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Alexander Huber: “Climate change is clearly noticeable”

Ogre II and I (r.), they reached the col

Three attempts, then it was over. As reported, Alexander Huber, the Swiss Dani Arnold and the two East Tyroleans Mario Walder and Christian Zenz abandoned their expedition on the 7285-meter-high Ogre I in Pakistan and returned home. They had wanted to reach the summit of the mountain, which so far has been scaled only three times, over the still not mastered East Pillar. I spoke to Alexander, aged 48, the younger of the two Huber brothers, about the failed expedition.

Alexander, you wrote on Facebook that you knew what the mountain wanted to tell you. What was the message?

We set off to the mountain three times and were able to control the situation with maximum risk management three times. But we noticed every time that we were running extremely late. There was only a very short time window to move safely on the mountain. In this case you have to be en route with full steam to get out of the danger zone on time. We did it three times, and it turned out well. But one day it won’t work so well, and then you are in the middle of this extremely dangerous terrain and can not get out.

Date

2. September 2017 | 18:59

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Ogre by night schedule

East Pillar of Ogre I

This summer, there was hardly anything to be gained on Ogre I. “The weather was almost always rather bad,” German top climber Alexander Huber writes on Facebook about his expedition to the 7285-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. The conditions were marginal. “A little old snow from the winter and a lot of fresh snow from early summer in the structure of the snowpack. In addition always high temperatures. Summing up, piles of slush.” The 48-year-old, the younger of the Huber brothers, had wanted to reach the summit along with the East Tyroleans Mario Walder and Christian Zenz and the Swiss Dani Arnold via the still unclimbed East Pillar. Even before departure, Alexander had described Ogre I to me as “one of the most exclusive peaks of our planet, one of the most difficult spots to reach”. This was confirmed: Climbing was only possible after night schedule.

Date

30. August 2017 | 22:16

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Mingma G. Sherpa and Co. also on top of Broad Peak

Broad Peak

“Mr. 8000” has done it again. “We all are on Broad peak summit,“  Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination wrote on Facebook today. All means according to Mingmas yesterday’s post: ten climbers. The summit success was confirmed by the data from the GPS tracker of John Snorri Sigurjónsson, one of Mingmas clients. For the 31-year-old Mingma, it was already his fourth success on eight-thousanders this year. Previously, the Sherpa had led clients to the summits of Dhaulagiri and Makalu in Nepal last spring and of K2 last Friday. In addition, he had reached with his team the summit ridge of Nanga Parbat not being sure if he had really found the highest point.

Date

4. August 2017 | 11:43

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Late summit attempt on Broad Peak

Broad Peak (with the shadow of K2)

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa does not seem to get fed up with climbing eight-thousanders this summer. Five days after his summit success on K2, when under his guidance twelve climbers had reached the top of the 8,611-meter-high mountain in the Karakoram, the 31-year-old expedition leader of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination set off with a team for a late-in-season summit attempt on neighboring Broad Peak. According to the GPS tracker of his client John Snorri Sigurjónsson, the team today reached Camp 2 at about 6,200 meters. Last week, John had become the first Icelander on the summit of K 2, the second highest mountain on earth.

Date

2. August 2017 | 16:39

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Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: “Perfect teamwork on K2”

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa on the summit of K2

The base camp at K 2, the second highest mountain on earth, will turn empty in the coming days. Andrzej Bargiel and his Polish friends declared that their ski expedition was over after they had finished their summit attempt at the weekend because of too much avalanche danger. The Swedish Fredrik Sträng and his Pakistani companion also turned around. The commercial expedition operators Furtenbach Adventure and Himalayan Experience had previously thrown in the towel.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the operator Dreamers Destination, can return to Nepal highly satisfied. Under the guidance of the 31-year-old a team of twelve climbers had reached the 8,611-meter-high summit on Friday. These were the first summit successes on K2 since 2014, when Mingma had also been one of the successful climbers there and had climbed up without breathing mask. In spring 2017, the extremely high performing Sherpa had already scaled along with clients the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri and Makalu. This summer he had reached with a team the summit ridge of Nanga Parbat without knowing if they had really found the highest point. After his success on K2, I have sent Mingma some questions. Here are his answers:

Mingma, first of all congrats to you and your team. Great performance! Some expedition leaders turned around due to the avalanche risk which they valued as being too high. What made you feel confident that it could work?

