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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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The end of Everest adventure?

Tibetan North side of Mount Everest

Tibetan North side of Mount Everest

Twelve footfall pitches. That’s the size of the new mountaineering center, which the Chinese want to build on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest. According to the state newspaper “China Daily” the giant complex in the town of Gangkar, also known as Old Tingri, by the year 2019 is to be completed in 2019. The site is located about 60 kilometers northwest of Everest, on the travel route of expeditions that head to the highest mountain on earth.  According to the “China Daily”, the mountaineering center will cost more than 100 million yuan (13.7 million euros). Accomodation and restaurants for mountaineers are planned, furthermore a helicopter rescue base, offices for expedition operators, repair shops for cars, motorcycles and bicycles as well as a mountaineering museum. The mountaineering scene is discussing the project on social media. Some see no less than the downfall of adventure on Everest.  The Everest north side “will turn into a Chinese Disneyland,” says one. Another believes that a chair lift to the summit is only a matter of time. Dominik Mueller, head of German expedition operator Amical Alpin, doesn’t see why there should be outrage.

Date

30. November 2016 | 19:29

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Cool completes his Everest dozen

Kenton Cool

Kenton Cool

Also the first foreign climbers have now reached the summit of Mount Everest. After on Thursday – as reported – nine Sherpas had prepared the way to the highest point on 8.850 meters with fixed ropes, on Friday the two Britons Kenton Cool (aged 42) and Robert Lucas (53) reached the summit, accompanied by the Sherpas Dorchi Gyalzen and Pemba Bhote.  Cool stood on the “Roof of the world” for the twelfth time. A few minutes after the British climbers, the Mexican David Liano Gonzalez (36) enjoyed his sixth Everest summit success, also led by a Sherpa: Pasang Rita.

Date

13. May 2016 | 0:22

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Mysterious death of two Sherpas on Makalu

Makalu

Makalu

How could that happen? Two Sherpa mountain guides who were working for an expedition of the German operator Amical alpin died in Camp 2 at 6,700 m during a summit attempt on the eight-thousander Makalu. Other group members found the two Sherpas lifeless in their tent in the afternoon. “We can only speculate,” Dominik Mueller, head of Amical, tells me. “We suspect that they cooked in their closed tent without providing adequate ventilation and then died of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Date

11. May 2016 | 14:55

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Successes in a row on Manaslu

Manaslu, "Mountain of the Spirit"

Manaslu, “Mountain of the Spirit”

The success stories from the eighth highest mountain on earth are piling up. On Wednesday and Thursday at least 76 climbers reached the 8,156-meter-high summit of Manaslu, said the Himalayan Times”. The Nepalese operator Seven Summits Treks reported about 50 summit successes of their clients and Sherpas alone. On Friday Dominik Mueller, head of the German expedition operator Amical Alpin, reached the highest point of Manaslu too.

Date

2. October 2015 | 10:15

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15 climbers on top of Manaslu

Manaslu (l.) and Pinnacle East (r.)

Manaslu (l.) and Pinnacle East (r.)

This year’s first summit successes on Manaslu are reported: Chhang Dawa Sherpa, head of the Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks, said that nine foreign mountaineers and six Climbing Sherpas summited the eighth highest mountain on earth this morning. More teams are on the way up and plan to reach the highest point at 8,156 meters on Thursday or Friday. Dan Mazur from Summit Climb tweeted from Camp 4 at 7,450 meters announcing to climb towards the summit tonight. Rainer Pircher from Amical alpin is in Camp 4 too. Dominik Mueller, head of Amical, and his clients are spending the night at Camp 3 at 6,800 meters and want to climb up to Camp 4 on Thursday.

Date

30. September 2015 | 18:37

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Dominik Mueller: “I feel absolutely safe”

Manaslu, "Mountain of the Spirit"

Manaslu, “Mountain of the Spirit”

The 8,136-meter-high Manaslu is probably the only mountain in Nepal, where currently almost everything is as usual in fall. “We have about 15 expeditions here, many of them small teams”, Dominik Mueller tells me by satellite phone from the about 4,800-meter-high Manaslu Base Camp in western Nepal. “All in all we have probably 120 to 130 summit aspirants.” Dominik is leading an expedition of his German operator Amical alpin, along with the mountain guide Rainer Pircher. The other members are ten clients, three Climbing Sherpas, a cook and four kitchen helpers. The Base Camp is not too crowded, says Dominik. “We have found a very nice place for our tents.” On Wednesday, the puja will be held, the traditional Buddhist ceremony to get the gods’ blessings for the climbers. Some expeditions – such as the group of Himalayan Experience that is led by the New Zealander Russell Brice – have been on the mountain for a while already.

Date

15. September 2015 | 19:36

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Nepal is calling, but who will come?

Piles of rubble where Langtang Village was previously

Piles of rubble where Langtang Village was

About 100 seconds were enough to transform Nepal from a dreamland to a nightmare country. The earthquake on 25 April left a trail of devastation. In some mountain regions the quake triggered avalanches of debris, mud, ice or snow that razed entire villages to the ground. According to the Nepalese government, about 500,000 houses were completely destroyed by the main earthquake and numerous aftershocks. The authorities registered to date more than 8,600 deaths. Five German tourists were among the victims, four others are still missing, a spokesman of the Foreign Office in Berlin confirmed to me today. Many dead, buried deep under piles of rubble, will probably never be recovered. What a tragedy.

More than one million jobs in tourism

“The world must go on”, said Ganga Sagar Pant, CEO of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).

Date

21. May 2015 | 15:35

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Difficult way back

 

My heart is in Nepal

My heart is in Nepal

Although a few teams still stay at the Base Camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest, the spring climbing season in Nepal seems to be de facto as good as finished. Whether on Everest or the eight-thousanders Makalu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, the majority of climbers have packed up and made their way back. In Tibet, where the Chinese authorities forbade any further mountain activities on the eight-thousanders, the expedition leaders are organizing the return home of their climbers via Lhasa and Beijing instead of the otherwise usual way back via Kathmandu. The departure by land to Nepal is currently not possible.

Date

1. May 2015 | 10:49

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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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Dominik Mueller: “We are in limbo”

North side of Everest

North side of Everest

He cannot just carry on as if nothing had happened, says Dominik Mueller. The head of the German expedition operator Amical alpin today abandoned his expedition on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest – after consultation with his clients, who according to Dominik also did not want to continue. “When I look in the faces of our cook, the kitchen boys and all the other Sherpas here, I cannot climb on in good conscience”, Dominik tells me by phone from the “Chinese Base Camp” at 5,150 meters, where according to his estimate are still 250 to 300 climbers and staff. The team’s cook has lost his house in Kathmandu, many others have not even been able to contact their families. “We can not sit here on a beautiful island and make for love, peace and harmony while there are thousands of deaths around us.”

Date

28. April 2015 | 18:58

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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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Many question marks before spring season on Everest

South side of Everest

South side of Everest

The same procedure on Everest as every year? Probably not, but a reliable forecast is difficult. “There seem to be less people on expeditions and also less people trekking in Nepal”, the New Zealander Russell Brice replies to my question which influence the avalanche disaster on Good Friday 2014 and the subsequent end of all great expeditions on Everest south side will have on this year’s spring season on the highest mountain in the world. “It seems that more people want to go to North side, and less people to South side”, says the head of the expedition operator Himalayan Experience. However, Brice withdrew his tendered Everest expedition in Tibet and decided to just operate on the south side this year.

Date

9. January 2015 | 15:52

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