Marietta Uhden is dead
One of the best German female climbers has passed away. Marietta Uhden died of cancer at the age of 46 years during the night from Sunday to Monday. She had fought against the dreadful disease for years. Born in Munich, Marietta did gymnastics during her childhood. She was already 20 years old when she began sport climbing. The successes came quickly. In 1993, Uhden won her first of twelve German championships (ten in lead, two in bouldering). She became bronze medalist (lead) at the World Championships 1997 and, in 2000, the first German female sports climber who won the Boulder World Cup. In 2005, the “Steffi Graf of German sport climbing”, as Marietta was once called, ended her competitive career and turned to rock climbing again. “I love to go climbing out in nature, to get along with a few things and to spend the night in the open”, Uhden then said in an interview. She set standards in rock climbing too: for instance in 2001, when she was the first woman worldwide to open a new route in the eleventh degree of difficulty (US 5.14b): “Sun in the Heart” in the Bavarian Alps. Marietta leaves behind her husband and a nearly five year old daughter. R.I.P.
Date26. November 2014 | 12:38
A little danger is good for business, but not too much. So the decision of the US company Clif Bar can be summarized to stop the sponsoring of the top climbers Alex Honnold, Dean Potter, Steph Davis, Cedar Wright and Timmy O’Neill. “Over a year ago, we started having conversations internally about our concerns with B.A.S.E. jumping, highlining and free-soloing”, Clif bar said. “We concluded that these forms of the sport are pushing boundaries and taking the element of risk to a place where we as a company are no longer willing to go.” In the climbing scene, the decision of the energy bar manufacturer has triggered an intense debate about how much influence sponsors may have.
Date25. November 2014 | 10:40
The ridge between audacity and high spirits is narrow. And it is always a question of perspective. If a climber is to explain a beach goer why he exposes himself to the risk of falling during a mountain tour, he will mostly meet with stunned disapproval. Alix von Melle will probably face those reactions if she will really set off for Tibet next spring to climb Mount Everest. Finally, Alix had to abort a summit attempt on Makalu for health grounds last May.
Date18. November 2014 | 10:54
TagsAlix von Melle, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, Kilimanjaro, Luis Stitzinger, Makalu, Mount Everest
Maybe it will turn out to be not quite as bad as it looked first. A report of the Himalayan Times about the Everest permits has upset many mountaineers worldwide – including myself. The report said that the extension of last spring’s Everest permits by five years would apply strictly to groups not to individual climbers. Means: If even one member of an expedition would scale the mountain, permits of the other group members would be cancelled. After the avalanche accident in the Khumbu Icefall last April that had killed 16 Nepalese climbers and led to the premature end of the spring season, the government had announced that the 318 departed climbers could use their permits even within the next five years.
Date13. November 2014 | 23:37
Survived! On 24 September, Martin Maier was swept down 600 meters by an avalanche on the eight-thousander Shispapangma in Tibet. It was not only his friend Benedikt Boehm who called it a “small miracle”, that the 39-year-old climber from Munich did not die. The avalanche had released not far below the summit. The German ski mountaineer Sebastian Haag and the Italian Andrea Zambaldi were also caught by the avalanche and, in contrast to Maier, buried by the masses of snow. Both climbers died. Boehm and the Swiss Ueli Steck were just able to rescue themselves, when the entire slope began to slip off.
Martin Maier is recovering slowly but surely from the injuries he suffered in the accident. The engineer is not a professional climber, but has already gained a lot of experience on expeditions, inter alia to the Patagonian ice cap and to some 6000ers in South America. In 2012, he climbed the 8163-meter-high Manaslu in Nepal, the eighth highest mountain in the world. Martin told me his really incredible story of survival on Shishapangma:
Martin, how are you doing now?
I still have to struggle with many aftermaths of the avalanche and the whole tragedy, with my injuries that are yet to cure. And then of course there are always the thoughts with the friends who have died.
Date10. November 2014 | 16:54
TagsAndrea Zambaldi, Avalanche, Benedikt Boehm, Martin Maier, Sebastian Haag, Shishapangma, Tibet, Ueli Steck
A characteristic of our time is that nobody has time – or does not take his time. That affects mountain tourism too. For years, German operators note a decreasing interest in expeditions that take 50 or even 60 days. Simultaneously, more climbers tend to book trips for which they need only 30 leave days. In other words, expeditions to 7000ers are booming, those to 8000ers are ailing. Apparently, the trend “the shorter, the better” also applies to trekking. Experts in Nepal have called to change with the times by offering shorter treks. They said that an increasing number of trekking tourists in Nepal were coming from China and Southeast Asian countries – and those trekkers simply had not time for a three-week trip on the Annapurna circuit or to trek to Everest base camp.
Date6. November 2014 | 0:29