current season about 500 climbers populated Manaslu Base Camp. Nearly 200 summit successes have been reported so far – being noticed that this time mostly pictures were published that had been taken on the highest point and not, as in previous years, on a spot below. Among those who reached the 8,163-meter-high summit there were two climbers with whom I had been en route on other mountains.
Date2. October 2017 | 14:42
TagsAlix von Melle, Amical Alpin, Bottled oxygen, Luis Stitzinger, Manaslu, Nepal, Sergio Zigliotto
They have been on the road for the last three weeks and are expected to have meanwhile arrived at the destination of their expedition. The Swiss climbers Stephan Siegrist and Julian Zanker and the German Thomas Huber want to tackle the still not mastered West Face of the 6155-meter-high Cerro Kishtwar. The mountain, located in the Indian part of the crisis region Kashmir, has been scaled only three times so far. In 1993, the British Mick Fowler and the American Steve Susted succeeded the first ascent via the Northwest Face. In 2011, Siegrist, his Swiss countryman Denis Burdet and the Austrian David Lama reached the summit of Cerro Kishtwar as the second rope team, after opening a new route on the edge of the West Face. The third ascent was made in 2015 by the Slovenes Marko Prezelj and Urban Novak, the American Hayden Kennedy and the Frenchman Manu Pellisier. They were awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of the Climbers”, for their first ascend of the South Face.
Date27. September 2017 | 16:33
The probably fittest of all seniors among the high altitude climbers must still wait for his 13th eight-thousander. Because of too much snow on the mountain Carlos Soria declared his expedition on the 8,167-meter-high Dhaulagiri for finished. During the ascent of the 78-year-old Spaniard and his companions to Camp 1, some avalanches had swept down not far away from the climbers, Carlos indicated on Facebook, adding that the high risk of avalanches would continue in the upper parts of the mountain. Moreover, the fixed ropes which they had laid before had been buried by fresh snow. “Because of all these adversities, we have no choice but to abandon our Dhaulagiri expedition for this season,” said Soria. A first summit attempt had failed one and a half weeks ago at an altitude of about 7,800 meters, because Carlos and Co. had missed the right route while the fog had become stronger.
Date26. September 2017 | 18:41
TagsAlix von Melle, Carlos Soria, Dhaulagiri, Expeditionen, Gipfelversuch, Luis Stitzinger, Manaslu, Nepal
Picture journey “School up! River down!”
My tired legs still remind me of the 1494 kilometers which I have ridden with my folding bike in twelve days from the source of the Rhine near the Oberalp Pass in Switzerland to the mouth of the river into the North Sea near Hoek van Holland – in order to collect donations for our campaign “School up!” to rebuild the school in the Nepali mountain village of Thulosirubari. A heartfelt thanks to all who – inspired by my tour – donated for the project or will do it in the next few days (see the bank account below). Here again a small picture journey down the Rhine:
Recipient: Nepalhilfe Beilngries e.V.
Bank: Volksbank Bayern Mitte eG/Germany
IBAN: DE05 7216 0818 0004 6227 07
Intended purpose: Gerlinde and Ralf School
Date24. September 2017 | 15:50
TagsAid project: School up!, Folding bike, Hoek van Holland, Oberalp Pass, Rhine, School up! River down!
My summit was the end of the pier. Where a red tower with beacon signals to the ships on the North Sea that they have reached the mouth of the Rhine and that the port of Rotterdam is near. I reached this point with my folding bike today at 3.30 p.m., the twelfth day after my departure at the Oberalp Pass in Switzerland, near the source of the Rhine. 1,494 kilometers lie behind me, on average I cycled about 125 kilometers per day. The last meters on the pier felt great. All hardships were forgotten. I simply enjoyed to move slowly towards the goal of my donation bike tour “School up! River down!”.
