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Search Results for Tag: Avalanche

Same route as in the accident year 2014

Route through the Khumbu Icefall (on the right) in the two past years and that of 2014 (left)

Has the memory of the Everest tragedy in 2014 faded so quickly? According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the “Icefall Doctors” have relocated the route through the Khumbu Icefall for the upcoming season to the left side of the ice labyrinth, just below the ice-loaded West Shoulder. On 18 April 2014, an ice avalanche had swept down from there and killed 16 Nepalese climbers. In spring 2015 (this season also ended prematurely due to the devastating earthquake in Nepal) and in 2016 too, the Sherpas, who were responsible for securing and maintaining the route through the Icefall, had chosen a variant on the right side.

Date

4. April 2017 | 16:35

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Shishapangma, the last take!

Shishapangma

Shishapangma

A chewing gum is not getting better by chewing it endlessly. There must come a time to spit it out. Stories are a similar ballgame. At a certain moment everything has been devoured a 1000 times. Then you should have the courage to draw a line under it before it becomes a never ending story, which is still only annoying. This will be my last blog post on the avalanche on Shishapangma which happened on next Saturday, exactly two years ago. Maybe not yet everything is said, but in my view it’s enough to close the chapter – and hopefully learn from it.

Date

22. September 2016 | 15:41

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Controversy over avalanche on Shishapangma

Advanced Base Camp on Shishapangma

Advanced Base Camp on Shishapangma

24 September 2014, 6.55 a.m.: Five men are climbing at 7,900 meters towards the summit of the eight-thousander Shishapangma when the avalanche releases. The Germans Sebastian Haag and Martin Maier and Italian Andrea Zambaldi are swept several hundred meters down the slope. German Benedikt Boehm and Swiss Ueli Steck have a lucky escape and get away from the snow masses. The 36-year-old Haag and the 32-year-old Zambaldi die. Maier miraculously survives and is able to escape by his own strength to the high camp. The news of the incident first appears in my blog. The first interviews about the avalanche with Bene Boehm and Martin Maier can also be read on “Adventure Sports”.

“Time does not heal everything”

More than one and a half year later, Martin has opened up a debate on the incident by giving an interview to the German magazine “Bergsteiger”. The 41-year-old industrial engineer is in his own words still suffering from long-term effects which are not only health problems: “Time does not heal everything – neither injuries that have remained to this day nor the sadness and bitterness about the fact that people want to increase their self-esteem at the expense of others.” Maier accuses the other two survivors of the avalanche, Boehm and Steck, of not having told the truth and of having abandoned him too quickly.

Date

12. July 2016 | 21:25

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Checkmate at Annapurna summit

Jost Kobusch in Annapurna Base Camp

Jost Kobusch in Annapurna Base Camp

It sounds like an April fool’s joke with a month’s delay. Before the German Jost Kobuschas reported – reached the 8,091 meter-high summit of Annapurna on 1 May, he, according to his own words, played a game of chess against the Israeli climber Nadav Ben-Yehuda just below the highest point. “We had previously played at least two games every day at Base Camp during the periods of bad weather,” says Jost. So the idea of a chess duel at the top was born. Nadav, who used bottled oxygen, reached the highest point just before Jost, who climbed without breathing mask. “When we met just below the summit, I said to him: Wait! We still have to play a game of chess,” the 23-year-old German tells me. “We played on my smartphone, 20 meters below the summit.”

Date

13. May 2016 | 19:29

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After 16 ½ years: Alex Lowe’s body found

Alex Lowe in 1995 (l., along with Conrad Anker)

Alex Lowe in 1995 (l., with Conrad Anker)

Glaciers are constantly moving. And so they spit out one day what they once swallowed. Climate change, which makes glaciers melt faster, is speeding up the process. In recent years there have been more and more reports from around the world that bodies of dead climbers were discovered after many years. Whether on Mont Blanc, on the Matterhorn, on Mount Everest – or now on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet. The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation announced that Swiss Ueli Steck and German David Goettler had discovered the bodies of two climbers in blue ice during their acclimatization for Shishapangma South Face. The melting glacier would release the corpses soon. The description of clothes and packs left no doubt that it was the bodies of Alex Lowe and David Bridges, it was said.

