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.
Date31. May 2017 | 21:46
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Cory Richards, Esteban Mena, Mount Everest, On the short rope, Ralf Dujmovits, Without bottled oxygen
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.”
Date29. May 2017 | 16:38
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.
Date29. May 2017 | 13:47
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Cory Richards, Elisabeth Revol, Ferran Latorre, Hans Wenzl, Kilian Jornet, Mount Everest, Nobukazu Kuriki, Ralf Dujmovits, Yannick Graziani
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.
Date27. May 2017 | 12:29
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Cory Richards, Dawa Sangay Sherpa, Elisabeth Revol, Ferran Latorre, Hans Wenzl, Mount Everest, Ralf Dujmovits, Yannick Graziani
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).”
Date26. May 2017 | 17:31
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Cory Richards, David Klein, Dawa Sangay Sherpa, Elisabeth Revol, Ferran Latorre, Hans Wenzl, Mount Everest, Ralf Dujmovits, Yannick Graziani
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.
Date25. May 2017 | 14:32
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Cory Richards, Dead, Elisabeth Revol, Ferran Latorre, Mount Everest, Nobukazu Kuriki, Ralf Dujmovits, Yannick Graziani
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.”
Date24. May 2017 | 12:43
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Cory Richards, Elisabeth Revol, Ferran Latorre, Kilian Jornet, Mount Everest, Nobukazu Kuriki, Ralf Dujmovits, Yannick Graziani
“I believe he was a totally happy person when it happened,” said Robert Boesch, the Swiss photographer and mountaineer, at the commemoration for his friend Ueli Steck, who had fallen to death from an altitude of about 7,600 meters on Nuptse on 30 April. Every SMS Ueli had sent from Everest Base Camp before had conveyed the message: Everything is perfect, motivation as well as fitness. Boesch believes that it was a spontaneous decision of the 40-year-old not to ascend to Everest South Col, as originally planned, but to climb Nuptse. “The conditions must have been good, otherwise he would not have been so early so far up,” said Robert. Surely Steck had climbed “in a flow”. Why he fell, could not be clarified: “That doesn’t matter, that’s just climbing. He did not have the quantum of luck he would have needed.”
Date24. May 2017 | 0:25
TagsArnot-Reid, Binsack, Commemoration, Interlaken, Jonathan Griffith, Nuptse, Robert Boesch, Schaeli, Siegrist, Ueli Buehler, Ueli Steck
Only a few meters have been missing to the top, but they’ve climbed through the wall. David Goettler and Hervé Barmasse entered the Shishapangma South Face on Sunday morning and climbed in 13 hours to a point just below the 8,027-meter-high summit. “We found a last traverse of about ten meters and then five meters up to the summit too delicate due to the avalanche danger,” David writes to me after returning to the Base Camp. Originally, the 38-year-old German and his one year older climbing partner from Italy had planned to open a new route through the South Face. Like in spring 2016, when David had tried the same with the Swiss Ueli Steck, the weather conditions impeded the project.
Date23. May 2017 | 8:40
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).”
Date22. May 2017 | 13:38
TagsAndy Holzer, Dead, Elisabeth Revol, Janusz Adamski, Kilian Jornet, Lhotse, Mount Everest, Rafal Fronia, Ralf Dujmovits
That’s not on!
In the next few days there will surely be a lot of success reports on the eight-thousanders. Before we switch to the congratulation mode, unfortunately, we have to bring up some painful objects of commercial climbing. I’m really not a moralizer, but some news from the last few days have raised my concern – especially today’s tweet by Tim Mosedale. “Ronnie & Pemba have arrived at Lhotse high camp to find that some scumbags have nicked the supply of oxygen. Completely unacceptable”, writes the British expedition leader, who summited Mount Everest on Wednesday for the sixth time. And he sent another tweet: “Stealing Os jeopardises lives of other climbers. If it’s an emergency let us know and of course we’ll help. Taking it is utterly disgraceful.” It’s really shocking, absolutely negligent and inexcusable that egoism on the mountain goes so far that even oxygen bottles are stolen. This does not show the attitude of some (hopefully only a few) climbers on the highest mountains on earth in a very favourable light. This also applies to what happened in the failed summit attempt on Kangchenjunga last Tuesday.
