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The fast Mingma

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

He deserves more and more the nickname “The early starter”. While most of the others are still busy setting up their base camps in the Karakoram, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator, Dreamers Destination, already last Sunday led a team to the 8125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat. The success on the ninth highest mountain on earth was the first of this summer season on the eight-thousanders in Pakistan. Also in the past spring season in Nepal and Tibet, Mingma had achieved the first 8000er summit success: On 30 April, the 31-year-old reached along with his team the summit of the 8167-meter-high Dhaulagiri. Not even two weeks later he stood with Tashi Sherpa and a client from China on the 8485-meter-high main summit of Makalu – also on this peak, Mingma was the first this spring.

Date

17. June 2017 | 21:22

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Felix Berg: “Extremely spontaneous expedition”

Summit of Annapurna I

Unpredictability is an essential part of adventure. And the more ambitious a mountain project, the greater is the uncertainty as to whether it really ends with a success. Thus the Italians Tamara Lunger and Simone Moro, who had planned to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif without bottled oxygen, had to turn back without having reached a single summit. Two attempts ended at 7,200 meters, because Simone suffered from stomach ache. The German Thomas Laemmle returned empty-handed from Makalu, after four (!) failed summit attempts without supplemental oxygen and Sherpa support, always forced back by bad weather. And on the Northwest Face of Annapurna, the 33-year-old Pole Adam Bielecki, the 63-year-old Briton Rick Allen and the 36-year-old German Felix Berg had to capitulate halfway. “It was completely the right decision to turn around,” Felix tells me. “On the day of our descent, there was heavy snowfall. It would not have been possible with the weather.”

Date

2. June 2017 | 7:56

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Summit attempt on the Annapurna Northwest Face is on

Annapurna

The good weather window predicted for the coming weekend has not only led to a huge number of teams starting their summit attempts on Mount Everest. Also on other eight-thousanders climbers have left the base camps. On Makalu, for example, the German Thomas Laemmle, who is climbing solo and without bottled oxygen, has today pitched up his tent already far up, on Makalu La at 7,400 meters. On Dhaulagiri, the 78-year-old Spaniard Carlos Soria and his team-mates are planning to reach the summit on Sunday. On Annapurna, the Pole Adam Bielecki, the Briton Rick Allen and the German Felix Berg have started their summit attempt on Wednesday.

Date

19. May 2017 | 16:38

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First clients on top of Everest, clarification on Makalu

Top of Everest (from the Northeast Ridge)

The Everest wave rolls, at least on the Tibetan north side of the mountain. According to an Indian operator, six clients of their commercial expedition team reached the summit on Saturday, accompanied by ten Sherpas. Among those who stood on the highest point on 8,850 meters was reportedly also Lhakpa Sherpa. It was her eighth summit success on the highest mountain on earth. The 43-year-old Nepalese who lives in the USA remains the woman with the most Everest ascents. Other commercial expeditions have started their first summit attempt.

Date

13. May 2017 | 21:16

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First summit successes on Everest, confusion on Makalu

North side of Mount Everest

The ropes are fixed up to the summit of Mount Everest – at least on the north side of the highest mountain on earth. On Thursday, according to consistent reports, nine Sherpas of an Indian team, responsible for securing the normal route on the Tibetan side, reached the highest point at 8,850 meters. The Nepalese operator Arun Treks, who had organized the expedition, dedicated these first ascents of the Everest season to the Swiss climber Ueli Steck, who had fallen to death on Nuptse on 30 April.

Date

12. May 2017 | 14:32

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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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Dujmovits on Everest: “I’m confident”

Ralf Dujmovits above Everest North Col

Everybody is writing about how crowded Mount Everest is. “The mountain is almost completely deserted,” Ralf Dujmovits tells me today via satellite phone. The only German who has so far climbed all 14 eight-thousanders has just returned from his second acclimatization climb on the Tibetan north side of Everest. He spent a night in Camp 2 at 7,700 meters, then he descended, as scheduled, to the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 6,300 meters.

Date

9. May 2017 | 19:34

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Heidi Sand: “You have only one life. Use it!”

Heidi Sand (in Patagonia last November)

Heidi Sand (in Patagonia last November)

Impossibly Heidi Sand could have foreseen that Denali would change her life in this way. When the German mountaineer and sculptor descended from the summit of the highest mountain of North America (6,190 m) in 2010, the then 43-year-old suddenly had strong stomach pain. Soon after the shattering diagnosis: advanced colorectal cancer. After the emergency surgery, chemotherapy followed. “If I survive, I want to reward myself with an eight-thousander,” Heidi then promised herself – and fulfilled this dream of her life: On 26 May 2012 the mother of three children stood on the summit of Mount Everest.

