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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy the time with your loved ones!

Date

24. December 2017 | 8:00

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Txikon to Everest, Lunger and Lunger to Siberia

Lunger, Moro, Ali, Txikon (from r. to l.) on Nanga Parbat in 2016

I was wrong with my guess. The dream team of Nanga Parbat 2016 will not be together on Mount Everest this winter, but will go their separate ways. Today, the Spanish climber Alex Txikon announced that he would try together with the 41-year-old Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” to scale the highest mountain on earth without bottled oxygen. The other two members of the Nanga summit team, the Italian Simone Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger, are drawn to freezing cold Siberia.

Date

22. December 2017 | 17:11

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Polish K2 winter expedition: A matter of honor

K 2, seen from Base Camp

The “Ice Warriors”, as the Polish winter climbers in the Himalayas and the Karakoram have been called, want to do it again. The last remaining first winter ascent of an eight-thousander is to become a Polish under all circumstances. The state sponsors the prestigious project on K2, with an altitude of 8,611 meters the second highest mountain in the world: the Polish Ministry of Sports and Tourism bears the largest chunk of costs with a cash injection of one million zlotys (almost 240,000 euros). “Because we got the money, we had to follow the idea that it is ​a national expedition,” expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki told desnivel.com (see the video below). All climbers of the K2 winter team are Poles – even Denis Urubko, an avid collector of passports: the native Kazakh received the Russian citizenship in 2013 and in addition the Polish one in 2015.

Date

21. December 2017 | 16:33

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Lunger/Moro: A meeting with the Pope – and then?

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro (r.) with Pope Francis

On Thursday, the (calendrical) winter begins – and thus the question rises again: Who will try to climb which mountain in the cold season? A top-class Polish expedition led by veteran Krzysztof Wielicki will attempt to climb K 2, the last remaining eight-thousander which has not been scaled in winter so far. The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol are said to have already arrived in Pakistan in order to return to Nanga Parbat.

And what’s about the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger and the Italian Simone Moro? Both are considered as extremely “winterproof”. The 50-year-old Simone has four first winter ascents of eight-thousanders on his account (Shishapangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011, Nanga Parbat in 2016). The 31-year-old Tamara and Moro tackled in vain Manaslu in winter 2015. A year later on Nanga Parbat, Lunger had to turn back only 70 meters below the summit, because she felt bad. In this Advent, Lunger and Moro already had a summit meeting: with the Pope. I contacted Tamara:

Tamara, two professional mountaineers (Simone and you) took a selfie with Pope Francis, how did that happen?

Date

20. December 2017 | 11:19

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The “Third Man”

After having met the “Third Man” on Putha Hiunchuli (in 2011)

I have experienced it myself. It happened in fall 2011 during my failed summit attempt on the 7,246-meter-high Putha Hiunchuli in western Nepal, somewhere above 7,000 meters. My teammates were out of reach, I was fighting my way up alone, physically and mentally at the limit. “Please!,” I suddenly heard Pemba Nuru, one of our two Climbing Sherpas, say behind me. “Please what?,” I asked and turned around. But nobody was there. Strange. Scientists call the phenomenon the “Third Man”. Descriptions of such hallucinations abound in expedition reports from the highest mountains in the world. Psychiatrists of the Medical University of Innsbruck and emergency physicians of the private research center “Eurac Research” in Bolzano have now examined about 80 such descriptions from alpine literature and discovered, according to their own information, a new disease: the “isolated high-altitude psychosis”.

Date

16. December 2017 | 17:12

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Paul Ramsden: “Climbing style is everything”

Paul Ramsden

He is anything but a self-promoter. Paul Ramsden does not belong to the group of extreme climbers who are out to market themselves and want to be constantly in the spotlight. Though he certainly deserves it – the list of his first ascents in the Himalayas is long. In fall 2016, for example, the British, together with his compatriot Nick Bullock, succeeded to climb for the first time through the extremely demanding North Face of the 7,046 meter high Nyainqentangla South in Tibet. For this performance, they were recently awarded the Piolet d’Or. It was already the fourth time that Ramsden received the “Oscar of the Climbers”. And this is despite the fact that the 48-year-old is not a professional climber. He earns his living as a self-employed occupational hygienist who advises companies and furnishes expert reports.

Paul, you are a non-professional climber, you have a job and family. What is your motivation to set off year by year to remote mountain areas in the Himalayas to tackle unclimbed mountains, walls or ridges?

Date

14. December 2017 | 12:21

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Mick Fowler: “No, I’m not dying right now”

Mick Fowler

First I had to swallow. He has cancer? That cannot be for real. “For us in the ‘Club of 50+’, people like Mick Fowler are acting like an antidepressant,” I once wrote about the British extreme climber. In my view, the now 61-year-old proves that true adventure knows no age limits.  Year after year, Mick sets out to remote Himalayan regions to enter unexplored climbing terrain. And with great success: Mick has been awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of the Climbers”, already three times. Again this year, he had planned another first ascent in the Indian Himalayas, as in 2016 with his compatriot Victor Saunders, another “oldie”, aged 67. But then, a few months ago, Fowler received the devastating diagnosis: “‘You have cancer’ was both a shock and a relief,” Mick writes looking back. “The uncertainty was over. No more dithering. The trip would have to be cancelled. But what would lie ahead?”

