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Dominik Mueller: “There will be more climbers on Everest”

North side of Everest in the last daylight

It could be a record season on Mount Everest. After the successful 2016 season, experts are expecting a run on the highest mountain on earth – especially since many climbers want to use their extended permits from 2014 (valid until 2019) and from 2015 (which will run out this year). In 2014, the season in Nepal had been finished prematurely after an avalanche accident in the Khumbu Icefall with 16 deaths. In 2015, there had been no ascents on both sides of the mountain due to the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

Dominik Mueller, head of the German expedition operator Amical alpin, will set off to Everest with a “small but strong team” on 8 April. Three clients, four Climbing Sherpas and he himself will try to reach the 8,850-meter-high summit via the normal route on the Tibetan north side. “I will use bottled oxygen because I believe that I can only support other people as best as possible when using a breathing mask,” says the 46-year-old. “Anyone who climbs Everest without supplemental oxygen is so preoccupied with himself that he probably has no resources left to look after others.” I talked to him about the upcoming season.

Dominik, with what expectations do you set off to the Himalayas?

Date

18. March 2017 | 15:44

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China fuels the price spiral – and invests

Tibetan North side of Mount Everest

Tibetan North side of Mount Everest

Climbing on an eight-thousander in Tibet is getting more expensive, not only on Mount Everest. According to documents available to me, the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) has significantly increased the prices for the climbing permits on Everest, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, on average by more than 30 percent. Since the beginning of the year, the CMA claims 9,950 US dollars per mountaineer for the climb of the highest mountain on earth in case of four or more team members. So far the Everest Permit cost about 7,000 dollars per head. 7,400 dollars are now due for Cho Oyu, 7,150 dollar for climbing Shishapangma from the north side and 7,650 dollars for an ascent from the south side of the mountain. For smaller teams of up to three, the permit costs are even in a five-digit range: 19,500 dollars per person on Everest, 12,600 dollars each on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

Date

13. January 2017 | 14:51

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Ines Papert: “I’m certainly quite proud”

Ines Papert

Ines Papert

If a good mood could be converted into electricity, Ines Papert right now wouldn’t need any socket at home. I can literally hear the beaming face of the 42-year-old German top climber on the phone when we talk about her success at the 5842-meter-high Kyzyl Asker in the border area between Kyrgyzstan and China. Along with her 28-year-old Slovenian rope partner Luka Lindic, she has opened – as reported – a spectacular route through the Southeast Face of the mountain. A line where many top climbers had previously failed, she herself twice.

Ines, how does it feel to have fulfilled  a dream in the third run (after 2010 and 2011)?

Date

27. October 2016 | 15:27

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Ines Papert on Kyzyl Asker: Success in the third run

Papert (l.) and Lindic on top of Kyzyl Asker

Papert (l.) and Lindic on top of Kyzyl Asker

Some mountains act to certain people like magnets. They exert an almost magical pull, even if they are as difficult to reach as the Kyzyl Asker in the border region between China and Kyrgyzstan. For the third time, the German top climber Ines Papert traveled to the 5842-meter-high mountain to try to climb a new route via the difficult Southeast Face, which she just couldn’t get out of her mind. In 2010 and 2011 Ines had failed, now she returned with a success. “I am the happiest person on the planet. It keeps me smiling for a bit longer,” Papert writes on Facebook. Three weeks ago, the 42-year old climbed along with the 28-year-old Slovenian Luka Lindic through the wall to the summit of Kyzyl Asker. In the past years the 1200-meter-high couloir had been a too hard nut to crack for several expeditions. Papert and Lindic baptized their new route “Lost in China”. For the first time Ines had traveled to the mountain not from Kyrgyzstan but from China. This made the expedition so distinctive, she writes: “The language, the culture, the time spent and the vastness of the country often gave us the impression of being lost.”

Date

21. October 2016 | 10:14

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Bullheads or ignorant? Probably both

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

A few climbers are incorrigible. „I wish it was all so simple, but I am afraid not. I still have expedition members who call me to say that they have not experienced any death, or any disadvantage and that it is my responsibility to continue climbing“, Russell Brice, head of the New Zealand expedition operator Himalayan Experience, wrote in his newsletter from Everest Base Camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. On Friday, Brice had abandoned all Himex expeditions in Nepal: Now having considered all facts, I can tell you that we will not be continuing any of our ascents in Nepal this season.“

Date

3. May 2015 | 15:54

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Everest season in Tibet is finished

North side of Everest

North side of Everest

First of all:  Compared to the suffering in Nepal after the earthquake of last Saturday – now more than 5,000 deaths and 10,000 injuries have been counted – it seems almost insignificant what is happening on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest. But I also give reports on the consequences of the terrible tragedy in Nepal for the climbers in the region – and there are still several hundred mountaineers in Tibet, including many Sherpas from Nepal. All will go home now. Whether they like it or not, they have to. “It’s official: Everest is closed for this season”, expedition leader Dominik Mueller, head of the German operator Amical alpin, writes from “Chinese Base Camp” on the north side of Mount Everest. Yesterday Mueller had abandoned his expedition, one day before the decisive meeting of the expedition leaders with representatives of the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) in Base Camp at 5,150 meters.