Date

2. May 2016 | 15:48

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Helicopter transport flights to Everest high camps

Helicopter starting from the airstrip Syangboche above Namche Bazaar

Helicopter starting from the airstrip Syangboche above Namche Bazaar

Time does not stand still, even in Khumbu. Two things have changed dramatically in the region around Mount Everest between my first visit in 2002 and my second last March. Firstly, the sanitary facilities – on average – have become much more modern and cleaner than 14 years ago. Secondly, the aircraft noise has increased significantly. On a clear day, helicopters are flying – as I felt, steadily – through the valley from Lukla to Namche Bazaar and also further up towards Everest Base Camp.

Date

23. April 2016 | 12:17

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Ten popular Everest errors

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

The Everest spring season is gaining momentum. The Base Camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest is filling. According to the government in Kathmandu, 279 climbers from 38 countries have registered for the highest mountain on earth. The Icefall Doctors have meanwhile prepared the route all the way up to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters. The teams who want to climb Everest from the Tibetan north side, have also received now their permits from the Chinese authorities and are heading to Tibet. It’s going to kick off there too. Before the media Everest season begins, I would like to correct some reoccurring errors.

Date

13. April 2016 | 12:47

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Dorje’s Everest sabbatical

Dorje Sherpa in front of his lodge in Phakding

Dorje Sherpa in front of his lodge in Phakding

Dorje Sherpa is familiar with Everest disasters. In 1996, 20 years ago, he reached the summit of the highest mountain on earth for the first time. Then he belonged to the IMAX film team of the American David Breashears, when a storm in the summit area killed eight climbers within 24 hours. “We were then in Camp 2 at 6,400 meters”, the 50-year-old tells me in his “Buddha Lodge” in the village of Phakding, which lies on the popular trekking route to Everest Base Camp.

Date

16. March 2016 | 13:08

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The tireless weatherman

Charly Gabl

Charly Gabl

“I’m retired, but not tired or unhappy”, says Karl, called “Charly” Gabl. “You should not slow down from hundred to one. As on the road, that would be fatal.” Four years ago, the Austrian meteorologist retired, but the 68-year-old weatherman is still advising many professional climbers during their expeditions in the Himalayas or Karakoram. “I’m doing this voluntarily. For example last summer, I advised the Huber brothers on Latok I where they did not succeed due to the warm weather and were almost killed by an ice avalanche”, Gabl told me when I met him at the Alpine Trade Fair in Innsbruck last weekend.

Date

12. November 2015 | 9:36

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Habeler: “Go to Nepal – but not all to Everest!”

Peter Habeler

Peter Habeler in the German town of Leverkusen

You would not estimate that Peter Habeler has really 73 years under his belt. Slim, wiry, tanned – just one who is still climbing mountains. Along with friends, he is currently repeating many routes in the Alps that he climbed when he was young, the Austrian told me when I met him at a mountaineers’ event in Leverkusen near my hometown Cologne last weekend: “Thankfully, I feel physically very well. But it’s going round in circles: If you train and climb a lot, you’re just in better physical shape.” Even 37 years after Habeler climbed Mount Everest along with Reinhold Messner for the first time without bottled oxygen, the highest mountain on earth is always in his mind – of course also due to the fact that he as a pioneer is questioned on Everest again and again.

Date

28. October 2015 | 17:12

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Avalanche on Dôme de Neige kills seven climbers

Dôme de Neige (r.)

Dôme de Neige (r.)

Seven climbers have lost their lives in an avalanche in the French Alps today. The incident happened on the 4015-meter-high Dôme de Neige in the Écrins massif southeast of Grenoble. The French authorities said that four Germans and three Czechs died in the avalanche. Another injured female climber from Germany was rescued. It is said that three rope teams were hit by the snow masses. According to the rescuers, the 250-meter-long avalanche was likely triggered when a snow slab separated and hurtled down the slope. Last weekend it had heavily snowed in the region. “The conditions are winter-like at the moment“, a policeman said. At least 39 people have died in snowslides this year in France, according to the National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches.

Date

15. September 2015 | 16:48

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Dawa Steven Sherpa: “Ke garne! We carry on!”

Dawa Steven Sherpa

Dawa Steven Sherpa

There is a jinx on it. Two spring seasons on Everest in a row remained without summit successes (I ignore those of the Wang Jing team in 2014 because they were flown by helicopter to the high camp). In 2014, all commercial expeditions were cancelled after an avalanche had killed 16 Nepalese climbers in Khumbu Icefall. This year, the devastating earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche from the seven-thousander Pumori hitting Everest Base Camp and killing 19 mountaineers and support staff. Once again the spring season ended before it had really begun. What does this mean for the Sherpa people?

