The decision of the Supreme Court of Nepal to overrule the government’s new Everest rules has cleared the way for him: the double amputee Xia Boyu from China will tackle the highest mountain on earth this spring from the Nepalese south side. “Yes, we got his permit”, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head and expedition leader of the Nepalese operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition” writes to me. As reported, the Supreme Court in Kathmandu had rejected in early March the government’s new rule not to issue permits to double-amputee climbers and blind people as discriminating. Mingma Gyalje had shaken his head at the government’s decision: “There are a lot of disabled climbers who are more capable than non-disabled.”
Date31. March 2018 | 21:46
Call me old fashioned. But for me, the special appeal of expeditions is also to leave everyday’s comfort zone and live a simpler life in the mountains, in the ice or anywhere else. This must not mean that you have to mutate into a caveman. But if, as happened recently on Mount Kilimanjaro, I see Korean mountaineers who, just after arriving at the Kibo Hut at 4,720 meters, first let local helpers dust off their shoes, I can only shake my head. Not as embarrassing, but similarly disturbing, I feel it when a tent camp on a mountain hardly differs from your own apartment. Even on Mount Everest!
Date29. March 2018 | 23:00
Carlos Soria doesn’t give up. The now 79-year-old Spaniard set off again to Nepal to climb his 13th of the 14 eight-thousanders. Already for the ninth time, Carlos will tackle Dhaulagiri. Last year, Soria and Co. had had to abandon their only summit attempt in the upper part of the 8,167-meter-high mountain because they had missed the right route while the fog had become denser. Later heavy snow had impeded a second try. “This time I am sure that we will succeed,” said the probably fittest of all climbing seniors optimistically before his departure for Kathmandu.
Date27. March 2018 | 11:59
No question, Seven Summits Treks polarize. On the one hand, there are the critics who accuse the Nepalese expedition operator of attracting clients with dumping prices at the cost of safey. On the other hand, there are apparently many climbers who, despite all critical voices, book at Seven Summits Treks. No matter on which eight-thousander, almost always the agency of Mingma Sherpa crops up with the biggest expedition team. “I am very successful in my business because my clients believe in me,” the head of the company tells me in Kathmandu. In 2011, Mingma was the first Nepalese to complete his collection of the 14 eight-thousanders. “I wanted to show that we Sherpas are not only good porters or mountain guides, but also real climbers.” In 2013, his younger brother Chhang Dawa Sherpa followed the example of Mingma. They are the only brothers so far who stood on all 14 eight-thousanders. Chhang Dawa also works as an expedition manager at Seven Summit Treks.
Date26. March 2018 | 8:20
One of the all-time best high altitude climbers would have celebrated his 70th birthday this Saturday. But he missed this day of honor by more than 28 years: In fall 1989 Jerzy Kukuczka died at the age of 41 in an accident on Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on earth. The Pole had previously scaled as the second climber after Reinhold Messner all 14 eight-thousanders. At times it looked as if Kukuczka could even snatch away the crown from Messner, but then the South Tyrolean closed the eight-thousander match with his ascents of Makalu and Lhotse in fall 1986. Just one year later, in September 1987, when the rather publicity-shy Kukuzczka completed his collection, Messner honored him with the words: “You are not the second, you’re great.”
Date24. March 2018 | 12:57
Second attempt. This spring, Maya Sherpa, one of Nepal’s most famous and best female climbers, will tackle Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. “I am happy to go there again,“ the 40-year-old told me as we met in Kathmandu last week. “I have found sponsors who support me. However, my goal is not only to climb Kangchenjunga, I like to climb more 8,000-meter-peaks as the first Nepali woman.” In May 2017, Maya and her Nepalese friends and teammates Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita and Dawa Yangzum Sherpa had had to turn around on the 8,586-meter-high Kangchenjunga, about 300 meters below the highest point. The entire group of summit candidates had run out of ropes. “One of our Climbing Sherpas told us then that they had made the same mistake in spring 2013,” said Maya. “At that time, they went up to the summit. On descent, two Sherpas and three foreign climbers died because there was no rope, they were tired and it was extremely slippery in the upper part of the mountain, especially on the rock.”
Date23. March 2018 | 9:37
TagsArnold Coster, Everest Summiteer Association, female climber, Kangchenjunga, Maya Sherpa, Nepal, NMA
A joint week in Nepal is behind Ralf Dujmovits and me. As reported before, we inaugurated the first two parts of the new school building in Thulosirubari, a small mountain village about 70 kilometers east of Kathmandu, which could be built thanks to our aid project “School up!”. And we laid the foundation for the second construction phase. In Kathmandu I conducted some interviews – you could already read those with the expedition operators Arnold Coster and Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, more will follow shortly. Ralf took the time to meet old acquaintances and to visit some of his favorite spots in the capital. The 56-year-old is so far the only German mountaineer who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders. Only on Mount Everest in fall 1992 he used bottled oxygen. Later he tried seven times to climb the highest mountain in the world without breathing mask, seven times he failed to reach the summit – most recently in spring 2017 at 8,580 meters on the Tibetan north side of the mountain.
Ralf, we are now here in Kathmandu, not far from Mount Everest, about 160 kilometers as the crow flies. Is it not itching you a bit?
Not at all, at the moment. I have completed this story for me. Of course, I follow what’s happening on Everest. This is still very exciting. But for myself, I have closed the chapter Everest.
