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Thomas Huber: “Latok I North Face appears invincible”

On the six-thousander Panmah Kangri

“My tactic of arriving later in the season didn’t work this time,” Thomas Huber tells me after his return from the Karakoram, adding that it was a “fully mixed” expedition. “It started incredibly well, but unfortunately it didn’t end the same way.” As reported before – the 51-year-old, the older of the two Huber brothers, had left at the beginning of August with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl, 59-year-old German climber Rainer Treppte and French cameraman Yannick Boissenot towards Latok I in order to tackle the 7,145-meter-high mountain via the north side.

Date

28. September 2018 | 14:43

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Slovenian-British trio succeeds coup on 7000er Latok I

Luka Strazar, Tom Livingstone, Ales Cesen (from l. to r.)

It is one of this year’s most spectacular successes on the highest mountains in the world: The two Slovenians Ales Cesen (36 years old) and Luka Strazar (29) and the British Tom Livingstone (27) managed the only second ascent of the 7,145-meter-high, extremely difficult Latok I in the Karakoram – the first ascent from the north side at all. Since the legendary first attempt in 1978 by the Americans Jeff and George Henry Lowe, Michael Kennedy and Jim Donini via the North Ridge, who were forced back by a storm about 150 meters below the summit, this task had been a too hard nut to crack for about 30 expeditions. ”The ridge itself remains a challenge for the future,” said Tom Livingstone modestly in an interview with the British Mountaineering Council (BMC).

Date

22. August 2018 | 22:47

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Thomas Huber before his expedition to 7000er Latok I: “Complex and difficult”

Thomas Huber, Rainer Treppte and Simon Gietl (from l. to r.)

Thomas Huber is sitting on packed expedition barrels. “I’m really looking forward to the expedition,” says the 51-year-old. The older of the two Huber brothers is leaving for Pakistan this Saturday. Thomas wants to tackle the northern side of the 7,145-meter-high Latok I – together with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl and climbing old hand Rainer Treppte, aged 59, who comes from Saxony and has been living in the Allgäu region for a long time. “I have already climbed with them,” says Huber about his two climbing partners. Last spring, the trio succeeded in repeating for the first time the difficult “La Strada” route on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites, which the Poles Piotr Edelman and Jan Fialkowski had mastered for the first time in 1988. “We harmonize very well as a team, and we have every chance to tackle such a goal as Latok I,” says Thomas Huber. I also talked to him about the drama on this seven-thousander in the Karakoram that had kept us in suspense for days.

Thomas, yesterday we got the relieving message that the Russian climber Alexander Gukov was rescued from the North Ridge of Latok I. How did you experience this dramatic story?

Date

1. August 2018 | 19:57

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Drama on the 7000er Latok I in Pakistan

Gukov’s position on the North Ridge of Latok I (see arrow)

Fingers crossed for Alexander Gukov! According to Anna Piunova from the website mountain.ru, the 42-year-old Russian climber is trapped at 6,200 meters on the North Ridge of the 7145-meter-high Latok I in the Karakoram. Gukov made an emergency call on Wednesday:  “I need help. I need to be evacuated. I’m hanging in the wall without equipment.” His 26-year-old climbing partner Sergey Glazunov fell to his death while abseiling, said Alexander.

Date

26. July 2018 | 21:49

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Kuriki changes his Everest plan

Nobukazu Kuriki

Nobukazu Kuriki has changed Everest sides. The 34-year-old Japanese today reported on Facebook from Gorak Shep, the 5207-meter-high last inhabited settlement below Everest on the Nepalese south side. Apparently, Kuriki has managed the necessary formalities with the Nepali authorities. Previously, Nobukazu had pitched his tent on the Tibetan north side: on the Central Rongbuk Glacier below Everest North Face. The reason for his change of location, says Kuriki, was that he had changed his previous plan for the ascent. Originally, the Japanese had wanted to climb the North Face, solo and without bottled oxygen, via the so-called “Supercouloir Route”, a system of gullies that stretches almost through the entire wall.