Meanwhile Heidi Sand has passed the critical five-year mark after her cancer diagnosis. She is considered to be cured – and has realized further climbing projects after having summited Everest. In autumn 2013, for example, Heidi scaled Cho Oyu without using bottled oxygen and in spring 2014 she stood on top of Makalu (with breathing mask). With Billi Bierling, Heidi shares the honor of having been the first German women to reach the summit of Makalu. Sand dedicated her three successes on eight-thousanders to her children, for her husband remained the Eiger North Face which she succeeded to climb a year ago, in December 2015. And last November, she tackled, along with the Swiss mountain guide Lorenz Frutiger, the legendary granite giant Fitz Roy in Patagonia – in vain, the weather put a spoke in their wheel. I asked the 50-year-old four questions about her climbing.

Heidi, what do you owe to the mountains, especially Mount Everest?

Date

13. December 2016 | 10:55

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Nives Meroi: “The arrogance of commercial climbing”

On the way to Makalu

On the way to Makalu

One eight-thousander is still missing. Then Nives Meroi and Romano Benet would be the first couple who would have scaled together the 14 highest mountains in the world – always without bottled oxygen and without Sherpa support. On 12 May, the two 54-year-olds from Italy stood at the top of their eight-thousander No. 13, the 8485-meter-high Makalu in Nepal.
Nives was 19 years old when she met Romano. First he was her climbing partner, then her life partner. They are married for 27 years. In 1998, they scaled Nanga Parbat, it was their first eight-thousander. In 2003, they succeeded in climbing the Karakorum trilogy of Gasherbrum I, II and Broad Peak in just 20 days. In 2007, Meroi was the first Italian woman who climbed Everest without oxygen mask.

Life-threatening disease

But there were also setbacks.  In 2009, Meroi had a good chance to become the first woman on all 14 eight-thousanders. On Kangchenjunga, at 7500 meters, Romano suddenly became increasingly weak. He tried to persuade Nives to climb on alone. But she refused and supported him during the descent. The reason for Benet’s weakness was serious: aplastic anemia. Two bone marrow transplants were necessary to save Romano’s life. They returned to the Himalayas. In 2014, Romano and Nives climbed Kangchenjunga. And now Makalu. Five questions to and five answers by Nives Meroi:

Nives, Romano and you have managed to climb Makalu, your 13th eight-thousander. If you compare it with the other twelve, was it rather one of the more difficult or easier ascents?

Date

4. July 2016 | 22:48

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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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Burning mountains

Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu (from l. to r.)

Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu (from l. to r.)

Perfect timing. Just when we reach the 5380-meter-high summit of Gokyo Ri, the clouds around the top of Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu turn orange. „The mountains are burning“, our guide Dipak Giri says. Step by step the first sunlight also meets the other summits around us: the eight-thousander Cho Oyu, the six-thousanders Cholatse, Kantega, Thamserku and in the distance Gaurishankar. A 360-degree panorama which is without equal. We were the only ones, who set off from Gokyo at 4,770 meters at 4 a.m. to admire this unique spectacle. Now we are sitting below the prayer flags and hardly believe our eyes.

Date

22. March 2016 | 12:35

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Mothers’ meeting on Makalu

First view on Makalu (© Adrian Ballinger/Facebook)

First view on Makalu (© Adrian Ballinger/Facebook)

“We walked into base camp, dropped our packs, threw on our down jackets, and looked up. Makalu chose that moment to expose her summit”, Adrian Ballinger wrote on Instagram after yesterday’s arrival at the foot of the fourth highest mountain on earth. “Awe is the only word to describe the feeling.” Ballinger is leading a team of US climbers that is remarkable in several respects. First, it is even the only expedition on this eight-thousander in Nepal this fall. Second, the team will try to realize the first ski descent from the 8,485-meter-high summit. And third, three of the five expedition members are women, two of them mothers, and that’s not just commonplace in high-altitude mountaineering.

Date

30. August 2015 | 10:17

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Nepal hopes for comeback in fall

Manaslu, "Mountain of the Spirit"

Manaslu, “Mountain of the Spirit”

“Come back! So that Nepal can make a comeback.” So you could overwrite the appeals of those who are living from tourism in Nepal or have to do with it. The trekking and expedition operators from abroad send a signal that they want to realize most of their trips that they had planned for the post-monsoon season before the earthquake hit the country on 25 April. “The devastating earthquake has shaken the life in Nepal, but slowly life is returning to normality”, Dominik Mueller, head of German operator Amical alpin, wrote.

Date

3. June 2015 | 19:25

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Alix von Melle: Next exit Everest?

Alix von Melle on Makalu

Alix von Melle on Makalu

The ridge between audacity and high spirits is narrow. And it is always a question of perspective. If a climber is to explain a beach goer why he exposes himself to the risk of falling during a mountain tour, he will mostly meet with stunned disapproval. Alix von Melle will probably face those reactions if she will really set off for Tibet next spring to climb Mount Everest. Finally, Alix had to abort a summit attempt on Makalu for health grounds last May.

Date

18. November 2014 | 10:54

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