Date

31. July 2017 | 13:55

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Summit successes on K2

K 2, seen from Base Camp

It was a tough piece of work. “Finally we are at the summit of K2,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination, wrote on Facebook. Besides him, eleven other climbers had reached the highest point at 8,611 meters, including six Sherpas, Mingma said. Obviously it took them about 16 hours to climb from the last high camp on the K2 Shoulder at about 7,650 meters up to the summit – no wonder considering the large amount of fresh snow, which had previously caused some teams to abandon their attempts due to the avalanche danger.

Date

28. July 2017 | 14:41

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Oscar Cadiach completes his 14×8000

Oscar Cadiach

The Beatles can not have meant Oscar Cadiach when they wrote the lyrics for their song “When I’m sixty-four”: “Yours sincerely, wasting away”. The Spanish climber is 64 years old but nothing could be further from wasting away. He is certainly fitter than most 32-year-olds. Today, Oscar completed his big project: The Catalan summited the 8051- meter-high Broad Peak in the Karakoram and has now stood on top of all 14 eight-thousanders without having used bottled oxygen. 33 years ago, Cadiach had scaled his first eight-thousander, also in Pakistan: Nanga Parbat.

Date

27. July 2017 | 18:56

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K 2 and Broad Peak: Summits within reach

K 2, the “King of the Eight-thousanders”

Will K2, after all, stretch out its hand for reconciliation? Despite the difficult weather and snow conditions on the second highest mountain on earth, today more than a dozen climbers have reached the highest camp on the K 2 Shoulder. “He just arrived at Camp 4,” Lina Moey, partner of the Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson, wrote on Facebook. “He is very tired, after almost twelve hours of climbing. This was a very long day and the snow reached up to his waist at some points. Fourteen people are planing to summit the peak, 9 of them are Sherpa. They had to dig 1.5 meter down to be able to put the tent down.” On 16 May, the 44-year-old Sigurjonsson had summited the 8516-meter-high Lhotse in Nepal. He was the first Icelander on the fourth highest mountain on earth. Also on the summit of K2, he would be the first climber of his country. John’s GPS tracker showed an altitude of 7,650 meters.

Date

26. July 2017 | 19:37

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Spanish trio abandons summit attempt on Gasherbrum II

Route of the Spaniards on Gasherbrum II (blue)

Once again the weather in the Karakorum is a grab bag. “We are all still at Base Camp with the same 4 seasons in one day, sun, cloud, rain, snow, wind,” the New Zealand expedition leader Russell Brice wrote this week from K 2, the second highest mountain on earth. About 20 kilometers as the crow flies from there, Alberto Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza regardless of the freak weather started their ambitious attempt to traverse Gasherbrum I and II in Alpine style without descending to the base camp – 33 years after Reinhold Messner’s and Hans Kammerlander’s pioneering on these two eight-thousanders which has not yet been repeated to date.

Date

21. July 2017 | 16:15

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Risky search on Nanga Parbat

The accident site (© Alex Gavan)

Looked at soberly, actually there can not be any doubt: The Spaniard Alberto Zerain and the Argentinean Mariano Galvan have been killed two weeks ago in an avalanche accident on the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat. Photos taken by the Romanian climber Alex Gavan from a rescue helicopter show the track of the two climbers ending exactly at the fracture line of an avalanche. The last position indicated by the climbers’ GPS tracker is a spot far below, in the supposed fall line. (Look also at the video below) Nonetheless a Pakistani team of eight is currently again searching for the missing climbers at the place where the avalanche swept down. “We moved to the south side of the ridge. We closely looked at the face,” the leader of the search team said today. “We can see the traverse Mariano made. We can also see the ridge from which a chunk of ice fell that potentially caused the accident by sweeping the climbers off the (ridge) into the highly broken glacier. Three of us will try (to ascend) from South West Ridge and three from south east.”

