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Japanese climbers land a coup on Shispare

Kazuya Hiraide (l.) and Kenro Nakajima

Put the eight-thousander glasses aside! At an insignificantly lower mountain in the west of the Karakoram in Pakistan, two Japanese climbers succeeded an extraordinary ascent on 22 August. According to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima climbed for the first time via the Northeast Face of the 7611-meter-high Shispare. In four days, the two Japanese climbed in Alpine style through the 2700-meter-high wall to the summit and descended via the Northeast Ridge, it said.

Date

1. September 2017 | 16:37

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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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Thomas Huber: “The crux is not the wall, but the man”

Latok I (2nd summit f.l.)

Latok I (2nd mountain f.l.)

A footballer would say: The ball wasn’t round. “The expedition has definitely run roughly,” Thomas Huber tells me about his trip to Latok I in Pakistan. As reported, the older of the two Huber brothers, along with German climbers Toni Gutsch and Sebastian Brutscher, had planned to tackle the north side of the 7145-meter-high granite giant in Karakoram this fall –only a few weeks after his 16-meter-fall from a rock face and a subsequent brain surgery. So the unbalance of the expedition began. “We could not get together as a team because I was so busy with my situation after the fall and the head injury,” Thomas concedes. “Nevertheless the motivation was high, and from my point of view the team fit perfectly. We maintained this euphoria, to Skardu, to Askole, to our Base Camp on the Choktoi Glacier. When we got there, everyone agreed: This is the place per se for climbing in highest perfection. But then everything ran differently.”

Date

26. October 2016 | 12:03

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Dujmovits: “Pretty flabbergasted”

Gasherbrum VI seen from Base Camp

Gasherbrum VI seen from Base Camp

“Really annoying that this happened to me at the very beginning!” Ralf Dujmovits, Germany’s most successful high altitude climber, is upset that he has first suffered from diarrhea and then from a bad cold while trekking on the Baltoro Glacier. “Meanwhile I feel better, but I realize that I still lack power,” Ralf tells me, when I reach him on satellite phone during an exploration trip. The 54-year-old and his girlfriend, the 47-year-old Canadian climber Nancy Hansen, traveled to the Karakoram in order to try first ascents of two still unclimbed mountains: first Gasherbrum VI (the reported altitude varies between 6,973 and 7,004 meters), then, not far away, Praqpa Ri (different elevation data too: 7,134 or 7,152 meters). The two climbers have pitched up their Base Camp at the foot of Gasherbrum VI.

Ralf, how have you experienced Pakistan so far? The country is still said to be a risk area.

Date

17. June 2016 | 14:49

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Italian fell to death on Laila Peak

Laila Peak

Laila Peak

The summer season in the Karakorum has not even really kicked off, but the first death is already reported. Italian Leonardo Comelli lost his life on Thursday while making a ski descent from the 6,096-meter-high Laila Peak, said Karrar Haideri, spokesman of the Alpine Club of Pakistan. At his first attempt to ski down Laila Peak, Comelli crossed his skis, lost his balance and fell 400 meters down rugged terrain to his death. According to Haideri’s words, the other three team members were able to retrieve the body. Comelli came from the small town of Muggia located in the province of Trieste. With 16 years he started rock climbing. Later he made his mark as an ice climber, mountain skier and alpine photographer.

Date

12. June 2016 | 13:10

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Alexander Huber: “Gamblers have never got far in the mountains”

Alexander Huber in Innsbruck

Alexander Huber in Innsbruck

The Huber brothers will continue to go on joint expeditions, but probably not to Latok I. Whereas Thomas Huber raved about the still unclimbed North Face of the 7,145-meter-high granite mountain in the Karakoram when I met him three weeks ago, his younger brother Alexander seems to have definitely written off the project due to their experiences last summer. I talked to the 46-year-old climber at the Alpine Trade Fair in Innsbruck last week.

Alexander, on Latok III, during your acclimatization for climbing the North Face of Latok I, you were are almost blown out of the wall by the blast wave of an ice avalanche. Your brother told me that never before it had been so close. Have you felt like he did?

It was definitely close. We had noticed the serac and therefore placed our camp far away from it. We were lucky that we had dug out a small platform to position the tents perfectly. The small snow edge of this platform has saved our lives. Otherwise we would have been blown away. In this respect, our risk management worked. But it was much, much closer than I ever imagined. And that’s shocking.

Date

13. November 2015 | 11:04

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Near-record summer on K 2

K 2

K 2

I felt as if I was close to K 2 but in fact I was quite far off. After the return from our first ascent of the 7129-m-high Kokodak Dome I found out the real distance between the two mountains: 300 km as the crow flies. Not just around the corner. Because of my expedition I (and thus possibly also you as a reader of my blog) missed what was going at the second highest mountain in the world during this summer.

Date

4. September 2014 | 16:30

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Huber brothers cancel expedition to Pakistan

Alexander (r.) and Thomas Huber

Alexander (r.) and Thomas Huber

The Huber brothers have cancelled their planned expedition to Latok I in Pakistan – “because of the political situation in Pakistan”, Alexander and Thomas Huber write on Facebook.  “Of course the dream of this giant wall is still in our mind and we hope next year we will get another chance.” Actually the German climbers and their team comrades Dani Arnold and Mario Walder had their bags packed to start to Pakistan. “But the risk was no more calculable”, says Alexander when I call him. “First the offensive of the Taliban, now the offensive of the Pakistan army in North Waziristan. There will certainly be more terrorist attacks.”

Date

25. June 2014 | 13:33

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David Lama’s “Mission: Possible”

David Lama

Considering his age of 23 years, David Lama has already faced a lot of criticism. “I have learned from my mistakes”, says the Austrian Climber. In 2010 his team had set dozens of new bolts for filming David’s attempt to free climb the legendary “Compressor Route” on Cerro Torre in Patagonia. Then Lama failed, but two years later he succeeded, together with his Austrian climbing mate Peter Ortner. For the summer of 2014 the two climbers are planning another “blockbuster”.

Date

7. November 2013 | 14:28

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Questions remain open

The first winter ascent of Broad Peak, but a total of three missing climbers who have been declared dead. That is the result of the five winter expeditions in Pakistan. As always, it’s worth having a look to the details. All the four groups on Nanga Parbat were small teams with a maximum of three climbers. Tomasz Mackiewicz from Poland made the greatest progress, reaching 7400 meters, finally climbing alone. The others got stuck in the deep snow, in icy cold conditions. For me the solo project of Joel Wischnewski remains mystifying.

Date

13. March 2013 | 18:51

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