At 11:56 a.m. all hell broke loose. Exactly a year ago today, a magnitude 7,8 earthquake struck Nepal. About 9,000 people were killed, 23,000 were injured. However, these were only the victims registered by the government, it was probably more. Also on Mount Everest many people died on 25 April 2015. The quake triggered a huge avalanche on the nearby seven-thousander Pumori. It hit Everest Base Camp, 19 people lost their lives. On this anniversary of the disaster, climbers and the staff of the infirmary “Everest ER” gathered at the foot of the highest mountain on earth for a minute of silence – at 11:56 a.m.
Date25. April 2016 | 15:25
TagsAid project: School up!, Anniversary, Earthquake, Jagged Globe, Mount Everest, Nepal, Rachel Tullet, Ralf Dujmovits, Sindhupalchowk, Thulosirubari
Time does not stand still, even in Khumbu. Two things have changed dramatically in the region around Mount Everest between my first visit in 2002 and my second last March. Firstly, the sanitary facilities – on average – have become much more modern and cleaner than 14 years ago. Secondly, the aircraft noise has increased significantly. On a clear day, helicopters are flying – as I felt, steadily – through the valley from Lukla to Namche Bazaar and also further up towards Everest Base Camp.
Date23. April 2016 | 12:17
TagsAlan Arnette, Ang Dorjee Sherpa, Avalanche, Camp 1, Earthquake, Government, Helicopter, Material transport, Mount Everest, Nepal
Actually, he finds it nonsense that mountaineers are awarded. “Basically it’s impossible to compare any climbs, because every climb has a different emotion,” Marko Prezelj told me a year ago during the “Piolet d’Or” celebrations, the “Oscar of the climbers”. “It’s bizarre. It’s like you are making love and making an article out of it. If it’s poetry, maybe it’s okay. But it is a thin line between romantic poetry and pornography.” As in 2015, Marko was again awarded the Golden Ice Axe in 2016. Last weekend, the Slovene received the prize in La Grave in the French Alps, along with his compatriot Urban Novak, the American Hayden Kennedy and the Frenchman Manu Pellissier – for their first ascent of the South Face of the 6176-meter-high Cerro Kishtwar in the Indian Himalayas. Thus Marko is now holding a record that he actually doesn’t want to have.
Date20. April 2016 | 14:39
TagsAntoine Moineville, Diego Simari, Hayden Kennedy, Jerome Sullivan, Lise Billon, Manu Pellissier, Marko Prezelj, Mick Fowler, Mikhail Fomin, Nikita Balabanov, Paul Ramsden, Piolet d'Or 2016, Urban Novak
For once, I must compliment the Chinese. The country’s authorities refused Tyler Armstrong the permit for climbing Mount Everest. As reported, the now 12-year-old American wanted to climb the highest mountain in the world from the Tibetan north side this spring. Tyler and his parents had hoped to get a “special permit” – as already in 2012 for the ascent of Kilimanjaro (5895 m, highest mountain in Africa) and in 2013 for Aconcagua (6962 m, highest peak in South America). But this time the Chinese stood firm. From my point of view, it’s a victory for common sense. Everest is no place for children, no matter how fit they are.
Date13. April 2016 | 16:56
The Everest spring season is gaining momentum. The Base Camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest is filling. According to the government in Kathmandu, 279 climbers from 38 countries have registered for the highest mountain on earth. The Icefall Doctors have meanwhile prepared the route all the way up to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters. The teams who want to climb Everest from the Tibetan north side, have also received now their permits from the Chinese authorities and are heading to Tibet. It’s going to kick off there too. Before the media Everest season begins, I would like to correct some reoccurring errors.
Date13. April 2016 | 12:47
TagsAvalanche, Base Camp, Errors, Expeditions, garbage, Khumbu Icefall, Mount Everest, Nepal, Nepalese Government, Sherpas
20 doctors, nearly twice as many test persons. The Swiss research expedition to the seven-thousander Himlung Himal in fall 2013 had the objective to investigate the effects of high altitude on the human body. More than two years later, the first results are there to see. I have talked about it to Dr. Tobias Merz. The 46-year-old is a senior physician at the Department of Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital in Bern. Since his youth, Merz has been doing sports in the mountains. So it’s no coincidence that he has committed himself to high altitude medicine too. “In intensive care medicin a disease takes organ systems to the limits of the possible, in high-altitude medicine external conditions are responsible for this,” says Merz. Before going on expedition to Himlang Himal, he had already experienced high altitude as a climber in the Andes and the Himalayas. On the eight-thousander Shishapangma, Merz had reached a height of about 7,600 meters. He then had had to give up his own summit ambitions because he had been needed for a rescue. On Himlung Himal, he stood on the highest point.
Dr. Merz, in 2013 you reached the 7,126 meter-high summit of Himlung Himal. Do you feel somewhat queasy in hindsight if you look at your first research findings?
I already knew that high altitude climbing is a high-risk sport and that it takes you to limits of physiology and rationality. For me, the results were more a confirmation of what I had suspected and less a huge surprise.
But you have worked out something worrying for high altitude mountaineers.
Date7. April 2016 | 19:20
TagsDr. Tobias Merz, HACE, high altitude cerebral edema, Himlung Himal, micro-bleeding, Mikroblutungen, Nepal, Research expedition
When I saw the Beetle, I knew I was right. I knew the street, but had no house number, only a rough description of where Miss Hawley is living in Kathmandu. But there it stood in the courtyard: the light blue VW Beetle, built in 1963. “The car is right, of course. Those Beetles are just incredible durable,” says the legendary chronicler of Himalayan mountaineering. For decades, the US-American has driven with the light blue car in front of the hotels in Kathmandu to interview climbers about their expeditions in the Himalayas. However, the 92-year-old is no longer driving her Beetle by herself, she has a driver. “I can’t drive a car with a walker”, says Elizabeth Hawley and grins. Since she broke her hip, she is not quite as mobile as before.
Date5. April 2016 | 9:46
TagsBilli Bierling, Earthquake, Elizabeth Hawley, Himalayan Database, Miss Hawley, Mount Everest, VW Beetle
He is one of the Sherpas who stay well clear of Mount Everest this year. “I simply haven’t got the time,” says Dawa Sherpa Gyaljen, when I meet him in a cafe in Kathmandu during my visit Nepal. The 29-year-old is working for a trekking operator. “Maybe I’ll get the chance in 2017 again. I have been asked if I would lead an Everest team next year. Let’s see whether I can take as much vacation.” The Sherpa, who was born in the Khumbu region in a small village west of Namche Bazaar, has reached the highest point on earth already four times: in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The upcoming spring season could set the course for the future, Dawa believes.
Date2. April 2016 | 8:00
TagsDawa Gyaljen Sherpa, Earthquake, Khumbu Icefall, Lawinenunglück, Mount Everest, Nepal, Sherpas, Spring season