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Mixed balance

Northern route on Everest

Mount Everest has shown his teeth again on the past weekend – just on the day when eight climbers were on their summit push without bottled oxygen. Contrary to expectations, on Saturday wind gusts and snowfall in the summit area made the ascent difficult. The result: two summit successes without breathing mask on the north side, one on the south side. Two climbers, who used supplemental oxygen at all and reached the highest point at 8,850 meters. And three summit aspirants, who turned back because of concerns for their health.

Date

29. May 2017 | 13:47

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Dujmovits turns back on Everest at 8,500 m

Ralf Dujmovits

What a pity! Ralf Dujmovits has not been able to fulfill his dream of reaching the summit of Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. The 55-year-old turned back at an altitude of 8,500 meters. From Camp 3 at 8,300 meters, he telephoned his life partner, the Canadian climber Nancy Hansen. “He had to turn back at 8,500 m because a storm blew in: 40 kph winds with snow. He was losing feeling in his hands and feet,” Nancy wrote on Facebook. “As you can imagine, he is extremely disappointed. The weather just didn’t allow for a summit.” Ralf’s wise decision demands respect and shows that he was still in control of himself.

Date

27. May 2017 | 12:29

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Next station: Everest summit

Summit of Everest seen from the north side

Ralf Dujmovits is close to his big goal. In his eighth attempt, the 55-year-old finally wants to scale Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. Ralf is only about eight hours of ascent away from the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters – if everything goes well. Today Dujmovits, according to his life partner Nancy Hansen, reached Camp 3 on the Tibetan normal route at 8,300 meters, from where he called her by satellite phone. There had been a thunderstorm for the last hour, Ralf told the Canadian. It had taken him five hours to climb the 600 vertical meters from Camp 2. “He feels a little tired, but he sounds very alert and normal,” Nancy wrote on Facebook. “He will drink a lot now, rest a few hours, and leave for the summit at 1am Nepali time (1.15 pm Friday in Canada, 9.15 pm Friday in Germany).”

Date

26. May 2017 | 17:31

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Everest without O 2: Right on schedule

Ralf Dujmovits above Everest North Col

So far, the summit attempts of the climbers, who are currently tackling Mount Everest without bottled oxygen, are on schedule (with one exception, see below). According to his life partner Nancy Hansen, Ralf Dujmovits today reached Camp 2 on the Tibetan north side of the highest mountain on earth: “Ralf just called me from 7,700 m, where he will sleep for the night,” the Canadian climber wrote on Facebook. “It is stormy now, but the winds should come down. Tomorrow he will move up to 8,300 m. He feels good!” The 55-year-old has already – as the only German climber so far – scaled all 14 eight-thousanders. Only on Everest in 1992 he had used a breathing mask. The current attempt without bottled oxygen is his eighth and in his own words the “definitely last one” on Everest.

Date

25. May 2017 | 14:32

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Without O2: The Everest summit pushs of Dujmovits and Co. are on

Ralf Dujmovits, in the background Mount Everest

If everything works, there could be a “topless” party on the summit of Mount Everest next Saturday. Some climbers who want to scale the highest mountain on earth without breathing mask have started their summit attempts. Among those who set off from the Advanced Base Camp on the Tibetan north side was Ralf Dujmovits. The 55-year-old, so far the only German who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders, wants to succeed in his eighth attempt climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen. In his successful attempt in fall 1992, Ralf had used a breathing mask above the South Col, due to bad weather. All other eight-thousanders he had climbed without bottled oxygen. His plan now: today North Col (7,050 m), tomorrow Camp 2 (7,700 m), on Friday Camp 3 (8,300 m) and on Saturday “hopefully towards the summit” (8,850 m), as Ralf writes to me: “I am confident, I feel good and I think that the extremely warm temperatures (probably minus 20 degrees Celsius) might help me.”

Date

24. May 2017 | 12:43

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Jornet and Holzer on Everest, Revol on the Lhotse

Mount Everest

The summit of Mount Everest was probably quite crowded today. From the north side, maybe 60 climbers tried to reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters, Ralf Dujmovits wrote on Instagram. The number of summit aspirants on the Nepali south side might have been much higher. Dujmovits, the so far only German who has climbed all 14 eight-thousanders, wants to reach the summit of Everest without bottled oxygen. The 55-year-old plans to wait for the current run being over and only then start his own attempt: “At my age climbing without supplemental oxygen one needs to climb at a very steady pace – can’t speed up for overtaking (loosing too much body warmth) or can’t wait at typical cueing points (loosing body warmth by just waiting).”

Date

22. May 2017 | 13:38

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Summit successes reported from Makalu

Makalu

Still, it is only news snippets. But it looks as if today for the first time this spring climbers have reached the summit of Makalu. With an altitude of 8,485 meters, Makalu is the fifth-highest mountain on earth. “We had summits!” twittered the British expedition operator Altitude Junkies from Makalu. “Everybody is safe.” Details are to be published on Thursday. The newspaper “BonDia” from Andorra reported that Domi Trastoy, a 36-year-old climber from the mini-state, had reached the summit without the use of supplemental oxygen. For him, Makalu was the second eight-thousander after Mount Everest, it was stated.

Date

10. May 2017 | 21:07

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Revol abandons winter expedition on Manaslu

Deep snow on Manaslu

“Swimming time on Manaslu”, Elisabeth writes on Facebook: “Snow, snow, snow…”

And again snow wins. French climber Elisabeth Revol and her companion Ludovic Giambiasi have abandoned their winter expedition at Manaslu. This is reported by the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”. Heavy snowfall and strong winds in the high camp forced Elisabeth Revol to give up, Rishi Bhandari, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Satori Adventures, told the newspaper. The French team has already broken off their base camp and descended to the village of Samagaon. According to Bhandari, Revol had reached an altitude of 7,300 meters at Manaslu and had planned a summit attempt for Tuesday.