Date

17. May 2017 | 18:57

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Rousseau and Co. tackle Cho Oyu North Face

Cho Oyu North Face

There is still potential for climbing highlights even on the “top sellers” among the eight-thousanders. This applies not only to Mount Everest (up to now more than 7500 summit successes), but also to the second most climbed eight-thousander, Cho Oyu (more than 3500 summit successes). This spring, an international team of four, led by Louis Rousseau, plans to open a new route through the North Face of the sixth highest mountain on earth, in Alpine style. For the 40-year-old Canadian, it’s a comeback on the eight-thousanders after a break of five years. In 2012, Rousseau had been searching on Gasherbrum I for his longtime climbing partner Gerfried Göschl from Austria, who had remained missing after a winter attempt on the mountain in Pakistan. In 2011, Rousseau had scaled Gasherbrum II, his third eight-thousander after Broad Peak (in 2007) and Nanga Parbat (new route along with Göschl in 2009).

Date

13. April 2017 | 16:09

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Auer and Bluemel succeed first ascent on a 7000er in Nepal

Auer (l.) and Bluemel on top of Gimmigela East

Auer (l.) and Bluemel on top of Gimmigela East

“It was one of those expeditions where it all fit together perfectly,” says Hansjoerg Auer. The 31-year-old Austrian and his countryman Alex Bluemel succeeded the first ascent of the North Face of the 7005-meter-high Gimmigela East, in Alpine style, means without ropes and high camps, without Sherpa support and without bottled oxygen. The sub-peak of Gimmigela Chuli (7350 m) is located in the far east of Nepal, on the border with India, quite hidden in the area around the eight-thousander Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain on earth.

Date

16. December 2016 | 13:05

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Auer: “No large safety buffer”

Hansjoerg Auer

Hansjoerg Auer

“The ability is the measure of what you are allowed to do,” the free climbing pioneer Paul Preuss (1886-1913) wrote – freely translated – more than a hundred years ago. Hansjoerg Auer is able to do a lot and is therefore a well-deserved winner of the “Paul Preuss Award”, which is annually given to an extraordinary climber in the tradition of the legendary Austrian. “Auer belongs undoubtedly to the best climbers in the world,” said Reinhold Messner during the award ceremony at the International Mountain Summit (IMS) in Bressanone last weekend. Meanwhile, Hansjoerg Auer has set off from his native Oetztal for a new adventure. In the far east of Nepal, the Austrian, along with his countryman Alex Bluemel, wants to first climb the North Face of the almost 7,000-meter-high Gimigela Chuli East. The mountain is hidden behind the eight-thousander Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain on earth.

Hansjoerg, do you take failure into account?

Date

20. October 2016 | 10:16

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Kuriki started climbing Everest North Face

Nobukazu Kuriki

Nobukazu Kuriki

That sounds like a dance on a volcano, although Mount Everest isn’t one. According to his team Nobukazu Kuriki has started climbing the snowy Everest North Face. The 34-year-old Japanese wants to climb via the Hornbein Couloir to the 8850-meter-high summit, it said. Probably the “Supercouloir” route is meant, which combines the Japanese Couloir in the lower part with the Hornbein Couloir in the upper part of the wall. The route was opened by the Japanese climbers Tsuneo Shigehiro and Takashi Ozaki in spring 1980. “I am fully focused and start now”, Kuriki said by radio. In recent weeks Nobukazu had repeatedly explored possible ascent routes from the bottom of the wall and referred to high avalanche danger. For this reason, Kilian Jornet – as reported – had abandoned his Everest expedition. The Spaniard, known for his high-speed climbs, to his own words had climbed on the Tibetan normal route up to an altitude of 7,950 meters.