Date

29. April 2015 | 16:33

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Breaking news: Season on Everest north side is over

North side of Mount Everest

North side of Mount Everest

“It’s official: Tibetan north side of Everest is closed for this spring season”, reports expedition leader Dominik Mueller, head of the German operator Amical alpin, from Chinese Basecamp. There was a last decisive meeting between the expedition leaders and Chinese officials this morning. Other climbers confirm the end of the season. More details later.

Date

29. April 2015 | 13:33

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Many question marks after the earthquake

Rescue on Everest

Rescue on Everest

Day three after the devastating earthquake in Nepal: The death toll in the country has risen to almost 4,000, and it is continuously increasing. An end of the bad news is not in sight. Still information focusses on the most heavily hit capital Kathmandu and the region around Mount Everest. From the other regions of the country, messages are barely trickling in. German trekkers report that debris flows also occured on the Annapurna Circuit on Saturday. Many trekkers are reportedly waiting on their way around the eight-thousander Manaslu for being evacuated by helicopter. The base camp at the foot of Annapurna was hit by an avalanche on Saturday. “It just about buried us in our tents, we had to use our knives to cut our way out. After that, myself and two sherpas had to do a rescue of a teammate”, Canadian mountaineer Al Hancock said.

Helicopter airlift

At Mount Everest, the rescue of the climbers, who were stranded at Camp 1 above 6,000 meters, is standing just before the end. Only 15 mountaineers are still waiting to be flown to the valley by helicopter. All Monday long, there was an  airlift to Camp 1, where initially about 150 climbers had been cut off from descent. Continously the helicopters started and landed. The “Icefall Doctors” have stopped their work on the route through the Khumbu Icefall for fear of aftershocks. Reportedly, three Sherpas died in the ice labyrinth during an aftershock on Sunday. It is still not clear how many climbers were killed in Everest Basecamp by the huge avalanche from Pumori, that was triggered by the earthquake on Saturday. Figures currently vary from 16 to 19. German climber Jost Kobusch survived. The 22-year-old took this video of the avalanche:

Stop on the Tibetan north side of Everest?

North side of Everest

North side of Everest

The situation on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest is unclear too. The official news agency Xinhua reports that China has cancelled all expeditions this spring. Xinhua relies on a high-ranking official who said that more aftershocks were expected next month. Today, Chinese officials discussed with the expedition leaders in “Chinese Base Camp”. According to my information, there will be another meeting on Tuesday morning. The German couple Alix von Melle and Luis Stitzinger has abandoned their Everest expedition on the north side on their own accord.  “We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering thas happened (in Nepal)”, Alix and Luis write on their homepage. “Moreover, we do not want to be the reason why Nepalese helpers, cooks and Climbing Sherpas have to stay here and cannot go home to their families to see if everything is alright.”

Date

27. April 2015 | 18:36

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China reportedly (!) cancels all spring climbs on Everest

North side of Mount Everest

North side of Mount Everest

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports that China has stopped all expeditions on the north side of Mount Everest because of the earthquake disaster in Nepal. Still, there was no confirmation by expedition leaders. However, there were earlier reports that officials negotiated with the expedition leaders about the consequences of the earthquake for the spring season on the north side. I got the information that there will be another meeting with the authorities in Chinese Basecamp on Tuesday morning. So I’m not sure that the Xinhua report is right.

Date

27. April 2015 | 14:14

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Instant Everest

Trekking the Annapurna Circuit

Trekking the Annapurna Circuit

A characteristic of our time is that nobody has time – or does not take his time. That affects mountain tourism too. For years, German operators note a decreasing interest in expeditions that take 50 or even 60 days. Simultaneously, more climbers tend to book trips for which they need only 30 leave days. In other words, expeditions to 7000ers are booming, those to 8000ers are ailing. Apparently, the trend “the shorter, the better” also applies to trekking. Experts in Nepal have called to change with the times by offering shorter treks. They said that an increasing number of trekking tourists in Nepal were coming from China and Southeast Asian countries – and those trekkers simply had not time for a three-week trip on the Annapurna circuit or to trek to Everest base camp.

Date

6. November 2014 | 0:29

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First ascent of Kokodak Dome

Kokodak Dome

Kokodak Dome

Time so say hello again. I hope you didn’t worry about me, I am still alive. The reason why you did not read anything in English in my blog during the last weeks is that I was on expedition in the Northwest of China. Sorry, I was fully stretched climbing and writing my blog in German. I joined an AMICAL expedition to the previous unclimbed 7129-meter-high Kokodak Dome, also known as Kokodak II. The peak is part of the Kongur Range in the Kunlun mountains in the region Xinjiang. Kokodak I (or Kokodak Peak), which is 81 meters higher, was firstly climbed by a Russian team in 2006. Our expedition was led by Luis Stitzinger. The 45-year-old prominent German climber has already summited six 8000ers, five of them together with his wife Alix von Melle. Our team consisted of 13 clients from Germany and Austria – and of Chhongba Sherpa and Singi Lama, two Climbing Sherpas from Nepal.

Date

30. August 2014 | 21:48

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