Date22. September 2017 | 22:08
TagsAid project: School up!, Dordrecht, Folding bike, Hoek van Holland, Kinderdijk, Mouth of the Rhine, Oberalp Pass, Rhine, Rotterdam, School up! River down!, Source of the Rhine
I’m just driving down the Rhine. No way! The closer you get to the mouth of the river into the North Sea, the more complicated it becomes. Everywhere are river arms and somehow they all have to do with the Rhine, but they are no longer called so. But Waal, Maas, Merwede or Linge. With additions such as “Oude” (Old), “Nieuwe” (New), “Beneden” (Lower) or “Boven” (Upper). And then there are also canals, such as the Amsterdam-Rijn-Kanaal, which I crossed today at Rijswijk. So you can easily lose orientation. The time has passed when I was cycling along the Rhine and only had to decide which side of the river I used.
Date22. September 2017 | 0:03
TagsAid project: School up!, Dordrecht, Ferry, Folding bike, Mass, Rhine, School up! River down!, Waal, Wageningen
It was like someone had flipped a switch. As soon as I had crossed the German-Dutch border behind Emmerich on the right side of the Rhine, I felt like I was in a different bicycle world. It all started with the fact that many more people were cycling. Seniors with e-bikes, housewives, with their market purchases on the luggage carrier, opposing the wind, large groups of bycyle racers, parents and their children, all with bikes. After my departure in the morning in Rheinberg-Ossenberg north of Duisburg, I had hardly met any cyclists on the bike paths on the dykes. This time the weather was not an excuse. It was misty until noon, but dry. And the wind blew only moderately.
Date20. September 2017 | 23:57
TagsAid project: School up!, Arnheim, Emmerich, Folding bike, Kalkar, Rhine, School up! River down!, Wageningen, Xanten
I had to think of Marcel Wüst today. “Do you really believe that after a difficult mountain stage of the Tour de France, we could be back on the next day as if nothing had happened?”, asked me the former German road bicycle racer at the end of the 1990s. “Actually, we urgently need a rest day. But we do not get that. So we have to help ourselves, according to the motto: Permitted is what is not on the doping list.” Today I felt like after a mountain stage. Yesterday’s ride with 186 kilometers was still working hard in me. My legs were heavy, I tortured myself with my folding bike further down the Rhine.
Date19. September 2017 | 23:17
TagsAid project: School up!, Cologne, Duisburg, Folding bike, Leverkusen, Neuss, Rhine, School up! River down!
Is there a better flow than one that you experience at a river? After this day I can hardly imagine it. Everything fitted together. The weather remained dry until the late afternoon, the cycle paths from Bingen via Koblenz into the direction of Cologne were in good condition, and my little folding bike almost wheeled by itself. On top of that I had an ideal travel companion with Kai from Cologne, who I first met shortly after Bingen.
Date18. September 2017 | 22:30
TagsAid project: School up!, Bingen, Bonn, Cologne, Folding bike, Koblenz, Lorelei, Rhine, School up! River down!
The temptation was waiting at kilometer 90, just behind the village of Nierstein near the town of Mainz. Once again I was on a diversion (this time, for a change, exemplary signposted) and had driven for a while through vineyards. In the villages I had seen a lot of people sitting comfortably in “Strausses” drinking new wine and eating onion tart. The sun was shining and I thought: If I would not try to ride as many kilometers as possible for “School up! River down!”, I would now for sure take the time to set in. I remained hard and continued cycling with my folding bike. Behind Nierstein, below the “Red Slope” – named after its clay sandstone ground and known for its excellent Riesling wines – about 30 people blocked the bike path.
Date17. September 2017 | 22:16
TagsAid project: School up!, Altrip, Bingen am Rhein, Folding bike, Mainz, Nierstein, Rhine, School up! River down!, Wine
I will sleep well, no matter how loud it is. “I have to warn you,” said the hotel staff at the front desk. “We have three wedding parties today, and music might be played until 6 a.m.” The hotel in the village of Altrip, located on the so-called “Blue Lagoon” about 15 kilometers from the gates of Ludwigshafen, specializes in the align of weddings. On the other hand, it also offers a special discount for bike tourists. Exemplary! And so I stood around 6 p.m. in my bike pants in the hotel lobby, a few meters away from me one of the three brides – and many guests who were dressed up. “Don’t worry,” I answered to the receptionist. “I’m all run down, I’ll sleep like a stone.”
Date16. September 2017 | 23:00
TagsAid project: School up!, Altrip, Karlsruhe, Ralf Dujmovits, Rhine, School up! River down!, Söldlingen, Sölllingen, Speyer