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Everest autumn climbers this time in spring

Kuriki (2nd from l.) in Everest Base Camp

Actually, both wanted to return to the highest mountain on earth next fall. But the Chinese put a spoke in their wheels. The authorities in Tibet will not issue any permits for Mount Everest in fall 2017. For this reason, the Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki as well as the Spaniard Kilian Jornet join the crowd of those who want to climb Everest from the Tibetan north side this spring. The 35-year-old Kuriki has already arrived in Chinese Base Camp at 5,200 meters. Kuriki has announced that he wants to climb up to 7,500 meters on the normal route. Subsequently, he wants to try again to climb through the North Face, solo and without bottled oxygen.

Date

20. April 2017 | 20:55

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Annapurna Northwest Face instead of Cho Oyu North Face

Annapurna Northwest Face

Time for plan B. Since China has not issued visa for Tibet this spring for climbers who have been staying in Pakistan for more than a month at a time during the past three years, the Canadian Louis Rousseau, the Briton Rick Allen, the Pole Adam Bielecki and the German Felix Berg had to re-plan. The team was surprised by the new Chinese regulation in Kathmandu. In 2015/16 Bielecki had tried unsuccessfully a winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, Felix Berg had climbed Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram in summer 2016. So the previous plan to open a new route through the North Face of Cho Oyu, located in Tibet, became impossible. The quartet was looking for an alternative destination in Nepal and found it.

Date

14. April 2017 | 18:40

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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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China reacts allergically to Pakistan visas

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

Nasty surprise for some climbers heading for destinations in Tibet this spring: I have been confirmed by several sides that China currently does not allow tourists to enter Tibet in case that there is a visa for Pakistan issued in the past three years in their passport. Especially professional climbers, who like to tackle the impressive mountains of the Karakoram in summer, run the risk of not obtaining a visa for Tibet. Some mountaineers are stuck in the Nepali capital Kathmandu, because they have learned too late about this new regulation. So if you want to travel to Cho Oyu, Shishapangma or the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest and do not want to experience a bad surprise, take a look at your passport!

Date

12. April 2017 | 15:13

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In four weeks to the summit of Everest?

North side of Everest

Rapid is not enough, it should be as fast as a flash. This could describe the concept of the Austrian expedition operator Lukas Furtenbach: for eight-thousander aspirants with a big pile of money, but little time budget. After the US operator Alpenglow had halved the duration of an Everest expedition with their “Rapid Ascent Expedition” from about 70 days to 34 days, the 39-year-old Tyrolean wants to go one step further next year. In spring 2018, the “Everest Flash Expedition” of Furtenbach Adventures on the Tibetan north side of the mountain is to last a maximum of four weeks.

Date

11. April 2017 | 23:53

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Shishapangma South Face, take two!

Shishapangma South Face

This wall has enthused him. The second spring in a row, the German professional climber David Goettler will try to open a new route through the South Face of the 8027-meter-high Shishapangma in Tibet. After his failed attempt in 2016 with the Swiss Ueli Steck, the 38-year-old is now on the road with Hervé Barmasse. The 39-year-old Italian is a very experienced climber who has made headlines in recent years, especially with new routes on his home mountain, the Matterhorn. Hervé has also succeeded spectacular first ascents in the Karakoram and in Patagonia. Barmasse has not yet scaled an eight-thousander. I got a hold of Goettler on the phone, just before his departure to the Himalayas, on the way to the airport.

David, you’re just on your way to Nepal. What is your feeling?

Date

5. April 2017 | 16:07

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Ralf Dujmovits: “My definitely last Everest attempt”

Ralf Dujmovits

Never say Never Again! This is not only the title of an old James Bond film but could also stand for Ralf Dujmovits’ personal story on Mount Everest. The first and so far only German, who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders, had climbed the highest mountain on earth on his very first attempt in fall 1992. Due to bad weather, however, he had used bottled oxygen above the South Col. “I was very young at the time. It was a mistake,” says Ralf today.

After all, he climbed the other 13 eight-thousanders without breathing mask. And so he later tried to wipe out this Everest mistake again and again. In vain. In 1996, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015 he returned without summit success, for various reasons. This spring, the 55-year-old wants to give it a try again. For the eighth time, he will travel to Mount Everest, the fifth time to the Tibetan north side of the mountain. He will acclimatize in Nepal with an ascent of the 6,501-meter-high Cholatse in the Khumbu area, along with his Canadian partner Nancy Hansen. Ralf has now arrived in Kathmandu. I spoke with him shortly before he left to Nepal.

Ralf, I think, it’s allowed to say, that you and Everest have a relationship.

Date

28. March 2017 | 16:59

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Dominik Mueller: “There will be more climbers on Everest”

North side of Everest in the last daylight

It could be a record season on Mount Everest. After the successful 2016 season, experts are expecting a run on the highest mountain on earth – especially since many climbers want to use their extended permits from 2014 (valid until 2019) and from 2015 (which will run out this year). In 2014, the season in Nepal had been finished prematurely after an avalanche accident in the Khumbu Icefall with 16 deaths. In 2015, there had been no ascents on both sides of the mountain due to the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

Dominik Mueller, head of the German expedition operator Amical alpin, will set off to Everest with a “small but strong team” on 8 April. Three clients, four Climbing Sherpas and he himself will try to reach the 8,850-meter-high summit via the normal route on the Tibetan north side. “I will use bottled oxygen because I believe that I can only support other people as best as possible when using a breathing mask,” says the 46-year-old. “Anyone who climbs Everest without supplemental oxygen is so preoccupied with himself that he probably has no resources left to look after others.” I talked to him about the upcoming season.

