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Construction site with heart

The ceiling of the first floor is concreted

The ceiling of the first floor is concreted

Four are standing around and discussing, one is working. This image is known from public construction sites in Germany. The situation is quite different in Thulosirubari, a small village about 70 kilometers east of Kathmandu. There the new school is being built with great enthusiasm – made possible by your donations for our aid projekt “School up!”. “All villagers are happy to be able to help with the work,” says Shyam Pandit, liaison man of the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” in the Himalayan state. Devi Dulal, head of the local school committee, is also delighted: “This will be a unique building for us. The work on this is very satisfactory for us.” The old school had been so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake at the end of April 2015 that it had had to be demolished. At the end of June 2015, I had launched – along with the extreme climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits“School up!” to rebuild the school as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the ceiling of the first floor has been concreted. Here are some impressions of the construction site from the past weeks:

Date

31. January 2017 | 15:38

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“School up!”: Construction work continues even in winter

Foundation work almost finished

Foundation work almost finished

“We are so happy seeing the re-construction – and that the building is designed to resist earthquakes,” says Hari Bikram, the 43-year-old headteacher of Thulosirubari. The construction work in the small mountain village 70 kilometers east of the Nepali capital Kathmandu continues at high speed. “The plinth work has almost been finished,” Shyam Pandit, Nepalese liaison of the German relief organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries”, writes to me. I wanted to know from him whether the work will be stopped in winter. “No stop. I will continue construction work,” the contractor replied, says Shyam. However, it’s going to be a little slower in the cold season than now.

Date

19. December 2016 | 14:09

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The first stone is lying

The cornerstone was set

The cornerstone was set

Yesterday, Sunday, was a very special day for the people of Thulosirubari. One who made a mark for the future, a sign of hope. In the small village in Sindhupalchowk District, about 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, the cornerstone for a new school was set. The old “Gerlinde and Ralf School” of the German aid organization Nepalhilfe Beilngries (NHB) had been so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake on 25 April 2015 that it later had to be demolished. In the summer of 2015, I had initiated, along with the professional climbers Ralf Dujmovits and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, the donation campaign “School up!”, with the goal to rebuild the school in Thulosirubari as soon as possible. Therefore yesterday was for us three a special day too – and also for all of you who have donated for “School up!”: Without your support, no foundation would have been laid yesterday.

Date

26. September 2016 | 19:24

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Snowy Everest

Everest North Face (now)

Everest North Face (now)

I know this view. But how different is Mount Everest looking now this fall. The Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has pitched his Advanced Base Camp (ABC) exactly where our tents stood eleven years ago. In spring 2005, I accompanied the Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, the German Ralf Dujmovits and the Japanese Hirotaka Takeuchi to Everest North Face and reported from ABC at 5,500 meters on DW Radio and the Internet on the progress of the expedition.

Date

15. September 2016 | 9:58

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On your mark, ready, …

Schoolchildren in Thulosirubari

Schoolchildren in Thulosirubari

… go! Not only Olympic athletes are currently waiting for this call. People in Thulosirubari are in the starting blocks too. Hopefully we are only few days away from the start of the construction of the new school at this small village in Sindhupalchowk District in Nepal. According to the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” finally all bureaucratic barriers have been broken down so that the school for 700 children and adolescents in Thulosirubari can be rebuilt. That has been and will be the goal of the aid project “School up!” that I had launched along with the professional climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner from Austria and Ralf Dujmovits from Germany a year ago. The “Gerlinde and Ralf School”, which had been inaugurated only in 2009, was so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015 that it had to be demolished.

Date

9. August 2016 | 15:20

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Demolition of school has begun

The school in Thulosirubari has to be demolished

The school in Thulosirubari is going to be demolished

It was simply too dangerous. In the village of Thulosirubari in the Nepalese earthquake zone, residents and helpers of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have begun to remove the debris of the school. The building that was heavily damaged by the quake on 25 April “stands dangerously on the side of the ground where children use to play”, Arjun Gatraj, chairman of the School Management Committee, writes to me. As reported, the ground floor of the “Gerlinde and Ralf School” had collapsed, the building cannot be maintained. “These days, we have the big problem on how to destroy the main building and how to clear the rubble”, says Arjun. “We have no money for that ant the Government of Nepal is also not able to support us.”

Date

8. September 2015 | 14:07

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Education in tin sheds

Thulosirubari WellblechA return to normal is difficult while you have to live in ruins. “The earthquake has destroyed almost all the houses”, Arjun Gatraj wrote to me from Thulosirubari in Sindhupalchowk District. The village is about 40 kilometers as the crow flies from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, but is only accessible by a gravel road. “The people are struggling to make ends meet. They live from hand to mouth”, Arjun said. According to him, the devastating 25 April earthquake killed about 75 people in Thulosirubari. Seven of the victims were students of the “Gerlinde and Ralf School”, but they didn’t die at school. “When I heard about the earthquake, I had many familiar people of Nepal in my mind: friends, good friends, and of course the many children in the various schools of the German aid organization Nepalhilfe Beilngries, also the students of the school in Thulosirubari”, says Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. “Then my thought was immediately: Saturday is no school, thank goodness!” With their financial commitment, the extreme climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits had made it possible at all to build the school.

