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Stricter regulations for expeditions on the Tibetan eight-thousanders

Tibetan north side of Mount Everest

The expedition operators in Nepal might have been so shocked that they dropped their pencils. In the “New Regulations for Foreign Expeditions 2019” in Tibet (available to me) it says under point 6: “In order to ensure the healthy and orderly development of mountaineering and minimize the occurrence of mountaineering accidents, mountaineering teams which were organized in Nepal temporarily will not be accepted.” As I have learned from a reliable source, a delegation from Nepal immediately traveled to China to have this regulation removed or at least weakened. Apparently the delegates of the Nepali operators were at least partially successful. Some agencies, however, are supposedly to receive no more approval. The Chinese and Tibetan Mountaineering Associations announced to cooperate in future only “with expedition companies with good social reputation, strong ability of team formation, logistic support, reliable service quality, excellent professional quality, and (who are) law-abiding”.

Date

4. December 2018 | 16:48

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Fight against fake rescue flights in Nepal

Rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp

The air is getting thinner for those in Nepal who feather their beds with fake rescue flights. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, international insurance companies have set an ultimatum until 1 September to put an end to these illegal activities. Otherwise, they no longer want to cover the costs of helicopter rescue flights. The Nepalese government plans to set up a police unit in the Tourism Ministry that is to manage all rescues.

Not practicable

Lakpa Norbu Sherpa (r.) and Maurizio Folini

Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, who has been coordinating rescue on Mount Everest since 2003 as base camp manager of the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), is sceptical. “Police officers are no specialists”, tells me the 37-year-old, who was trained as a helicopter rescuer in Switzerland in 2012. Similar comments are made by Maurizio Folini: “The solution is not practicable. The police have no idea how to save people in the mountains.” The 53-year-old helicopter pilot from Italy is a pioneer for rescue flights on the eight-thousanders in Nepal. Since 2011 Folini has been flying regularly on the highest mountains in the world, in 2013 he managed the highest longline helicopter rescue of all time when he brought down a Nepalese climber from 7,800 meter on Everest.

Date

26. August 2018 | 17:22

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“Recovery of dead is always sad – not only on the Matterhorn”

Helmi Lerjen

Helmi Lerjen, mountain guide and rescuer

Even the first ascent of the Matterhorn 150 years ago ended in tragedy. Four team members died during the descent from the summit, when a rope ruptured. Since then, more than 500 climbers died on the “Horu”, as the locals call the Matterhorn – more than on any other mountain in Switzerland. Year after year there are between 2,500 and 3,000 summit attempts, also resulting in a lot of work for mountain rescuers. Helmut called “Helmi” Lerjen comes from a true mountain guide family. In the fourth generation, the Lerjens are guiding clients on mountains like the Matterhorn. Helmi, who is living with his wife and daughter in the small village of Täsch, close to Zermatt, has also been working for the Mountain Rescue Zermatt for almost 15 years. The Matterhorn, 150 years after the first ascent, from the perspective of a mountain rescuer:

Dani, all over the world the Matterhorn is a symbol for Switzerland. How do you see this mountain? Or in other words, what does it mean to you?

Date

11. July 2015 | 8:00

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Rope team of 193

Long line on the glacier

The clouds were hanging low, it was cool. Not exactly the perfect weather to tempt curious or spontaneous people to climb up to over 3,000 metre to the Koednitzkees, a glacier below the summit of Grossglockner, the highest mountain of Austria. On Saturday – as reported here – the “longest rope team of the world” should be formed there. A notary certified the number of participants of the action which in case of success should find its place in the Guinness Book of Records. Despite the bad weather 193 mountain friends roped up to a length of 600 metres. “The exercise has been successful,” said Peter Ladstätter, district head of the mountain rescue in Osttirol (Eastern Tyrol) who had organized the event.

Date

16. September 2013 | 15:33

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Never without rope on a glacier

Rope up before you start!

The longest rope team of the world. That is the goal of an action on Grossglockner, which, if it works, will find its place in the Guinness Book of Records. On Saturday at 2 p.m. mountain rescuers of Osttirol (Eastern Tyrol) will rope up as many climbers as possible on the Koednitzkees, a glacier below the highest peak of Austria. A notary is commissioned by the Guinness Book of Records to count the participants. Afterwards the Austrian artist Dieter Remler will make a performance, according to the motto: “As free as an eagle, with a person’s mind”. This is just one of several actions in Osttirol during this weekend which is dedicated to safety in the mountains . I contacted Peter Ladstaetter, district head of mountain rescue in Osttirol. He has organized the action on the Koednitzkees .

Peter, what is the message of forming the longest rope team of the world?

Our key message is: It must be a standard to take a rope before you enter or cross a glacier. Unfortunately many do not know that glacial ice is always moving and therefore also crevasses are “walking”. There are many falls which only end without serious consequences – in most cases even unhurt – because the mountaineers are roped up.

Date

12. September 2013 | 14:24

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