Date21. March 2018 | 22:22
His secret of success? “Actually this is my job, because I run a company. So I need to lead my clients to the summit,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa tells me as we sit opposite each other in a café in Kathmandu. In recent years, the 31-year-old has blossomed to the high-flyer among the Sherpas. In fall 2015, he succeeded the first ascent of the West Face of the 6685-meter-high Chobutse in Rolwaling, his home valley – and he did it alone. It was the first solo ascent of a Sherpa in Nepal. Even as an expedition leader, he made headlines. In 2017, no one climbed so often above the magical 8,000-meter-mark as Mingma. The head of the expedition operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition” entered the death zone six times: on Dhaulagiri, Makalu, K2, Broad Peak and twice on Nanga Parbat. Four times he reached the summit (Dhaulagiri, Makalu, K2, Nanga Parbat), the fifth ascent on Broad Peak is disputed. “I will return to this mountain this year,” Mingma announces. “Actually I am quite sure that we made the summit. But this time, I want to reach the highest point of Broad Peak without any doubt, on the one hand to end the debate, on the other for my own satisfaction.”
Date18. March 2018 | 18:56
TagsBroad Peak, Everest rules, Imagine, Lhotse, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat, Nepal
This roadblock is not an ordinary one. Five hundred meters in front of the school grounds in Thulosirubari, 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, our journey in a jeep ends. Eight musicians stand in the middle of the dusty piste through the village. When Ralf Dujmovits – the first and so far only German mountaineer who scaled all 14 eight-thousanders – and I get out of the car, they begin to play for us on their traditional instruments. Behind the music playing village band we ascend the last meters to the school.
There a big event has been organized for us. Several hundred students, parents, teachers, local notables and other residents of Thulosirubari are awaiting us for the ceremonial inauguration and handing over of the first two parts of the building to the local school committee – made possible by your donations to our aid project “School up!”. The old school had been so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015 that it had had to be demolished. At the end of June 2015, I had launched together with Ralf Dujmovits and the Austrian climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner “School up!” to rebuild the Thulosirubari school as soon as possible.
Date17. March 2018 | 9:30
TagsAid project: School up!, Foundation, Gerlinde and Ralf School, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Inauguration, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf Dujmovits, Sindhupalchowk, Thulosirubari
The Everest spring season is on. This Saturday, eight “Icefall Doctors“ will be celebrating a puja in the base camp on the Nepalese south side of the highest mountain in the world, a Buddhist ceremony, during which the gods are asked for their blessing. Next week, the Sherpas, who are specialized in this task, will prepare this year’s route through the Khumbu Icefall. At the beginning of April the first commercial teams are expected in the base camp. “I’m wondering how busy it will be on the south side with every year we see the numbers increasing significantly,“ says Arnold Coster, when I meet him today in Kathmandu. “And I wonder how many actually switch to the Tibetan side.“
Date15. March 2018 | 20:00
The government of Nepal has to revise the controversial new mountaineering rules for Mount Everest and other mountains in the country higher than 6,500-meters. The country’s Supreme Court supported the position of several plaintiffs who found that the new rules were a discrimination against disabled people. Among other things, the government had decided at the end of December with immediate effect not to issue permits to double-amputee climbers and blind people. The complainants had stated inter alia that Nepal had signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and that the new rules clearly contradicted these rights. This opinion was followed by the five judges of the Supreme Court.
Date8. March 2018 | 17:56
TagsEverest rules, Hari Budha Magar, Mount Everest, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, Supreme Court of Nepal
Stricter waste rules apply immediately on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest. “With the number of climbers is increasing rapidly, more and more waste is produced by climbers in mountaineering activities,” says a statement from the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) to the expedition organizers I have received. “Protecting the ecological environment it’s our duty and obligation, also benefit our next generations.” In May 2017, workers and volunteers had collected on behalf of the Tibetan authorities four tons of garbage at altitudes between 5,200 and 6,500 meters on Everest.
Date6. March 2018 | 18:21
K2 remains the only eight-thousander still unclimbed in winter. Krzysztof Wielicki declared the Polish winter expedition on the second highest mountain on earth over. “The priority of the expedition is the safety of the participants,” wrote the expedition leader on Facebook. Adam Bielecki and Janusz Golab found during their exploration climb that all ropes up to Camp 1 on the Abruzzi route were blocked. It had to be assumed that the Camps 1, 2 and 3 were destroyed, said Wielicki. In the last week, there had been 80 centimeters of fresh snow. This had increased the avalanche danger, especially in the upper part of the mountain. In addition, only around 11 March a good weather window was expected, but probably it was too short for a summit push, explained Wielicki.
Date5. March 2018 | 17:36
TagsAdam Bielecki, Denis Urubko, Janusz Golab, K2, Krzysztof Wielicki, Polish K2 winter expedition, Rafal Fronia
The summit certificate is lying at home, so I could actually tick off Kilimanjaro. But Africa’s highest mountain is still on my mind half a week after my return home. My feelings were too ambiguous during the eight days on the highest mountain in Africa. On the one hand I was able to experience hospitable and helpful Tanzanians, a harmonious expedition team and a really impressive nature. The ascent through the various vegetation levels gave me many unforgettable moments. On the other hand, I realized once more the downsides of mass tourism on the mountains.
Date2. March 2018 | 17:24
One and a half weeks in Africa including the ascent of the 5895-meter-high Kilimanjaro lie behind me. High time to look at the two winter expeditions on Mount Everest and K2. Because they provided plenty to talk about, especially the expedition on K2. First, however, to the highest of all mountains: As he had already done in 2017, the Spaniard Alex Txikon abandoned his attempt to scale Mount Everest in winter without bottled oxygen. A summit attempt last week ended at 7850 meters, just below the South Col, because the cold was much more severe and the wind significantly stronger than predicted.
Date28. February 2018 | 23:53
TagsAdam Bielecki, Alex Txikon, Denis Urubko, K2, Krzysztof Wielicki, Mount Everest, Winter Expeditions