Date

3. July 2015 | 21:01

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Aid project: School up!

Schule in Thulosirubari nach dem Beben

The School in Thulosirubari after the earthquake

It looked as if the magician David Copperfield had staged one of his grand illusions. “The school was much smaller than I remembered it”, Ralf Dujmovits tells me. “First I didn’t even realize that the ground floor had just slumped down. The upper parts of the building were still standing. Only when I got loser, I saw the extent of damage. That really brought tears to my eyes.” Germany’s most successful high altitude climber visited the “Gerlinde and Ralf School” in Thulosirubari one and a half weeks after the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits had given financial support to the project of the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” and thus had made it possible that the school had been opened in 2009. “If you suddenly realize that the building has to be demolished, you just begin to cry”, says Ralf. You all can help to rebuild the school by supporting the campaign “School up!”.

Date

22. June 2015 | 11:33

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Kaltenbrunner: “All Everest parties around one table!”

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner at the ISPO

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner at the ISPO

It has become quieter around Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. A fact that she actually likes. The 44-year-old Austrian is still a sought-after speaker. So Gerlinde can not complain about a lack of work. But she has enough time to travel around. Without any pressure – that disappeared after she had successfully completed her big project by climbing K 2 in 2011: She was the first and so far only woman in the world who climbed all 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen. Our paths crossed on Mount Everest in 2005, when she tried (in vain) with Ralf Dujmovits and Hirotaka Takeuchi to climb the North Face and I reported about it. In 2010, she reached the summit via the Tibetan normal route. I met Gerlinde at the trade fair ISPO in Munich a week ago and we talked about Everest.

Gerlinde, you climbed Mount Everest as well as the other 13 eight-thousanders without supplemental oxygen. At the moment there are a lot of discussions about what happens on the highest of all mountains, especially because of the avalanche disaster and the subsequent end of all expeditions on the Nepalese side in spring 2014. The Sherpas revolted. Did this conflict boil up and over?

Date

14. February 2015 | 21:15

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Maxut’s new Everest is higher than 8848 m

Maxut Zhumayev

Maxut Zhumayev

“When I was approaching the highest point I saw Vassiliy sitting in the snow, ten meters away from the summit. I was very happy because my friend had waited for me”, said Maxut remembering his summit day on K 2 on 23 August 2011. “This was very special.” That day Maxut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov completed their 8000er collection, ten years and ten days after they had climbed Gasherbrum I, their first 8000-meter-peak. The two Kazakh climbed 13 of the 14 eight-thousanders as a rope team, only on Manaslu they joined different expeditions. That is unique, says Maxut: “In the history of climbing we don’t have the same story that two climbers have reached so many 8000-meter-summits together.”

Date

6. February 2014 | 15:14

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Dujmovits: Solo on Nanga Parbat – above 5000 meters

Ralf Dujmovits on the summit of Aconcagua

Ralf Dujmovits on the summit of Aconcagua

Fast and alone. That is Ralf Dujmovits’ tactics ​​for his winter ascent of Nanga Parbat. The first German, who climbed all fourteen 8000ers, has chosen an unusual way of acclimatizing: The 52-year-old climbed Aconcagua, the highest mountain of South America, and spent two nights at the 6962-meter-high summit. Ralf’s wife Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner will be missing from the expedition to Nanga Parbat. The 43-year-old female climber from Austria must cure her joints which are overstressed by training. Today Ralf travelled to Pakistan. During his brief stopover at home in the German town of Buehl I spoke to him:

Ralf, why did you choose Nanga Parbat?

Nanga Parbat is for me – and has been also for Gerlinde for a long time – the most beautiful 8000er. Whenever we were asked after having finished the fourteen 8000ers, which of them we might try again, we independently answered: Nanga Parbat .

And why in winter?

Date

18. December 2013 | 18:30

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„Mount Everest hasn’t deserved it“

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner is still dreaming of Mount Everest. The 42 years old Austrian has not yet given up her plan to climb through the north face to the summit on 8850 meters via the so-called „supercoloir“-route, although she failed twice. In 2005 and 2010 the conditions on the wall hadn’t allowed to climb this route. „In my eyes Mount Everest is still a beautiful mountain, especially from the North, when you stand directly at the foot of the north face”, Gerlinde said (you can read and hear her statements on both Everest-60-pinboards on the right side of the blog). „Nevertheless I won’t return to Everest in the near future.” 

Date

14. February 2013 | 16:30

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