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Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: “Discounters are dealing with people’s life”

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

His secret of success? “Actually this is my job, because I run a company. So I need to lead my clients to the summit,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa tells me as we sit opposite each other in a café in Kathmandu. In recent years, the 31-year-old has blossomed to the high-flyer among the Sherpas. In fall 2015, he succeeded the first ascent of the West Face of the 6685-meter-high Chobutse in Rolwaling, his home valley – and he did it alone. It was the first solo ascent of a Sherpa in Nepal. Even as an expedition leader, he made headlines. In 2017, no one climbed so often above the magical 8,000-meter-mark as Mingma. The head of the expedition operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition” entered the death zone six times: on Dhaulagiri, Makalu, K2, Broad Peak and twice on Nanga Parbat. Four times he reached the summit (Dhaulagiri, Makalu, K2, Nanga Parbat), the fifth ascent on Broad Peak is disputed. “I will return to this mountain this year,” Mingma announces. “Actually I am quite sure that we made the summit. But this time, I want to reach the highest point of Broad Peak without any doubt, on the one hand to end the debate, on the other for my own satisfaction.”

Date

18. March 2018 | 18:56

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Nanga Parbat: Revol’s anger after the rescue

Elisabeth Revol at the press conference in Chamonix

“We could have saved Tomek.” With this sentence, the French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol has triggered a debate. Could her Polish rope partner Tomek Mackiewicz still be alive, whom, suffering from severe high altitude sickness and slowblindness after their summit success on Nanga Parbat, she had had to leave at 7,200 meters, if the rescue at the end of January had started faster? On the late evening of 25 January, Revol had made several emergency calls. “It’s a race against the clock when you set off a rescue,” Elisabeth said at a press conference in Chamonix on Wednesday. “It took, in fact, 48 hours for something to happen. So clearly I have a lot of anger inside of me – and Tomek could have been saved if it had been a real rescue carried out in time and organized.”

Date

9. February 2018 | 10:42

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Nanga Parbat: Triumph and tragedy

Elisabeth Revol in a French hospital

The ridge is narrow at the highest mountains in the world, between luck and danger, between life and death. On Thursday of last week, Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz reached the 8,125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat. Elisabeth was the first woman to succeed a winter ascent of this eight-thousander, Tomek the first Pole to set foot on the highest point of Nanga Parbat in the cold season. In the seventh attempt Mackiewicz had finally fulfilled his big dream. For Revol, it was the third attempt, all together with Tomek. The two climbers did not have time to enjoy the second winter ascent of Nanga Parbat on the summit. They were late, it was already 6 pm local time and dark. That was still the smaller problem. Tomek told me ‘I can’t see anything any more’,” Elisabeth reports from a French hospital, where her severe frostbite on her hands and feet is being treated. He hadn’t used a mask because it was a bit hazy during the day and by nightfall he had ophthalmia (an inflammation of the eye). We hardly had a second at the top. We had to rush to get down.”

Date

1. February 2018 | 20:25

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Rescue operation on Nanga Parbat

Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz

It’s a race against time. A rescue team of climbers from the Polish K2 winter expedition is trying to rescue the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol and the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz, who have fallen into difficulties during their summit bid on Nanga Parbat. According to the information available, the 43-year-old Tomek – suffering from snowblindness and frostbite – is staying in a tent at about 7200 meters. “I keep descending, please helicopter tomorrow,” wrote Elisabeth Revol in a text message from her satellite phone. The 37-year-old is said to be somewhere between 6200 and 6400 meters.

Date

27. January 2018 | 19:33

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No news yet from Nanga Parbat

Tomek Mackiewicz

The internet is to blame. Today we are used to following expeditions on the highest mountains and in the remotest regions of the world almost in real time via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or blogs. Our perception has changed as well: Much faster than before, we assume something must have happened if we do not hear anything for longer than expected. So what’s up with Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol, who wanted to reach the summit of Nanga Parbat this Thursday? The answer is simple: We do not know yet.

Date

26. January 2018 | 0:59

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Nanga Parbat summit bid on Thursday

Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

Ready, go! “We are at 7,300 (meters). Terrible fight,” Tomek Mackiewicz is quoted on his Facebook page in telegram style. “If weather permits, tomorrow summit.” If not now, when?, we could add. On Thursday, by far the lowest wind speeds this week are expected for the 8,125 meter summit of Nanga Parbat: 20 to 25 km/h. In addition a few clouds and temperatures of minus 42 degrees Celsius. Thereafter, the wind is to refresh again and reach storm strength at the weekend.

Date

24. January 2018 | 16:40

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Decision on Nanga Parbat postponed, Urubko in Camp 2 on K2

Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

Do you already have aching muscles from keeping fingers crossed? Your pain could become even stronger. Because the summit bid of the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol that was expected already for Sunday is delayed. “We are in Camp 3, (it’s) windy (with speeds of)  about 100 km/h,” Tomek is quoted today on his Facebook page. “Tomorrow Camp 4, summit push (on) 25 January. Good weather (is expected for) that day.” In fact, the weather forecast for the summit at 8,125 meters predicts for Thursday the lowest wind speeds this week: between 15 and 25 km/h. Assuming this forecast is correct, it will be almost calm, however with minus 42 degrees Celsius quite cold, some clouds are expected. Mackiewicz and Revol climb without bottled oxygen.

