Bottled oxygen on a mountain has always been out of the question for me. On principle. Today I made an exception – for a “virtual mountain”. To be able to visit Ralf Dujmovits, the only German mountaineer who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders, and his partner, the Canadian climber Nancy Hansen, it is mandatory to use a breathing mask. After two weeks in the hypoxia chamber of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne, the two test persons have reached the simulated target altitude of 7,112 meters. The percentage of oxygen in the air, normally 21 percent, was gradually reduced to eight percent by adding nitrogen. “It’s like climbing a mountain. The acclimatization is almost done, now we’re heading for the summit,” says Ralf. “The time on the summit will be of course much longer.”
Date31. May 2018 | 0:23
TagsDLR, Hypoxia, Myocardial infarction, Myocardial regeneration, Nancy Hansen, Ralf Dujmovits, Study
I vow to stop writing about the Hillary Step after this blog post. Because where nothing is, nothing has to be reported. “It is 100 percent that Hillary step is gone,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader of the Nepalese operator “Imagine”, writes to me. On 14 May, the 32-year-old had climbed to a point between the South Summit (at 8,750 meters) and the former Hillary Step (8,790 meters), where he had waited for hours for the return of his summit team and thus had plenty of time, to take a close look at the spot. On the Hillary Step, says Mingma, “no more debate is required further in future”. No matter what the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism is saying. Before this spring’s season, the authority had actually subpoenally obligated all climbers not to make any statement about the Hillary Step to the media.
Date29. May 2018 | 15:14
TagsHillary Step, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Mount Everest, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, Sir Edmund Hillary, Tim Mosedale
The good weather window in the Himalayas is impressively long. Since this spring’s first ascent of Mount Everest on 13 May by the Sherpa team that had fixed the ropes up to the summit on the south side of the mountain, climbers have reached the highest point at 8,850 meters day after day. Several hundred summit successes have since been counted. Today, Tenjing Sherpa also succeeded, without bottled oxygen. The 26-year-old wants to climb directly afterwards the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse, if conditions allow it. According to Iswari Poudel, managing director of the expedition organizer “Himalayan Guides”, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, just like Tenjing, reached the summit without breathing mask today. It was already Lakpa’s third (!) Everest ascent this season, Poudel said.
Date24. May 2018 | 14:02
TagsHoria Colibasanu, Jon Griffith, Kangchendzönga, Lhotse, Mount Everest, Nima Jangmu Sherpa, Peter Hamor, Tenjing Sherpa, Thomas Lämmle, Ueli Steck, Without bottled oxygen
The fast double pack connecting the highest and the fourth highest mountain on earth becomes more and more popular. This spring season, several climbers scaled the 8,516-meter high Lhotse, after they had been on the 8,850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest a day earlier. The new “Seven Summits” record holder Steve Plain from Australia and Brit Jon Gupta started the line on 14/15 May (see the video below). The Nepalese expedition leader Tendi Sherpa and US climber Mat Wood managed the feat on 18/19 May. Finally, on Sunday/Monday, the American Matt Moniz and his Argentinian mentor Willie Benegas followed.
Date22. May 2018 | 14:50
TagsDeath, Jon Gupta, Lhotse, Martin Szwed, Mat Wood, Matt Moniz, Mount Everest, Steve Plain, Tendi Sherpa, Willie Benegas
The Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has been found dead today on Mount Everest. The 35-year-old had reported yesterday from Camp 3 at 7,400 meters via Facebook. It was hard, said Kuriki, assuring he would be careful. This morning, his team informed that Nobukazu was in bad shape and that he was descending. Later, he did not respond to radio calls. His camera crew climbed up and found Kuriki lifeless near Camp 2.
Date21. May 2018 | 18:14
All’s well that ends well. Today, 20-year-old American Matt Moniz and his mentor, 49-year-old Argentine Willie Benegas, reached the 8,850-meter summit of Mount Everest. “0459 Summit! We’re on top of the world,” Matt tweeted. On Wednesday, the two climbers also want to scale neighboring Lhotse (8,516 m) , the fourth highest mountain on earth. As reported, the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism had considered revoking Moniz’ and Benegas’ climbing permits. The reason: They had skied down the Lhotse flank during an acclimatization climb – without having a so-called “ski permit”. However, only a few knew about the existence of such a special permit. After about 150 Climbing Sherpas had campaigned for Matt and Willie in an open letter to the Ministry of Tourism for Matt and Willie, the people in charge gave in talking about a “very innocent mistake”. The way for today’s Everest summit attempt was free.