Dominik, with what expectations do you set off to the Himalayas?

Date

18. March 2017 | 15:44

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Andy Holzer: “Our chance on Everest is alive”

Andy Holzer on the Rongbuk Glacier near Everest (in 2015)

Andy Holzer has climbed already six of the “Seven Summits”, the highest mountains of all continents. Only the very highest is still missing in the collection of the blind mountaineer from Austria. This spring, the 50-year-old from the town of Lienz in East Tyrol wants to tackle Mount Everest for the third time. During his first go in 2014, the season had been finished prematurely after an avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall had killed 16 Nepalese climbers. In spring 2015, the devastating earthquake in Nepal, with nearly 9,000 deaths, had resulted in no Everest ascents from the south and the north. Like two years ago, Holzer plans to climb Everest via the Tibetan north side. He will be accompanied by his (seeing) East Tyrolean friends Wolfgang Klocker and Klemens Bichler.

Andy, again you are going to Mount Everest – after two attempts in 2014 and 2015, when, for different reasons, you actually were not been given the opportunity to tackle the highest of all mountains. Third time is a charm?

Date

3. March 2017 | 9:09

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China fuels the price spiral – and invests

Tibetan North side of Mount Everest

Tibetan North side of Mount Everest

Climbing on an eight-thousander in Tibet is getting more expensive, not only on Mount Everest. According to documents available to me, the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) has significantly increased the prices for the climbing permits on Everest, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, on average by more than 30 percent. Since the beginning of the year, the CMA claims 9,950 US dollars per mountaineer for the climb of the highest mountain on earth in case of four or more team members. So far the Everest Permit cost about 7,000 dollars per head. 7,400 dollars are now due for Cho Oyu, 7,150 dollar for climbing Shishapangma from the north side and 7,650 dollars for an ascent from the south side of the mountain. For smaller teams of up to three, the permit costs are even in a five-digit range: 19,500 dollars per person on Everest, 12,600 dollars each on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

Date

13. January 2017 | 14:51

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Will Kuriki return next time in winter?

Kuriki at 6,800 m in the Everest North Face

Kuriki at 6,800 m in the Everest North Face

See you! After the Spaniard Kilian Jornet had already left Mount Everest in mid-September, the Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki also broke down the tents on the Tibetan north side of the highest mountain on earth. Simply too much snow, the 34-year-old said. In his summit attempt two weeks ago he had sunk into the snow up to the hip.  As reported, Kuriki had ascended to an altitude of 7,400 meters, solo and without bottled oxygen, until he had been forced back by the masses of snow.

Date

20. October 2016 | 16:19

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Fowler/Ramsden: This time separately successful

Piolet d'Or winners Mick Fowler (r.) and Paul Ramsden

Piolet d’Or winners Mick Fowler (r.) and Paul Ramsden

The tireless have done it again. The British Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden once again set climbing highlights, but, for a change, they were separately under way, with other team partners. Fowler, meanwhile 60 years (!) old, succeeded, along with his countryman Victor Saunders, the first ascent of the North Buttress of the 6100-meter-high Sersank in the North-Indian part of the Himalayas. Paul Ramsden and Nick Bullock climbed the North Face of the 7046-meter-high Nyainqentangla South East in Tibet for the first time. Last April, Fowler and Ramsden had won the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of the climbers”, for their first ascent of the 6571-meter-high Gave Ding, a remote mountain in northwestern Nepal. It was already the third “Golden Ice Axe” for the successful British team of two.

Date

12. October 2016 | 15:47

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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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Billi Bierling: “More strenuous as expected”

Billi Bierling (l.) and Susanne Mueller Zantop (r.)

Billi Bierling (l.) and Susanne Mueller Zantop (r.)

Anyone who has ever returned from of a summit attempt on a very high mountain – whether successful or not – , knows how German climber Billi Bierling is feeling now. All energy is used up, the adrenaline too – and the exertions of recent days are taking their toll. It takes a while before you revive. Of course, a summit success helps. Not only Billi – as reported – can be pleased about having been on top of Cho Oyu. Her team mate Susanne Mueller Zantop also reached the 8,188-meter-high summit, unlike Billi with bottled oxygen. The 60-year-old thus became the oldest German woman so far who has been on top of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. For Billi Bierling it was already her fifth summit success on an eight-thousander. Despite of her tiredness, the 49-year-old has answered my questions.

Billi, you have climbed Cho Oyu without bottled oxygen. How did you feel on your ascent?

Date

4. October 2016 | 8:54

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Huge ice avalanche in Tibet

After the huge ice avalanche

After the huge ice avalanche

This summer a mega ice avalanche has swept down on the Tibetan plateau. In the Aru Range in northwestern Tibet a whole glacier tongue broke off and tumbled down into the valley. Scientists say it was one of the largest ice avalanches ever recorded. According to the Chinese authorities this natural event, which already occurred on 17 July, killed nine Tibetan herders. More than 350 sheep and 110 yaks were buried under the ice and rock masses. The American space agency NASA now published satellite images which show the dimension: The ice covered an area of ten square kilometers, the lake down in the valley was colored white and the debris piled up 30 meters in some places. The cause of the collapse is still unclear. “Climate change is causing more glacial hazards through mechanisms we do not fully understand,” said the Chinese glaciologist Tian Lide. “There is an urgent need for more monitoring and research efforts, especially in populated areas in high mountains.”

I called the Swiss scientist Samuel Nussbaumer. The 35-year-old glaciologist is working for the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) in Zurich, which is observing and analyzing the fluctuation of glaciers worldwide.

Date

16. September 2016 | 12:54

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