I called Dawa Steven Sherpa. Along with his father Ang Tshering Sherpa, the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the 31-year-old is managing “Asian Trekking”, a Kathmandu-based leading operator for expeditions and trekkings in the Himalayas. Dawa Steven scaled Everest twice (in 2007 and 2008) and in addition the eight-thousanders Cho Oyu (2006) and Lhotse (2009). Under his expedition leadership more than 150 climbers have summited Everest. But Dawa Steven is also a tireless fighter for environmental and climate protection in the Himalayas. Furthermore he is leading “Resilient Homes”  , a project of the “Himalayan Climate Initiative” to help earthquake-affected communities to rebuild their houses and other buildings – one more reason to talk to him about the current situation in Nepal.

Date

9. September 2015 | 14:45

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Temba Tsheri Sherpa: “I lost my business”

Temba Tsheri Sherpa

Temba Tsheri Sherpa

Temba Tsheri reached the summit of Mount Everest when he was 16 years and 14 days old. The Nepalese schoolboy from Rolwaling Valley had joined a French team that climbed from the Tibetan north side to the top of Everest. Then, in 2001, he was the youngest climber ever who had scaled the highest mountain on earth. (Nine years later he was followed by 13-year-old American Jordan Romero.) In spring 2000, Temba had tried to climb Everest from the south side. Just below the summit he had had to return, because he had lost too much time because of a traffic jam at the Hillary Step. He had lost five fingers due to frostbite.

Later Temba Tsheri Sherpa studied at the University of Wuhan in China and started his own business, organizing expeditions. When the devastating earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April, he was the managing director of “Dreamers Destination”, an operator based in Kathmandu that had a large expedition group on Everest. The huge avalanche from Pumori, that was triggered by the earthquake and hit Everest Base Camp, killed three of Temba’s foreign clients and two Nepali staff members. I asked the 30-year-old Sherpa about the situation in his homeland after the earthquake.

Temba, what is your personal balance of the earthquake disaster – or in other words: What have you lost?

Date

26. May 2015 | 18:50

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Kobusch: “I thought I would die”

jost kobuschA video of two minutes and 28 seconds has made Jost Kobusch known throughout the world in one go. It shows the huge avalanche from the seven-thousander Pumori that was triggered by the earthquake in Nepal on 25 April and devastated Everest Base Camp. 19 people lost their lives. Jost survived and put his video online on YouTube. It spread like wildfire. The 22-year-old German climber grew up near the town of Bielefeld. Talking to me, he called himself a cosmopolitan: “I travel a lot. Last year, I lived in Kyrgyzstan for six months, in Nepal for two months, in Svalbard for two month and in Japan for a month. There was not much time left for my home address.” At the end of May, Kobusch wants to return to Nepal to help where it is possible. Afterwards he will travel to Kyrgyzstan, to the village of Arslanbob, some 200 kilometers southwest of the capital Bishkek, where he plans to initiate a climbing project with local people. I talked to Jost about his experiences after the earthquake in Nepal.

Jost, what did you think this week when you heard about the new earthquake in Nepal?

I was sitting in front of my computer and received on Facebook a message from a friend who wrote: We survived. Till then I had not heard anything about it. I immediately wrote to all my Nepalese friends whether they were doing well. A friend, who normally replies promptly, did not answer, neither in the evening nor the next morning. I started to get worried. Fortunately, she replied after all. She wrote that they were now living in a tent, because it was safer. That made me a little bit nervous. I’ll soon go to Nepal. I worry about my own safety.

Date

17. May 2015 | 16:07

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Free return flight from Tibet for all Sherpas?

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

China shows its friendly face. For 10 May, the Chinese government is planning “to provide a charter flight free of charge form Lhasa to Kathmandu for all Sherpas – not just for Climbing Sherpas, but also for cooks and kitchen helpers”, Ralf Dujmovits wrote to me calling it “a generous gesture” – despite  the expected propaganda of the Chinese. The most successful German mountaineer arrived in Lhasa, like many other western climbers who were on expedition in Tibet. “The China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) generously bears the costs of transport to Lhasa, accommodation and meals. And they take care of the visa formalities for the stranded climbers coming from all Tibetan peaks”, the 53-year-old said.

Date

4. May 2015 | 14:52

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