Date

5. October 2016 | 11:33

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Jornet abandons his Everest expedition

Kilian Jornet

Kilian Jornet

I was right on track with my feeling yesterday: The Spanish climber Kilian Jornet gives up due to the snow masses on Everest. The 28-year-old announces that he will return from the highest mountain on earth without having climbed it. Bad weather conditions forced him to abandon his plan to speed climb Everest via the North Face, says Jornet: “During the first few weeks we were acclimatising well and the conditions were good. However, when we were getting ready to prepare the attempt the weather began to change. There were some heavy snow storms and a large accumulation of snow. As a result, although we were in good physical shape, there was a high risk of avalanches and in the absence of good safety conditions it was impossible to climb.”  

Date

15. September 2016 | 15:37

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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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Thomas Huber: “I’ll travel with a laughing heart”

Thomas Huber will set off again

Thomas Huber will set off again

Incredible – that describes Thomas Huber’s current life quite aptly. No wonder that the 49-year-old German top climber uses this word very often when we talk on the phone. Thomas was, as he himself says, “incredibly lucky” when he survived his 16-meter-fall from a rock face on 5 July. He recovered so “incredibly fast” that he – as initially planned before his fall – will shortly go “with incredible joy” on expedition to Pakistan. Truly incredible! The aim of the travel is the north side of the 7,145-meter-high granite giant Latok I in the Karakoram. Huber’s team includes Toni Gutsch – who, in 1997, first climbed the West Face of Latok II (7108 m) along with the Huber brothers and US climber Conrad Anker – and Sebastian Brutscher.

Date

13. August 2016 | 9:17

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Fowler: “No thoughts of giving up yet!”

Mick Fowler (l.) and Paul Ramsden

Mick Fowler (l.) and Paul Ramsden

Real adventurers should be young? Fiddlesticks! The Briton Mick Fowler and his long-time climbing partner and compatriot Paul Ramsden prove that you can do extremely ambitious climbs in the Himalayas even if you are older than 50. Mick is going to celebrate his 60th (!) anniversary next year – unbelievable! Many young climbers would turn green with envy comparing their efforts with Mick’s and Paul’s achievements in recent years. Again and again they succeed in first climbing amazing routes on six-thousanders in Nepal, India, China or elsewhere. They were already awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar for climbers”, twice: in 2003, for their new route through the North Face of the 6250-meter-high Siguniang in western China and in 2013, for their first climb of the Northeast Ridge of the 6142-meter-high Shiva in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. And they have a good chance to win the Golden Ice Axe for the third time – for their latest expedition. This October, Mick and Paul completed the first ascent of Gave Ding, a six-thousander located in a very remote valley in far west Nepal.

Mick, year after year you and your climbing partner Paul Ramsden discover ambitious new mountains or routes, tackle them and succeed. What is your secret of success?

Lots of hard research, a good partnership and a shared approach of not retreating unless there is a very good reason to do so.

Date

2. December 2015 | 9:26

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A mountain, two routes and a little anger

Hagshu (north face in the sun, to the left of it the north east face)

Hagshu (north face in the sun, to the left of it the north east face)

This does not happen often. Within days top climbers from Slovenia and the UK opened two challenging new routes on a shapely 6000-meter-peak in the Indian Himalayas. The 6515-meter-high Hagshu is located in the district of Kishtwar in the crisis-hit region of Kashmir. The Slovenians Marko Prezelj, Luka Lindic and Ales Cesen reached the summit on 30 September, after they had climbed for the first time through the steep north face of Hagshu. Then the Britons Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden opened a new route via the previously unclimbed north east face and stood at the top of the mountain on 6 October.

Date

29. October 2014 | 16:30

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Goal: A new route to the top of Kangchenjunga

The North Face of Kangchenjunga

The North Face of Kangchenjunga

Even if it may seem in spring again as though there was only Mount Everest, it is also worth looking to other eight-thousanders. A highly qualified team has been formed to open a new route via the north face of Kangchenjunga: Denis Urubko and Artem Brown from Russia, Adam Bielecki from Poland and the Basque Alex Txikon. Urubko has initiated the project. Denis, who was born in Kazakhstan but is now a Russian citizen, wants to draw a definite line under the past year which was so unfortunate for him.

Date

26. March 2014 | 16:09

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