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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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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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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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Attention, rope parasites!

K 2 Base Camp

Trouble’s brewing in the base camps on K 2 and the neighboring eight-thousander Broad Peak. “I got surprised to see climbers here without ropes.”, writes Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination from the base camp at the foot of K 2, the second highest mountain on earth. Only on the normal route via the Abruzzi spur, three teams are climbing without ropes, says the 31-year-old Nepalese: “If this is how climbers come on K 2, then we can expect (the events of the) year 2008 again on K 2.” At that time eleven climbers from seven nations had died in a true mass summit push on the 8,611-meter-high mountain.

Mingma has agreed with the Austrian expedition organizer Lukas Furtenbach that Dreamers Destination will fix the ropes on the Abruzzi route on K 2 while Furtenbach Adventures will do the same on the normal route on the 8,051-meter-high Broad Peak and later make mutual use of the ropes. Also Furtenbach is hopping mad that other teams neither participate in the work to secure the route nor in the costs.

Date

29. June 2017 | 14:24

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The fast Mingma

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

He deserves more and more the nickname “The early starter”. While most of the others are still busy setting up their base camps in the Karakoram, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator, Dreamers Destination, already last Sunday led a team to the 8125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat. The success on the ninth highest mountain on earth was the first of this summer season on the eight-thousanders in Pakistan. Also in the past spring season in Nepal and Tibet, Mingma had achieved the first 8000er summit success: On 30 April, the 31-year-old reached along with his team the summit of the 8167-meter-high Dhaulagiri. Not even two weeks later he stood with Tashi Sherpa and a client from China on the 8485-meter-high main summit of Makalu – also on this peak, Mingma was the first this spring.

Date

17. June 2017 | 21:22

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Lindic and Cesen reach North Summit of Gasherbrum IV

Gasherbrum IV

Gasherbrum IV (Northwest Ridge on the left)

Great success for Luka Lindic and Ales Cesen in the Karakoram: According to the website “Altitude Pakistan”, the two Slovenian climbers reached on Tuesday the North Summit of Gasherbrum IV, which is about 20 meters lower than the 7932-meter-high Main Summit. It took Luka and Ales three days to ascend via the Northwest Ridge. It was only the fourth ascent of the route, which had been opened by the Australians Greg Child and Tim Macartney-Snape and the American Tom Hargis in 1986. “Altitude Pakistan” reports that heavy snowfall made the descent of the two Slovenians even harder. They arrived at Base Camp yesterday. “happy, exhausted and emaciated”.

Date

29. July 2016 | 17:05

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Summit successes in the Karakoram

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat

The Karakoram remains unpredictable. The climbing season in Pakistan is slowly but surely coming to an end – and the number of summit successes is manageable. On Nanga Parbat the Spaniard Ferran Latorre, the Frenchman Hélias Millerioux and the Bulgarian Bojan Petrov reached the highest point at 8,125 meters. “Seven intense days, but it was worth it,” tweeted Latorre (see also the video below). It was the 13th eight-thousander for him, he climbed all of them without bottled oxygen. Now only Mount Everest is still missing in the collection of the 45-year-old. Ferran wants to tackle it in spring 2017. Bojan Petrov has scaled so far eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world. Nanga Parbat was after Annapurna and Makalu his third eight-thousander this year.

Date

27. July 2016 | 23:26

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Pakistan refuses climbers entry – arbitrariness or system?

Broad Peak (with shades of K 2)

Broad Peak (with shades of K 2)

You have a visa for Pakistan, a climbing permit for an eight-thousander, you have organized everything. You travel to Islamabad and at the airport you learn that you are a persona non grata and have to leave the country. That’s exactly what happened to the Australian-New Zealand climber Chris Jensen Burke (she has both citizenships) and the Nepalese Sherpa Lakpa Sherpa. “The reasons why are stranger than fiction and I won’t put the detail here,” Chris wrote in her blog. Obviously she fears to risk alienating the Pakistani authorities if she is quite clear.

Date

29. June 2016 | 8:59

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With nine finger stumps to the top of Everest?

South side of Everest

South side of Everest

It has gone out of style to climb Mount Everest in fall. This happened even though some of the most spectacular summit successes on the highest mountain in the world have been made in the post-monsoon period: Remember only the first ascent through the Everest Southwest Face by the British Doug Scott and Dougal Haston in September 1975 or the success of the US-American Carlos Buhler, Kim Momb and Lou Reichardt via the East Face in October 1983. However, the climbing season has moved more and more into spring since commercial expeditions have taken over on Everest – due to higher temperatures compared to fall and to the usually lower risk of avalanches. Since 2000, only 36 summit successes have been recorded in September or October – next to nothing compared with over 5,000 ascents in spring since the turn of the millennium. The last ascent to the top of Everest in fall dates from five years ago: In October 2010, the American Eric Larsen and five Sherpas reached the highest point at 8,850 meters. This fall, there will be another attempt to climb Everest from the Nepalese south side. According to the “Himalayan Times” the so-called “Icefall Doctors” – a group of high specialized Sherpas – arrived at Base Camp in order to fix a route through the Khumbu Icefall.

Date

19. August 2015 | 9:55

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An unusual successful team

Gasherbrum I, also called Hidden Peak

Gasherbrum I, also called Hidden Peak

Things didn’t go well on the eight-thousanders in Karakorum this summer. “It was just too hot, and the conditions were too dangerous”, the German mountaineer Billi Bierling, who had tried unsuccessfully to climb Broad Peak, wrote to me. This mountain was scaled only twice this season: by the Argentine Mariano Galvan and Andrzej Bargiel from Poland, both climbed solo. Bargiel also succeeded in skiing down to the Base Camp. A Pakistani high altitude porter died in an avalanche.

All K 2 expeditions returned home without summit success. 13 climbers reached the highest point of Gasherbrum II. There was a fatality too: The Pole Olek Ostrowski disappeared on G II and was not found. On neighboring Gasherbrum I, so far – two Czechs are still on the mountain – just a team of three was successful, including a German mountaineer, born in my hometown Cologne.

Date

17. August 2015 | 16:01

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Amical cancels expeditions to Pakistan

Broad Peak in Pakistan

Broad Peak in Pakistan

“It’s just too exciting”, says Dominik Mueller. The head of the German operator Amical alpin has called off all its expeditions and treks in Pakistan that were originally planned for the summer of 2015. “Due to the uncertain situation in Pakistan and the conflicts that flare up time and again in the areas around Gilgit and Chilas, we have reluctantly decided to take this step”, it says on Amical’s website. “We are worried about the violence of the Taliban, various subgroups and not least of religious factions. Thus we had no option.”

Date

23. March 2015 | 15:18

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