Date

12. December 2017 | 20:55

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New Everest rules in Nepal? Wait and eat Dal Bhat!

Dal Bhat

The fact that this news pops up every year is almost as certain as the lentils in the Nepalese national dish Dal Bhat: The government in Kathmandu wants to change the mountaineering rules on Mount Everest. The emphasis is on “wants to”. In the end, there is always nothing more than this statement of intent, because the proposed amendment gets stuck in any department – or the current government is replaced by a new one. The Ministry of Tourism is now announcing for the umpteenth time that the rules for granting Everest permits will be tightened.

Date

7. December 2017 | 0:33

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Himalayan Database: Treasure chest open to all

Santa Claus has brought an early Christmas gift for mountain lovers from all over the world. Since today, the new version of the Himalayan Database, the electronic “Bible of Expedition Mountaineering in Nepal”, can be downloaded for free. Till now a CD ROM had to be bought to use the archive. Initially, the possibility to free download this extensive data collection should have been available already in November. However, there was a slight delay because the American Richard Salisbury, who added the data of the 2017 spring season, still had to wait for information on the Sherpas’ summit successes.

Date

5. December 2017 | 13:34

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“School up!”: First buildings almost completed

New school buildings in Thulosirubari (picture from today)

The finishing line of the first stage of our aid project “School up!” is in sight: The first two buildings of the new school in the Nepalese mountain village of Thulosirubari will most probably be ready for occupation before the beginning of winter. The doors are fitted these days,  Shyam Pandit, liaison man of the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” in the Himalayan state, writes to me. The windows are already installed. Subsequently, only the painting is missing. By the end of the month, says Shyam, the contractor wants to hand over the two first building units. Then the construction work will go on.

Date

2. December 2017 | 22:33

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The yeti is dead, long live the yeti!

Yeti skull in Khumjung Monastery

As a child, everyone has probably experienced this phase. Actually, you know that Santa Claus does not exist and that it’s your parents who put the presents under the tree. And yet you are repressing this fact – simply because Santa is part of the party. Something like that happens to me with the yeti. Actually, I do not believe that this huge mountain monster on two legs really exists, however, for me, the myth and the countless legends about the abominable snowman are simply part of the Himalayas. Therefore, I find it – quite frankly – rather silly that American scientists from the University of Buffalo now stand up and say: The yeti is actually a bear.

Date

1. December 2017 | 15:09

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Highest court of Nepal scraps Everest record

Mount Everest

The Supreme Court of Nepal, the highest court in the Himalayan state, does not recognize the supposedly fastest ascent of Mount Everest. There was no evidence that Pemba Dorje Sherpa really ascended on 21 May 2004 in just eight hours and 10 minutes from the base camp on the south side of the highest mountain in the world to the summit at 8,850 meters, the court said, adding that there was no summit picture, nor could another climber confirm that Pemba Dorje had been at the top that day. The court said that the record was now back to Lakpa Gelu Sherpa, who had reached the summit on 26 May 2003 in ten hours and 56 minutes.

Date

29. November 2017 | 14:38

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Sung Taek Hong wants to come back

Sung Taek Hong on Lhotse South Face

The half dozen is full. For the sixth time, Sung Taek Hong returns empty-handed from Lhotse to South Korea, for the fifth time from the South Face of the 8,516-meter-high mountain in Nepal. As already reported, also the second summit attempt failed. Despite strong winds, Hong had ascended again to Camp 4 at 8,250 meters on November 20 and spent a night there in a broken tent, Kyu-po Pyun, spokesman of the Korean expedition, wrote to me. Hong “was aware that safe climbing is not possible anymore. He decided to descend.”

Date

25. November 2017 | 22:21

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New route on Chulu West: “Less commerce, more mountain”

On ascent via the West Ridge

It does not have to be the Lhotse South Face. For strong and ambitious climbers, who neither belong to the “extremes” nor the professionals, the Himalayas also offer other attractive destinations to experience great adventure. Three of my buddies from the first ascent of Kokodak Dome in 2014 proved that in Nepal this fall.  On 19 October, Jürgen Schütz, André Günzel and Manuel Möller, together with the Nepalese Dawa Gyalje Sherpa and Pasang Gomba Sherpa, succeeded the first ascent of the West Ridge of Chulu West. The 6,419 meter high mountain is located in the area around the eight-thousander Annapurna. Chulu West, first climbed in 1952 by a Japanese expedition, is a popular “trekking mountain” without major technical difficulties – but this only applies to the normal route via the Northeast Ridge.

Date

24. November 2017 | 17:03

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Lhotse South Face expedition reportedly failed

In the wall

Also the second summit attempt of the South Korean Sung Taek Hong and the Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga on the South Face of the 8,516-meter-high Lhotse in Nepal has apparently failed. Even though they were not able to reach the summit of Lhotse, “they made a safe climbing and finally they all are back safely,” writes Lakpa Sherpa, managing director of “Pioneer Adventure Treks & Expedition” on Instagram. The Nepalese operator had deployed four Sherpas for the South Korean expedition. A confirmation by the South Koreans is still pending, as well as the information, how far up Sung Taek Hong and Co. climbed this time in the wall and why they allegedly turned around.

Date

22. November 2017 | 14:10

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