Incorrect information in the highest camp
The Australian Chris Jensen Burke reports in her blog, a leader of another group had told them in the last camp below the summit that ropes had been fixed up to 8,100 meters on the previous day. Therefore it would not be necessary to take all ropes available in the camp, he added – and that no Sherpas would have to ascend long before the clients of the commercial expeditions. Half a day later this turned out to be simply wrong. As a result, there was a “conga-line” (Chris) at an altitude of about 8,000 meters: ahead the Sherpas, who still had to secure the route, behind them the summit aspirants of the different teams. Then, in consequence of the incorrect information at the high camp, the ropes ran out. The summit attempt had to be abandoned, all climbers descended.
No trace of appreciation
“Why were we given incorrect information?,” Chris Jensen Burke asks. “I have to believe inexperience played a key part, and there must have been no appreciation by the chap of the consequences.” No trace of teamwork. However, also the comment of a client quoted by Chris make me shake my head: “If a route setter knows climbers are coming up behind them, they should move faster.” These words are short of any respect for the work of the Sherpas. And the question must be allowed: What’s about the self-responsibility of the clients?
Among those who turned back on Kangchenjunga were the three Nepalese Maya Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita and Dawa Yangzum Sherpa. Today they decided to leave the mountain because of the rather bad weather forecasts. “It’s clearly a very disappointing decision, and we would obviously wish that we could return with a summit,” the Sherpani trio wrote on Facebook.
Date20. May 2017 | 20:26
TagsChris Jensen Burke, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Maya Sherpa, Mount Everest, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, Tim Mosedale
The good weather window predicted for the coming weekend has not only led to a huge number of teams starting their summit attempts on Mount Everest. Also on other eight-thousanders climbers have left the base camps. On Makalu, for example, the German Thomas Laemmle, who is climbing solo and without bottled oxygen, has today pitched up his tent already far up, on Makalu La at 7,400 meters. On Dhaulagiri, the 78-year-old Spaniard Carlos Soria and his team-mates are planning to reach the summit on Sunday. On Annapurna, the Pole Adam Bielecki, the Briton Rick Allen and the German Felix Berg have started their summit attempt on Wednesday.
Date19. May 2017 | 16:38
TagsAdam Bielecki, Annapurna Northwest Face, Azim Gheychisaz, Carlos Soria, Dhaulagiri, Felix Berg, Lhotse, Louis Rousseau, Makalu, Rick Allen, Thomas Laemmle, Tilicho Peak
While for many climbers the decisive phase on the highest mountain on earth has begun right now, Dominik Mueller is already packing his bags. As reported before, the German expedition leader reached the 8850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest from the Tibetan north-side on Tuesday, as well as one of his clients. Two other members of his team turned around at 8,550 respectively 8,600 meters. “All are fine, not even a single wound,” says Dominik when I reach the 46-year-old head of the expedition operator Amical alpine via satellite telephone in the Advanced Base Camp at 6,300 meters.
Dominik, first of all congratulations. How was the weather and the conditions on the mountain during your ascent?
Date18. May 2017 | 16:50
Nobukazu Kuriki has changed Everest sides. The 34-year-old Japanese today reported on Facebook from Gorak Shep, the 5207-meter-high last inhabited settlement below Everest on the Nepalese south side. Apparently, Kuriki has managed the necessary formalities with the Nepali authorities. Previously, Nobukazu had pitched his tent on the Tibetan north side: on the Central Rongbuk Glacier below Everest North Face. The reason for his change of location, says Kuriki, was that he had changed his previous plan for the ascent. Originally, the Japanese had wanted to climb the North Face, solo and without bottled oxygen, via the so-called “Supercouloir Route”, a system of gullies that stretches almost through the entire wall.
Date17. May 2017 | 18:57
TagsGorak Shep, Kilian Jornet, Mount Everest, Nepal, Nobukazu Kuriki, North Face, Tibet, West Ridge
There’s been a hail of success reports from Nepal. Especially from Mount Everest. Dozens of climbers reached the summit at 8,850 meters from both the Tibetan north side and the Nepalese south side. Among them was the Romanian Horia Colibasanu, the first mountaineer to have climbed Everest this spring without bottled oxygen. “It was very, very hard and very, very cold,” the 40-year-old informed on Facebook. For Colibasanu it was the eighth eight-thousander. He ascended from the north, as did the German expedition leader Dominik Mueller. The 46-year-old head of the operator Amical alpin reached the summit along with a client, both of them used bottle oxygen.
Date16. May 2017 | 14:08
TagsAmical Alpin, Dhaulagiri, Dominik Mueller, Horia Colibasanu, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Mollie Hughes, Mount Everest, Peter Hamor