Date

22. January 2018 | 14:53

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Summit bid on Nanga Parbat, Txikon on top of Pumori

Nanga Parbat

It’s time for the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol this Sunday. According to Polish media information, the two climbers wanted to start at 2 a.m. local time (Saturday 10 p.m. CET) from their last high camp at 7,200 meters towards the summit. It will be their first and last attempt, it said. For Sunday, clear weather with temperatures of minus 33 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of about 60 kilometers per hour is expected for the highest point of Nanga Parbat at 8,125 meters. Mackiewicz and Revol are climbing without bottled oxygen.

Date

20. January 2018 | 22:16

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Summit attempt on Nanga Parbat?

Elisabeth Revol (l.) and Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

“We are acclimatized. We’ll try to reach the summit.” Tomek Mackiewicz is quoted on his Facebook page with these words. After about two weeks of strong winds, the weather on Nanga Parbat had improved, the conditions were good, it said. Tomek and his climbing partner Elisabeth Revol probably set off today towards their material depot at 6,700 meters.

Date

18. January 2018 | 15:22

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Camp 2 reached on Everest, storm on K2 and Nanga Parbat

Alex Txikon in Everest high camp (in the background on the right Pumori)

Alex Txikon is pleased with the progress made so far on his winter expedition on Mount Everest. On Sunday, the Spaniard and five Sherpas ascended from the base camp on the previously prepared route through the Khumbu Icefall, slept in Camp 1 at 6,050 meters and reached Camp 2 on Monday. “I am very happy, I did not think for a moment that we were going to reach Camp 2 at 6,500 meters in just one day and with a small team of only six people,” says the 36-year-old.

Date

16. January 2018 | 13:03

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Winter expeditions: Just ahead, above and far above base camp

Polish K2 team at Concordia

Three winter expeditions to eight-thousanders, three different phases. In Pakistan, the Polish team led by Krzysztof Wielicki today reached Concordia after trekking over the Baltoro Glacier and is expected on Tuesday to pitch their tents in the base camp at the foot of K2, the last remaining unclimbed eight-thousander in winter. Already six days ago, the Spaniard Alex Txikon, the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” and their Nepalese Sherpa team had reached the base camp on the south side of Mount Everest. They are fixing a route through the Khumbu Icefall. Like last year, Alex participates in the work (as the video below shows).

Date

8. January 2018 | 17:13

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Lunger/Moro: A meeting with the Pope – and then?

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro (r.) with Pope Francis

On Thursday, the (calendrical) winter begins – and thus the question rises again: Who will try to climb which mountain in the cold season? A top-class Polish expedition led by veteran Krzysztof Wielicki will attempt to climb K 2, the last remaining eight-thousander which has not been scaled in winter so far. The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol are said to have already arrived in Pakistan in order to return to Nanga Parbat.

And what’s about the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger and the Italian Simone Moro? Both are considered as extremely “winterproof”. The 50-year-old Simone has four first winter ascents of eight-thousanders on his account (Shishapangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011, Nanga Parbat in 2016). The 31-year-old Tamara and Moro tackled in vain Manaslu in winter 2015. A year later on Nanga Parbat, Lunger had to turn back only 70 meters below the summit, because she felt bad. In this Advent, Lunger and Moro already had a summit meeting: with the Pope. I contacted Tamara:

Tamara, two professional mountaineers (Simone and you) took a selfie with Pope Francis, how did that happen?

Date

20. December 2017 | 11:19

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Mackiewicz wants to return to Nanga Parbat

Tomasz Mackiewicz

Tomek’s love for Nanga Parbat almost verges on mania. Six winters in a row, from 2011 to 2016, the “Naked Mountain” in Pakistan dismissed Tomasz Mackiewicz. But the 42-year-old climber from Poland just does not give up. He wants to make his way to Nanga Parbat for the seventh time this winter – if he is able to finance the expedition. Tomek has again launched a crowdfunding campaign on the internet. “Money is always a problem,” Mackiewicz writes to me. “I’am poor.”

Date

18. November 2017 | 17:40

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Simone Moro turns 50: “I’m still alive”

Simone Moro

It does not hurt more than usual. I can say that from my own experience. It is rather a mental challenge to realize that the first 50 years are over and the second half of life has definitely begun. Time to take stock. This Friday, Simone Moro celebrates his 50th birthday. The Italian can already be more than satisfied with his career as a high-altitude climber. No one else besides Simone has four winter first ascents of eight-thousanders on his account.

In 2005, Moro summited along with the Polish climber Piotr Morawski the 8027-meter-high Shishapangma for the first time in the cold season. Three other first winter ascents followed: In 2009 with the native Kazakh Denis Urubko on Makalu (8,485 m), in 2011 with Urubko and the American Cory Richards on Gasherbrum II (8,034 m) and in 2016 with the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” on Nanga Parbat (8,125 m). Simone did all these eight-thousander climbs without bottled oxygen. Last spring, Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger had planned to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif, but had to turn back without having reached a single summit. Two attempts ended at 7,200 meters, because Simone suffered from stomach ache. Moro is married to the South Tyrolean climber Barbara Zwerger and has a 19-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son. Simone has also earned his merits as a rescue helicopter pilot in the Himalayas.

Simone, half a century in your legs, how does that feel?

Date

26. October 2017 | 11:25

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Summit success reported from Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat

It did not let him rest. “This time I have no doubt,” says Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, when he rings me out of bed after midnight our time. “We were at the summit of Nanga Parbat.” The 31-year-old calls me by satellite telephone from Camp 4. The connection is bad, I have to ask several times. Eight climbers were at the highest point, the Nepalese reports. “The weather was very good and the view too.”

Date

3. October 2017 | 1:17

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