Date20. May 2018 | 17:51
TagsCarlos Soria, Dawa Steven Sherpa, Death, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Matt Moniz, Maya Sherpa, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Mount Everest, Nima Jangmu Sherpa, Willie Benegas
Persistence pays off. The German high altitude climber Thomas Lämmle reached, as he wrote on Facebook yesterday, on last Sunday the 8,485 meter high summit of Makalu, the fifth highest mountain on earth. The 52-year-old from the city of Waldburg in Baden-Württemberg climbed without bottled oxygen and Sherpa support. Last year, Thomas had returned empty-handed from Makalu after four summit attempts, all of which had failed due to bad weather. Now, according to his own words, he also wants to tackle Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world, “before the snowfall – means May 21st”. Makalu was Lämmle’s sixth eight-thousander after Cho Oyu (in 2003), Gasherbrum II (in 2005 and 2013), Manaslu (in 2008), Shishapangma (in 2013) and Mount Everest (in 2016).
Date18. May 2018 | 11:53
TagsCarlos Soria, Chris Jensen Burke, Fatalities, Herbert Hellmuth, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Maya Sherpa, Mount Everest, Pemba Gelje Sherpa, Thomas Lämmle
The doors have closed behind Ralf Dujmovits and Nancy Hansen. The so far only German climber who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders and his Canadian partner moved in a 110-square-meter hypoxia chamber of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne on Tuesday. As reported, the two mountaineers are participating in a study conducted by DLR in cooperation with the University of Texas to investigate whether extreme hypoxia can also have a positive side effect for human beings. US researchers from Texas found in two experiments with mice that heart muscle cells devided when the animals were exposed for two weeks to oxygen deficiency corresponding to conditions at 7,000 m. In mice which had previously been triggered myocardial infarctions, cardiac function improved after two weeks of hypoxia.
Medical control around the clock
Ralf and Nancy, both healthy, are the subjects of the pilot study. They are to stay in the hypoxia chamber for about a month. In the first few weeks, acclimatization as on a Himalayan expedition is simulated. The oxygen percentage in the air will be gradually lowered and temporarily increased only twice in between – as if the two climbers would descend again to breathe thicker air. The last two weeks, the 56-year-old German and the 49-year-old Canadian are to spend in a simulated height of 7,000 meters. The experiment can be stopped at any time in case serious problems arise. A DLR research team monitors Dujmovits’ and Hansen’s state of health around the clock. The daily schedule includes heart and lung function checks, blood and urine tests, fitness checks and so-called “cognition tests”, which check the reaction and perception of the subjects.
Yesterday, I visited the two climbers in their new “home”. That was possible on Wednesday for the last time without breathing mask. After more than half hour in a simulated altitude of about 3,700 meters, I felt a little bit dizzy. I preferred to do the interview with Ralf subsequently in thick air, by phone.
Ralf, you can not get out, there is no daylight, and the oxygen is lowered. That does not sound like a holiday apartment.
Date17. May 2018 | 15:49
TagsDLR, Hypoxia, Jens Tank, Myocardial infarction, Myocardial regeneration, Nancy Hansen, Ralf Dujmovits, Study, Ulrich Limper, University of Texas
The authors of the Guinness Book of Records must put pen to paper. The information about the climbers with the highest number of Everest ascents has to be updated – both for women and for men. According to her brother Mingma Gelu Sherpa, Lhakpa Sherpa today reached the summit at 8,850 meters from the Tibetan north side. For the 44-year-old it was the ninth ascent of the highest of all mountains. Lhakpa, who lives in the USA with her two daughters at the age of eleven and 16, has already held this record. By the way, on her first ascent in 2000, Lhakpa Sherpa was the first Nepalese female climber who did not only summit Everest but also returned safe and sound to base camp. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first woman from Nepal on top of Everest, had died in 1993 on the descent.
