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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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Latok I: How high did Gukov and Glazunov climb?

Climbing into the fog

No photo, no video, no GPS data. It’s not possible to prove clearly where exactly on the seven-thousander Latok I in the Karakoram the two Russian climbers Alexander Gukov and Sergey Glazunov finished their ascent on 23 July. The GPS tracker didn’t work properly. The mini-camera they had used to document the ascent was carried by Sergey when he fell to his death on 25 July. The body of the 26-year-old could not be recovered. Two days before, the two Russians had reached their highest point in the fog. “By 7 pm, Sergey climbed up a small col between a rock and a snowy serac. I was standing ten meters below him. The snow was almost vertical,” Alexander recalls on “mountain.ru”, where an English translation of his statements was published today.

Date

28. August 2018 | 15:47

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Climbing legend Jeff Lowe is dead

Jeff Lowe (1950-2018)

“The climb will go. Get rid of the rope. It’s only distracting you,” Jeff Lowe once said. He was an uncompromising climber. Lowe loved to be alone or in small teams on extreme routes. The American succeeded more than 1,000 first ascents in his climbing career. Jeff was born in 1950 in Ogden, Utah, as the fourth of eight children. When he was four years old, his father took him skiing and two years later climbing. The family was enthusiastic about mountain sports. Aged 14, Jeff climbed his first new route: on Mount Ogden, doing it solo. He was often en route with his brothers Greg and Mike and his cousin George Henry Lowe.

Date

25. August 2018 | 20:36

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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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Alexander Gukov rescued from Latok I

Alexander in the rescue helicopter

Good news from the Karakoram: Alexander Gukov is saved. The 42-year-old Russian climber had been trapped for almost a week on the North Ridge of the seven-thousander Latok I at 6,200 meters, without food or equipment. With finally good visibility, but strong wind, Pakistani helicopter pilots managed to get Alexander off the mountain on a long line. Two helicopters were in action.

Date

31. July 2018 | 8:03

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Still no rescue of Gukov possible

The drama on Latok I continues. Another day has passed on which Alexander Gukov is trapped on the North Ridge of the seven-thousander in the Karakoram without any help. Like throughout the weekend, thick clouds today prevented rescue helicopters from approaching the site at around 6,200 meters, where the 42-year-old Russian climber has been staying since Wednesday last week – without food or equipment. The helicopters took off, but returned without getting close to Gukov. “There will be no further attempts today,” mountain.ru reported. “The weather is getting worse.” It’s like bewitched. “Imagine everything is clear, only the Latok is completely in clouds,” said Viktor Koval from the base camp. “The pilots hardly managed to fly away.”

Date

30. July 2018 | 15:20

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Fear for Alexander Gukov on Latok I

Alexander Gukov (in 2014)

Alexander Gukov must persevere. This Friday, dense clouds covered the 7,145-meter-high Latok I in the Karakoram in Pakistan. The helicopter of the Pakistan army, with which the 42-year-old Russian mountaineer is to be rescued from the North Ridge, stayed on the ground. As reported yesterday, Gukov is trapped at 6,200 meters without equipment, his rope partner Sergey Glazunov had fallen to his death while abseiling. “Damn! Where do all the avalanches come from? I can’t even boil water,” Alexander wrote to Anna Piunova from mountain.ru by SMS today. Later he sounded a little more optimistic: “I managed to find half a Snicker and also drink some water.” His food supplies have run out after more than two weeks on the mountain.

Date

27. July 2018 | 15:29

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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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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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