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with Stefan Nestler

High or highest point of Broad Peak?

Broad Peak

Chroniclers of mountaineering in the Himalayas and Karakoram like the Germans Billi Bierling and Eberhard Jurgalski are in an unenviable position.  On the one hand, in the age of commercial climbing, they are facing a real flood of success reports which can hardly be overcome. On the other hand, summit successes are reported, which in fact are none because the climbers did not reach the highest point. “It’s getting harder and harder,” Billi Bierling told me some time ago. Following the retreat of the legendary chronicler Elizabeth Hawley (now 93 years old), Billi is now in charge of leading the Himalayan Database. “Actually, I’m inquiring closely. But sometimes I just want to have more time,” said Bierling. She assumed that most climbers were still honest, but sometimes the truth was “a bit distorted”, she complained.

It is disputed now whether the Nepalese expedition leader Mingma Gyalje Sherpa really led his group to the highest point of Broad Peak on 4 August, at the end of the summer season in Karakorum. Eberhard Jurgalski has compared Mingmas video, which was recorded in snow drifting, with other summit videos and photos from Broad Peak and concludes that the group has not reached the highest point of the eight-thousander but a different elevation on the summit ridge, at least 45 minutes away from the summit and about 25 meters lower than this.

Date

29. August 2017 | 16:44

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Mingma G. Sherpa and Co. also on top of Broad Peak

Broad Peak

“Mr. 8000” has done it again. “We all are on Broad peak summit,“  Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination wrote on Facebook today. All means according to Mingmas yesterday’s post: ten climbers. The summit success was confirmed by the data from the GPS tracker of John Snorri Sigurjónsson, one of Mingmas clients. For the 31-year-old Mingma, it was already his fourth success on eight-thousanders this year. Previously, the Sherpa had led clients to the summits of Dhaulagiri and Makalu in Nepal last spring and of K2 last Friday. In addition, he had reached with his team the summit ridge of Nanga Parbat not being sure if he had really found the highest point.

Date

4. August 2017 | 11:43

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Late summit attempt on Broad Peak

Broad Peak (with the shadow of K2)

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa does not seem to get fed up with climbing eight-thousanders this summer. Five days after his summit success on K2, when under his guidance twelve climbers had reached the top of the 8,611-meter-high mountain in the Karakoram, the 31-year-old expedition leader of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination set off with a team for a late-in-season summit attempt on neighboring Broad Peak. According to the GPS tracker of his client John Snorri Sigurjónsson, the team today reached Camp 2 at about 6,200 meters. Last week, John had become the first Icelander on the summit of K 2, the second highest mountain on earth.

Date

2. August 2017 | 16:39

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Czechs complete new route on Gasherbrum I

Marek Holecek, in the background Gasherbrum I

Marek Holecek has fulfilled his great dream. In the fifth run, the 43-year-old Czech climber completed a new route via the Southwest Face of the eight-thousander Gasherbrum I. On Monday, Marek, according to his own words, reached together with his countryman Zdenek Hak the 8,080 meter-high-summit of the mountain in the Karakoram, which is also called Hidden Peak. Today they returned to the base camp safe and sound, but “dead tired, smelly, emaciated more than the world’s top models”, as Marek told the Czech website “lidovky.cz”.

Date

1. August 2017 | 11:44

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Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: “Perfect teamwork on K2”

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa on the summit of K2

The base camp at K 2, the second highest mountain on earth, will turn empty in the coming days. Andrzej Bargiel and his Polish friends declared that their ski expedition was over after they had finished their summit attempt at the weekend because of too much avalanche danger. The Swedish Fredrik Sträng and his Pakistani companion also turned around. The commercial expedition operators Furtenbach Adventure and Himalayan Experience had previously thrown in the towel.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the operator Dreamers Destination, can return to Nepal highly satisfied. Under the guidance of the 31-year-old a team of twelve climbers had reached the 8,611-meter-high summit on Friday. These were the first summit successes on K2 since 2014, when Mingma had also been one of the successful climbers there and had climbed up without breathing mask. In spring 2017, the extremely high performing Sherpa had already scaled along with clients the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri and Makalu. This summer he had reached with a team the summit ridge of Nanga Parbat without knowing if they had really found the highest point. After his success on K2, I have sent Mingma some questions. Here are his answers:

Mingma, first of all congrats to you and your team. Great performance! Some expedition leaders turned around due to the avalanche risk which they valued as being too high. What made you feel confident that it could work?

Date

31. July 2017 | 13:55

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Summit successes on K2

K 2, seen from Base Camp

It was a tough piece of work. “Finally we are at the summit of K2,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination, wrote on Facebook. Besides him, eleven other climbers had reached the highest point at 8,611 meters, including six Sherpas, Mingma said. Obviously it took them about 16 hours to climb from the last high camp on the K2 Shoulder at about 7,650 meters up to the summit – no wonder considering the large amount of fresh snow, which had previously caused some teams to abandon their attempts due to the avalanche danger.

Date

28. July 2017 | 14:41

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Oscar Cadiach completes his 14×8000

Oscar Cadiach

The Beatles can not have meant Oscar Cadiach when they wrote the lyrics for their song “When I’m sixty-four”: “Yours sincerely, wasting away”. The Spanish climber is 64 years old but nothing could be further from wasting away. He is certainly fitter than most 32-year-olds. Today, Oscar completed his big project: The Catalan summited the 8051- meter-high Broad Peak in the Karakoram and has now stood on top of all 14 eight-thousanders without having used bottled oxygen. 33 years ago, Cadiach had scaled his first eight-thousander, also in Pakistan: Nanga Parbat.

