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Ralf Dujmovits: “I’ve closed the chapter Everest”

Enthusiastic welcome für Ralf Dujmovits (r.)

A joint week in Nepal is behind Ralf Dujmovits and me. As reported before, we inaugurated the first two parts of the new school building in Thulosirubari, a small mountain village about 70 kilometers east of Kathmandu, which could be built thanks to our aid project “School up!”. And we laid the foundation for the second construction phase. In Kathmandu I conducted some interviews – you could already read those with the expedition operators Arnold Coster and Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, more will follow shortly. Ralf took the time to meet old acquaintances and to visit some of his favorite spots in the capital. The 56-year-old is so far the only German mountaineer who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders. Only on Mount Everest in fall 1992 he used bottled oxygen. Later he tried seven times to climb the highest mountain in the world without breathing mask, seven times he failed to reach the summit – most recently in spring 2017 at 8,580 meters on the Tibetan north side of the mountain.

Ralf, we are now here in Kathmandu, not far from Mount Everest, about 160 kilometers as the crow flies. Is it not itching you a bit?

Not at all, at the moment. I have completed this story for me. Of course, I follow what’s happening on Everest. This is still very exciting. But for myself, I have closed the chapter Everest. 

Date

21. March 2018 | 22:22

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“School up!”: Thulosirubari celebrates new school

Musicians accompany us to the school

This roadblock is not an ordinary one. Five hundred meters in front of the school grounds in Thulosirubari, 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, our journey in a jeep ends. Eight musicians stand in the middle of the dusty piste through the village. When Ralf Dujmovits – the first and so far only German mountaineer who scaled all 14 eight-thousanders – and I get out of the car, they begin to play for us on their traditional instruments. Behind the music playing village band  we ascend the last meters to the school.

Arrival

There a big event has been organized for us. Several hundred students, parents, teachers, local notables and other residents of Thulosirubari are awaiting us for the ceremonial inauguration and handing over of the first two parts of the building to the local school committee – made possible by your donations to our aid project “School up!”. The old school had been so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015 that it had had to be demolished. At the end of June 2015, I had launched together with Ralf Dujmovits and the Austrian climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner “School up!” to rebuild the Thulosirubari school as soon as possible.

Date

17. March 2018 | 9:30

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Two weeks on a quasi-7000er

Ralf Dujmovits (l.) and Nancy Hansen in the still empty DLR living area

This seven-thousander has neither a summit, nor does it offer impressive views. It covers an area of ​​only around 110 square meters – and is located on the grounds of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne. A hypoxia chamber within DLR’s medical research lab “:envihab” – the name stands for environment and habitat – will be comfortably furnished in the coming months.

Four weeks in the chamber

In mid-May, Ralf Dujmovits, the only German mountaineer who has climbed all 14 eight-thousanders, and his partner, the Canadian climber Nancy Hansen, will move in there for four weeks. They are taking part in a highly interesting hypoxia study conducted by DLR in cooperation with the University of Texas. The assumption: Although extreme oxygen deficiency threatens life, there could also be a positive effect on the body.

Date

23. January 2018 | 16:02

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“School up!”: First buildings almost completed

New school buildings in Thulosirubari (picture from today)

The finishing line of the first stage of our aid project “School up!” is in sight: The first two buildings of the new school in the Nepalese mountain village of Thulosirubari will most probably be ready for occupation before the beginning of winter. The doors are fitted these days,  Shyam Pandit, liaison man of the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” in the Himalayan state, writes to me. The windows are already installed. Subsequently, only the painting is missing. By the end of the month, says Shyam, the contractor wants to hand over the two first building units. Then the construction work will go on.

Date

2. December 2017 | 22:33

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Three weddings and exhaustion

Departure in morning fog

I will sleep well, no matter how loud it is. “I have to warn you,” said the hotel staff at the front desk. “We have three wedding parties today, and music might be played until 6 a.m.” The hotel in the village of Altrip, located on the so-called “Blue Lagoon” about 15 kilometers from the gates of Ludwigshafen, specializes in the align of weddings. On the other hand, it also offers a special discount for bike tourists. Exemplary! And so I stood around 6 p.m. in my bike pants in the hotel lobby, a few meters away from me one of the three brides – and many guests who were dressed up. “Don’t worry,” I answered to the receptionist. “I’m all run down, I’ll sleep like a stone.”

Date

16. September 2017 | 23:00

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Together, cycling is easier

Not so alone as it looks like

It was the day of encounters. At first I cycled – for a change, in sunshine – along with a Swiss from the town of Zug, in his mid-60s, tanned, on a mountain bike that had already seen better days. “I’ve stopped working after 45 years,” the cyclist told me. “And now I am fulfilling my life dream. I always wanted to make a long bike trip.” I asked him how much time he took for the ride along the Rhine. “I’ll see how far I get until winter,” he said, grinning. In the further conversation it turned out that he was also a passionate mountaineer. He had climbed all four-thousanders of his home country, said the Swiss: “Actually, I had always dreamed of climbing Mount Everest one day. But tourism on this mountain has nothing to do with the way of climbing that I like.”

Date

16. September 2017 | 0:19

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On the short rope?

Ballinger on the summit of Mount Everest

It is undisputed that Adrian Ballinger reached the summit of Mount Everest without bottled  oxygen last Saturday. But a debate rose about how he did it. The trigger was my article about a conversation with Ralf Dujmovits on Monday, two days after his failed attempt without breathing mask on the north side of Everest at an altitude of 8,580 meters. During the satellite phone call, the 55-year-old German climber had accused Ballinger that the American had reported about his ascent in real time via the social networks, but had not mentioned some facts. On the descent, for example, Adrian had been led by an Ecuadorian mountain guide on the short rope, said Ralf. Ballinger’s team responded promptly.