Date16. May 2018 | 19:15
TagsAdrian Ballinger, Alpenglow Expeditions, Apa Sherpa, Kami Rita Sherpa, Lhakpa Sherpa, Phurba Tashi, Records, Women Everest Expedition 2018
Now, also from the Tibetan north side, the first climbers out of commercial teams have scaled Mount Everest. Swiss expedition leader Kari Kobler reported that three of his clients reached the highest point at 8,850 meters today. On Monday, the team responsible for fixing the ropes via the Northeast Ridge to the summit, had finished their work. This had already happened a day earlier on the Nepalese south side. On Monday about 50 mountaineers had climbed to the highest point on the southern route. Among them was the Australian Steve Plain. The 36-year-old set a new time record for climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountains of all continents.
Date15. May 2018 | 15:52
In the fifth attempt, Xia Boyu made it. As Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition”, wrote on Facebook, the 69-year-old Chinese was among 14 members of his team, who today reached the summit of Mount Everest at 8,850 meters. Among the summiteers was also Nima Jangmu Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to scale Everest and neighboring Lhotse in one season. She had also been part of the Mingma-led team that had succeeded the first eight-thousander summit success of the spring season on 29 April on Lhotse.
Date14. May 2018 | 13:14
TagsAnish Luidel, Cho Oyu, Climbalaya, Felix Berg, Imagine, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Mount Everest, Nima Jangmu Sherpa, Summit Climb, Xia Boyu
Mount Everest was scaled for the first time in this spring season. Today, eight climbers from Nepal reached the highest point at 8,850 meters after climbing up on the south side of the mountain. Pasang Tenjing Sherpa, Pasdawa Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Jen Jen Lama, Siddi Bahadur Tamang, Pemba Chhiri Sherpa, Tenzing Gyaljen Sherpa and Datuk Bhote fixed ropes up to the summit, paving the way for the clients of the commercial expedition teams.
Date13. May 2018 | 17:11
TagsAnnapurna, Boyan Petrov, Kim Hong Bin, Mount Everest, rescue operation, Shishapangma, Summit success
Nobody puts it bluntly. But to be honest, the hope of finding the most successful Bulgarian high altitude climber Boyan Petrov alive on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet is beginning to fade. On 3 May, nine days ago, the 45-year-old was last seen by telescope from the base camp. Since then, there has been no trace of Boyan. Bad weather had delayed the rescue operation for days. On Saturday, two helicopters of the Nepali company Simrik Air, specialized in rescue operations, started to search for Petrov. Without success. What the crew members found, photographed and filmed as “suspicious objects” near Camp 3 at an altitude of about 7,300 meters, turned out to be stones and rocks when the material was subsequently viewed. The helicopter teams had to return to the Nepalese capital because the fuel ran out. “We are standby at Kathmandu for the same mission,” Simrik Air said. Also the rescue team on the slopes on the mountain, three Sherpas and three Chinese climbers, have not yet found Petrov. The rescuers were spending the night in Camp 2. On Sunday, the search is to be continued.
Date12. May 2018 | 21:17
This coming weekend, the first summit successes of the spring season on Mount Everest are expected. So Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the operator “Imagine”, who is known as an early starter, is aiming for Sunday as summit day with his five Chinese clients. The group wanted to climb to Camp 3 at 7,200 meters today. Exactly 40 years ago, the first German climber stood on the 8,850 meter-high summit of Mount Everest. “Oswald and I overcome the last steps arm in arm. We are on the top. We fling our arms around our necks. It’s twelve noon. Our wishes have come true, just below the sky,” Reinhard Karl later wrote about the moment on 11 May 1978, when he reached the highest point together with the Austrian Oswald Oelz. The two belonged to an Austrian expedition led by Wolfgang Nairz. Three days earlier Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler had succeeded their historic first ascent without bottled oxygen. Karl and Oelz used breathing masks.
Date11. May 2018 | 11:01
There is still no trace of Boyan Petrov. As reported, the most successful Bulgarian high altitude climber has been missing for days on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet. The Bulgarian government has joined the rescue operation. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said they were in constant communication with the authorities in Nepal and China, as well as with Petrov’s family. According to Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, a helicopter suitable for flights in high altitude is now available to search for the 45-year-old. Directly on the slopes of the mountain, a rescue team of three Chinese climbers and three Sherpas is in action. Despite bad weather, the rescuers had climbed to Camp 2 at 6,900 meters, it said.
Date9. May 2018 | 16:02