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Billi’s fifth 8000er

Billi Bierling on top of Cho Oyu

Billi Bierling on top of Cho Oyu

Done! „Summited Cho Oyu at 1 p.m. today without supplemented O2”, Billi Bierling tweeted. “It was a long and exhausting day. Thanks to all of you for keeping fingers crossed.” For the 49-year old German journalist and mountaineer it was her fifth successful eight-thousander ascent and after Manaslu in 2011 the second without breathing mask. In her first attempt on Cho Oyu eleven years ago she had not been able to climb further than 7,200 meters. “It was my first eight-thousander”, she wrote to me one and a half weeks ago. “At that time I was convinced that I am not strong enough for such high mountains.”

One of two who did it first

The Nepalese side of Cho Oyu

The Nepalese side of Cho Oyu

Later she proved that black is white. In 2009, the assistant to the legendary Himalayan chronicler Elizabeth Hawley scaled Mount Everest, in 2011 with Lhotse and Manaslu even two eight-thousanders in a year and in 2014 Makalu. With Heidi Sand, who reached the summit on the same day, Bierling shares the honor of having been the first German woman on Makalu. Billi is missing only one success to catch up with Alix von Melle, Germany’s most successful female high altitude mountaineer who has climbed six eight-thousanders so far.


Most climbers who frequently go to Nepal know Billi Bierling as assistant and designated successor of the legendary Himalayan chronicler Elizabeth Hawley. Also our paths crossed for the first time in Kathmandu, before an expedition. Since then she has often provided me with first-hand information – always friendly, helpful and competent. Therefore, I am particularly pleased about her successful climb on Cho Oyu. Well deserved, Billi, congratulations!

Many climbers took the opportunity of the good weather window on Friday and Saturday for their summit attempts on the most visited eight-thousanders this fall, Manaslu and Cho Oyu. According to the newspaper “The Himalayan Times” a total of more than 150 climbers have reached the summit of Manaslu alone on these two days.

Two Sherpas died in avalanches



But there is also bad news: Two Sherpas died in avalanches this week. On Tuesday, Mingmar Sherpa (from Taksindu in Solukhumbu) was buried on the 7,126-meter-high Himlung Himal in western Nepal. On Friday, Temba Sherpa (from Taplejung in eastern Nepal) died in an avalanche on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet.

Update 7 p.m.: The American climbers Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington also reached the top of Cho Oyu today and skied down from the summit. Thus they are right on schedule of their “instant” expedition. “And we even get a day to celebrate with friends in ABC tomorrow”, says Adrian. Ballinger and Harrington want to be back at home in the US within 14 days after departure.


1. October 2016 | 17:21