Date

31. May 2017 | 21:46

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Ralf Dujmovits: “For me, that’s lying”

Ralf Dujmovits above Everest North Col

Tired and disappointed. That’s not only the way Ralf Dujmovits feels, he also sounds like this. The 55-year-old climber from Germany talks quietly and slowly, when he tells me via satellite phone about his failed summit attempt on Everest without bottled oxygen. On Saturday, Ralf had turned around at an altitude of 8,580 meters, just before the Second Step, the most striking rock step on the Northeast Ridge: “That was bitter.”

Date

29. May 2017 | 16:38

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Mixed balance

Northern route on Everest

Mount Everest has shown his teeth again on the past weekend – just on the day when eight climbers were on their summit push without bottled oxygen. Contrary to expectations, on Saturday wind gusts and snowfall in the summit area made the ascent difficult. The result: two summit successes without breathing mask on the north side, one on the south side. Two climbers, who used supplemental oxygen at all and reached the highest point at 8,850 meters. And three summit aspirants, who turned back because of concerns for their health.

Date

29. May 2017 | 13:47

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Dujmovits turns back on Everest at 8,500 m

Ralf Dujmovits

What a pity! Ralf Dujmovits has not been able to fulfill his dream of reaching the summit of Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. The 55-year-old turned back at an altitude of 8,500 meters. From Camp 3 at 8,300 meters, he telephoned his life partner, the Canadian climber Nancy Hansen. “He had to turn back at 8,500 m because a storm blew in: 40 kph winds with snow. He was losing feeling in his hands and feet,” Nancy wrote on Facebook. “As you can imagine, he is extremely disappointed. The weather just didn’t allow for a summit.” Ralf’s wise decision demands respect and shows that he was still in control of himself.

Date

27. May 2017 | 12:29

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Next station: Everest summit

Summit of Everest seen from the north side

Ralf Dujmovits is close to his big goal. In his eighth attempt, the 55-year-old finally wants to scale Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. Ralf is only about eight hours of ascent away from the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters – if everything goes well. Today Dujmovits, according to his life partner Nancy Hansen, reached Camp 3 on the Tibetan normal route at 8,300 meters, from where he called her by satellite phone. There had been a thunderstorm for the last hour, Ralf told the Canadian. It had taken him five hours to climb the 600 vertical meters from Camp 2. “He feels a little tired, but he sounds very alert and normal,” Nancy wrote on Facebook. “He will drink a lot now, rest a few hours, and leave for the summit at 1am Nepali time (1.15 pm Friday in Canada, 9.15 pm Friday in Germany).”

Date

26. May 2017 | 17:31

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Everest without O 2: Right on schedule

Ralf Dujmovits above Everest North Col

So far, the summit attempts of the climbers, who are currently tackling Mount Everest without bottled oxygen, are on schedule (with one exception, see below). According to his life partner Nancy Hansen, Ralf Dujmovits today reached Camp 2 on the Tibetan north side of the highest mountain on earth: “Ralf just called me from 7,700 m, where he will sleep for the night,” the Canadian climber wrote on Facebook. “It is stormy now, but the winds should come down. Tomorrow he will move up to 8,300 m. He feels good!” The 55-year-old has already – as the only German climber so far – scaled all 14 eight-thousanders. Only on Everest in 1992 he had used a breathing mask. The current attempt without bottled oxygen is his eighth and in his own words the “definitely last one” on Everest.

Date

25. May 2017 | 14:32

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Without O2: The Everest summit pushs of Dujmovits and Co. are on

Ralf Dujmovits, in the background Mount Everest

If everything works, there could be a “topless” party on the summit of Mount Everest next Saturday. Some climbers who want to scale the highest mountain on earth without breathing mask have started their summit attempts. Among those who set off from the Advanced Base Camp on the Tibetan north side was Ralf Dujmovits. The 55-year-old, so far the only German who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders, wants to succeed in his eighth attempt climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen. In his successful attempt in fall 1992, Ralf had used a breathing mask above the South Col, due to bad weather. All other eight-thousanders he had climbed without bottled oxygen. His plan now: today North Col (7,050 m), tomorrow Camp 2 (7,700 m), on Friday Camp 3 (8,300 m) and on Saturday “hopefully towards the summit” (8,850 m), as Ralf writes to me: “I am confident, I feel good and I think that the extremely warm temperatures (probably minus 20 degrees Celsius) might help me.”

Date

24. May 2017 | 12:43

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Jornet and Holzer on Everest, Revol on the Lhotse

Mount Everest

The summit of Mount Everest was probably quite crowded today. From the north side, maybe 60 climbers tried to reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters, Ralf Dujmovits wrote on Instagram. The number of summit aspirants on the Nepali south side might have been much higher. Dujmovits, the so far only German who has climbed all 14 eight-thousanders, wants to reach the summit of Everest without bottled oxygen. The 55-year-old plans to wait for the current run being over and only then start his own attempt: “At my age climbing without supplemental oxygen one needs to climb at a very steady pace – can’t speed up for overtaking (loosing too much body warmth) or can’t wait at typical cueing points (loosing body warmth by just waiting).”

Date

22. May 2017 | 13:38

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Dujmovits on Everest: “I’m confident”

Ralf Dujmovits above Everest North Col

Everybody is writing about how crowded Mount Everest is. “The mountain is almost completely deserted,” Ralf Dujmovits tells me today via satellite phone. The only German who has so far climbed all 14 eight-thousanders has just returned from his second acclimatization climb on the Tibetan north side of Everest. He spent a night in Camp 2 at 7,700 meters, then he descended, as scheduled, to the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 6,300 meters.

Date

9. May 2017 | 19:34

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