Date

27. July 2017 | 18:56

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K 2 and Broad Peak: Summits within reach

K 2, the “King of the Eight-thousanders”

Will K2, after all, stretch out its hand for reconciliation? Despite the difficult weather and snow conditions on the second highest mountain on earth, today more than a dozen climbers have reached the highest camp on the K 2 Shoulder. “He just arrived at Camp 4,” Lina Moey, partner of the Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson, wrote on Facebook. “He is very tired, after almost twelve hours of climbing. This was a very long day and the snow reached up to his waist at some points. Fourteen people are planing to summit the peak, 9 of them are Sherpa. They had to dig 1.5 meter down to be able to put the tent down.” On 16 May, the 44-year-old Sigurjonsson had summited the 8516-meter-high Lhotse in Nepal. He was the first Icelander on the fourth highest mountain on earth. Also on the summit of K2, he would be the first climber of his country. John’s GPS tracker showed an altitude of 7,650 meters.

Date

26. July 2017 | 19:37

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Hard days in the Karakoram

Shadow of K2 falls on Broad Peak (there was better weather in 2004)

Damn hard or impossible? This question is likely to be answered in the next few days on the eight-thousanders K2 and Broad Peak. Summit bids are running on both mountains. “K2 is all about weather,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination, writes on Facebook today. “We had three days bad weather though weather report showed good (weather). Some teams on K2 are closed already and some in my team are going down too. But remaining, we still want to check 27 July.”

Date

25. July 2017 | 15:17

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The big wait on K 2

K 2 Base Camp

Waiting can wear down. For more than one and a half weeks, the freak weather in the Karakoram prevented major activities on K2, the second highest mountain on earth. A week ago, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa watched from Base Camp a big avalanche, which swept down over the normal route via the Abruzzi spur at about 7,000 meters. The 31-year-old head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination had to give up his plan to check what damage had been caused due to bad weather. Since then, he has been waiting for a summit change at the foot of the mountain, along with his clients and Climbing Sherpas. After all, the first team members left BC today heading for Camp 1. Before, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa answered my questions.

Mingma, how is the mood in K 2 Base Camp while waiting for a good weather window? 

Date

23. July 2017 | 8:20

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Spanish trio abandons summit attempt on Gasherbrum II

Route of the Spaniards on Gasherbrum II (blue)

Once again the weather in the Karakorum is a grab bag. “We are all still at Base Camp with the same 4 seasons in one day, sun, cloud, rain, snow, wind,” the New Zealand expedition leader Russell Brice wrote this week from K 2, the second highest mountain on earth. About 20 kilometers as the crow flies from there, Alberto Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza regardless of the freak weather started their ambitious attempt to traverse Gasherbrum I and II in Alpine style without descending to the base camp – 33 years after Reinhold Messner’s and Hans Kammerlander’s pioneering on these two eight-thousanders which has not yet been repeated to date.

Date

21. July 2017 | 16:15

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Summit success reported from Gasherbrum II

Gasherbrum II

According to the Pakistani expedition operator Alpine Adventure Guides, there was this summer’s first summit success on Gasherbrum II. The two Frenchmen Mathieu Maynadier and Jeremy Rumebe had reached the 8,034-meter-high summit in the Karakoram, the agency said on Twitter. Further information is not yet available. The two mountain guides from France had planned to climb G II on the normal route and to ski down afterwards. The goal of his first eight-thousander expedition was to gather experience at high altitude for an attempt on a technical route on an eight-thousander over the next few years, Maynadier had said ahead of the trip.

Date

17. July 2017 | 14:40

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Avalanche on K 2

K 2 Base Camp

With this monarch is not to be joked. K 2, the “king of the eight-thousanders”, is moody and therefore dangerous. “This morning at 8:12 am, we saw (a) big avalanche coming from (the) Abruzzi route,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination, writes on Facebook. The Abruzzi route, following the path of the Italian first ascenders in 1954, leads via the Southeast Ridge of the mountain (look at the picture below, route F). “We feel all (that) Camp 3 (at about 7,300 m) is swept away again. I am sure we have all our deposit near Camp 4 because our Sherpa team made it on (a) ice cliff, but it is likely sure that all the fixed ropes are washed away.” Tomorrow his Sherpa team will go up again to assess the situation.

Date

14. July 2017 | 14:41

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Risky search on Nanga Parbat

The accident site (© Alex Gavan)

Looked at soberly, actually there can not be any doubt: The Spaniard Alberto Zerain and the Argentinean Mariano Galvan have been killed two weeks ago in an avalanche accident on the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat. Photos taken by the Romanian climber Alex Gavan from a rescue helicopter show the track of the two climbers ending exactly at the fracture line of an avalanche. The last position indicated by the climbers’ GPS tracker is a spot far below, in the supposed fall line. (Look also at the video below) Nonetheless a Pakistani team of eight is currently again searching for the missing climbers at the place where the avalanche swept down. “We moved to the south side of the ridge. We closely looked at the face,” the leader of the search team said today. “We can see the traverse Mariano made. We can also see the ridge from which a chunk of ice fell that potentially caused the accident by sweeping the climbers off the (ridge) into the highly broken glacier. Three of us will try (to ascend) from South West Ridge and three from south east.”

Date

12. July 2017 | 15:03

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Summit successes on Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat

Broad Peak

From Pakistan, this summer season’s first ascents on the 8051-meter-high Broad Peak are reported. Seven members of the team of the Austrian expedition operator Furtenbach Adventures and four climbers of the team of the Swiss operator Kobler@Partner reached the summit of the twelfth highest mountain on earth, it said. According to Furtenbach Adventures, expedition Rupert Hauer succeeded, along with three Sherpas and three clients, the first summit success on Broad Peak this season – even though there was a meter of fresh snow above the last high camp: “The sherpas made an unbelievable job and worked really really hard.”

Date

11. July 2017 | 14:41

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