Date

23. January 2017 | 12:54

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Hard winter work on Everest and Manaslu

Alex Txikon at the entrance of Western Qwm

Alex Txikon at the entrance of Western Qwm

Winter expeditions are not for wimps. “Today we have climbed up to 6,050 meters to build Camp 1”, the Basque Alex Txikon wrote in his blog from Everest on the weekend. “At the moment, we have less than minus 30 degrees Celsius.” After all, the team of eleven – Alex, his Spanish countryman Carlos Rubio and nine Sherpas, including two “Icefall doctors” experienced in dealing with the dangerous Khumbu Icefall – are quicker than expected. At the beginning of last week, Txikon had assumed that it would take four weeks to reach Camp 2 at 6,400 meters.

Date

16. January 2017 | 12:50

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Winter attempt on Manaslu

Eilsabeth Revol in Manaslu BC

Eilsabeth Revol in Manaslu BC

And another winter expedition. After it had looked for a long time as if the eight-thousanders would stay in winter sleep this time, now at least two of the highest mountains in the world are visited in the cold season. As reported, the two Spaniards Alex Txikon and Carlos Rubio will try to climb Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. They are expected in Base Camp shortly after the turn of the year. The Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol has already pitched up her tents at the foot of the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu in Nepal.

Date

30. December 2016 | 18:58

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Lunger: “The prince has to fight for a long time”

Tamara Lunger

Tamara Lunger

The adjourned game on Nanga Parbat continues. 15 centimeters of fresh snow cover the Base Camp on the Diamir side. Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger may be forced to postpone their acclimatization climb they actually planned for Sunday. A reconciliation between the Spaniard Txikon and the Italians Daniele Nardi seems unlikely. “YES, cooperation is finished”, Alex writes to me from Base Camp. “Although tried to give more than one chance to this cooperation, it was finally impossible.” The dispute also stresses Tamara Lunger. The 29-year-old South Tyrolean has already climbed two eight-thousanders: In 2010, as the youngest woman ever, Lhotse (with supplementary oxygen) and in 2014 K 2 (without breathing mask). On Nanga Parbat, she once again forms a team with the Italian Simone Moro. Last year, both had to abandon their attempt on Manaslu due to heavy snowfall. I have contacted Tamara in Nanga Parbat Base Camp.

Tamara, the bad weather has forced you to stay in Base Camp for days. How do you spend your time and keep yourself fit?

Date

6. February 2016 | 22:32

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Tomek’s comeback?

Tomek Mackiewicz

Tomek Mackiewicz

Will his “Never again Nanga Parbat” turn into a “Now more than ever”? The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz announced that he would return to the Base Camp on the Diamir side. After their summit attempt two weeks ago, that had failed at an altitude of about 7,300 m, Tomek and his French team partner Elisabeth Revol had departed. Mackiewicz had said in an interview that after his seventh faild attempt he would definitely not try again to climb the ninth highest mountain in the world for the first time in winter and that he would perhaps even say finally good-bye to the Himalayas and the Karakoram.

Date

4. February 2016 | 16:55

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Speculation on Nanga Parbat

Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz

Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz

Reporting about what happened today on Nanga Parbat was a bitl like fishing in murky waters. I tried to make out from the wildly swirling information on the Internet where the climbers on the mountain currently were. The sun has long since set in Pakistan, so I’m assuming that the mountaineers have sought protection in their tents. It is still unclear how far the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol have climbed up during their first summit attempt. The Pakistani Arslan Ahmed, who had joined the team but had to leave because of health problems, had contact with Tomek for the last time at 10.30 local time.

Date

22. January 2016 | 16:36

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Turn five into four

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat

Joining forces is a recipe for success – also in mountaineering. You only need to recall the legendary first ascent of the Eiger North Face in 1938, when the Germans Anderl Heckmair and Ludwig Voerg and the Austrians Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek started their climbs as two teams of two, banded together in the wall and were successful. Also now on Nanga Parbat, two of the five expedition teams on the mountain have joined their forces in order to have better chances for the first winter ascent on the ninth highest mountain on earth. “Plan A – quick alpine style push – failed due to weather. Plan B – regaining acclimatization and climbing “alpine style like” – failed too due to Jacek’s health issue. By the way he is himself again. It’s time for plan C”, the Polish climber Adam Bielecki writes on Facebook.

Date

11. January 2016 | 17:05

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Shock freezing on Nanga Parbat

Jacek Czech climbing on an icy slope

Jacek Czech climbing on an icy slope

There will hardly be record temperatures on Nanga Parbat this winter, and if, then only low ones. “Unfortunately January weather on Nanga is extremely bad in comparison to the previous two years”, writes the Polish climber Adam Bielecki, who, along with his compatriot Jacek Czech, wants to climb on the Diamir side of the mountain via the Kinshofer route to the 8,125-meter-high summit, doing it in Alpine style: without bottled oxygen and without fixed high camps. “So far there wasn’t a single day with weather good enough to attempt a summit attack.” In the last few days, the thermometer dropped below minus 40 degrees Celsius. In addition, strong winds blew and it was snowing. These days, Bielecki and Czech want to climb up to a minimum altitude of 7,000 meters, “in order to regain acclimatization which would allow us to wait for better weather”. That sounds as if the two Poles can imagine not descending to Base Camp once more before their first summit attempt. Before traveling to Pakistan, Adam and Jacek had already acclimatized at the 6,893-meter-high volcano Ojos del Salado in Chile.

Date

7. January 2016 | 17:43

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