Date

12. July 2017 | 15:03

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Karnicar abandons his K2 ski expedition

Karnicar strikes his tent on K 2

The Slovenian Davo Karnicar, known for his spectacular ski runs from the highest mountains in the world, has aborted his expedition on K2. The 52-year-old justified his decision with a minor back injury, which he had suffered already at the beginning of the expedition. The injury did not allow him to jump with his skies on the slope to change the direction, said Karnicar. Previously, he had skied down on trial from Camp 1 to the Base Camp. “K2 is too demanding for improvisation and for doing things by halves,” said Davo. Karnicar also pointed out that the key section of the South Face was currently snow-free and therefore a complete ski descent from the summit to the Base Camp, as he had planned, was not possible. The Slovene wanted to ski down the Cesen route.

Date

7. July 2017 | 16:33

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Attention, rope parasites!

K 2 Base Camp

Trouble’s brewing in the base camps on K 2 and the neighboring eight-thousander Broad Peak. “I got surprised to see climbers here without ropes.”, writes Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination from the base camp at the foot of K 2, the second highest mountain on earth. Only on the normal route via the Abruzzi spur, three teams are climbing without ropes, says the 31-year-old Nepalese: “If this is how climbers come on K 2, then we can expect (the events of the) year 2008 again on K 2.” At that time eleven climbers from seven nations had died in a true mass summit push on the 8,611-meter-high mountain.

Mingma has agreed with the Austrian expedition organizer Lukas Furtenbach that Dreamers Destination will fix the ropes on the Abruzzi route on K 2 while Furtenbach Adventures will do the same on the normal route on the 8,051-meter-high Broad Peak and later make mutual use of the ropes. Also Furtenbach is hopping mad that other teams neither participate in the work to secure the route nor in the costs.

Date

29. June 2017 | 14:24

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Alexander Huber: “Ogre is not a man-eater”

Alexander Huber

Ogre has on the Huber brothers almost the same effect as the singing of the Sirens in Greek mythology: the two German top climbers can hardly escape the call of this fascinating granite giant. Time and again in their long careers Alexander and Thomas Huber have set off to the Ogre massif in the Karakoram or the nearby peaks of the Latok group. In 1999, they failed in their attempt to climb the 7,285-meter-high Ogre I. Thomas succeeded the second ascent of the mountain in 2001, along with the two Swiss Urs Stoecker and Iwan Wolf. The first ascent was made almost 40 years ago, on 13 July 1977 by the British climbers Chris Bonington and Doug Scott. The descent became a drama with a happy end: Scott broke both ankles, Bonington two ribs. Nevertheless, both of them, supported by the other team members, reached the base camp one week after their summit success – one of the great survival stories on the highest mountains in the world.

Easier doing it with friends

Yesterday Alexander Huber set off to Ogre. His team includes the two East Tyroleans Mario Walder and Christian Zenz and the Swiss Dani Arnold. With Dani (and Thomas Senf), Alexander had opened a new route through the Matterhorn North Face last March. With Mario and Christian, he had succeeded  the first ascent of a route on the mountain Ritterknecht in East Greenland in summer 2016. “It’s good to be on the road with partners you know,” says Alexander Huber. His three companions are not only good, competent climbers, but also friends, says the younger of the two Huber brothers. “You have to spend a lot of time together, often moments of tension. The better the human chemistry fits, the better it is.” I talked with the 48-year-old about his expedition before he left for Pakistan.

Alexander, you are heading to Ogre, a seven-thousander in the Karakoram. What exactly are you planning?

Date

24. June 2017 | 15:01

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Really on top of Nanga Parbat?

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa on Nanga Parbat

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is not sure. He can not say with 100 percent certainty that he and his team really reached the 8,125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat on 11 June, the 31-year-old Nepalese today writes on Facebook, thus qualifying previous reports on the first summit success of the summer season on the eight-thousanders in Pakistan. He had relied on the local knowledge of a Pakistani climber who had summited the ninth highest mountain on earth in 2005 and with whom he had been on Gasherbrum I and II in 2016, writes Mingma. But the Pakistani had first led the team into a different gully than originally planned. This made the ascent harder and longer, says the Sherpa. When they finally reached the top of a ridge, the Pakistani told them this was the summit. “But that place didn’t look like the summit which I had figured out to be snow and two snow bar(rier)s,“ Mingma writes.

Date

18. June 2017 | 20:50

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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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