After all. The Spaniard Alex Txikon will tackle K2 in the upcoming winter. The 35-year-old announced this at a press conference in Bilbao today. He will travel to Pakistan on 2 January with his compatriot Felix Criado, with the goal of scaling the second highest mountain on earth for the first time in the cold season. It had already become known that the Pakistani government had granted Txikon a climbing permit for K2. However, the Basque had left it open to this day whether he would actually use the permit.
Date29. November 2018 | 23:20
Sorry, Fazal Ali – that your extraordinary performance on K2 just slipped past me last summer! I reported on the first ski descent from the second highest mountain in the world by the Pole Andrzej Bargiel. I also noticed that Muhammad Ali “Sadpara”, the Pakistani winter first ascender of Nanga Parbat, completed his collection of the five eight-thousanders of his home country on K2 – and that it was a record season on “Chogori”, as you locals call the mountain. But I missed the news that you, Fazal, were the first mountaineer in the world to reach the 8,611-meter-high summit of the “King of the Eight-thousanders” for the third time after 2014 and 2017 without bottled oxygen. All the deeper I now take my hat off!
Date21. November 2018 | 15:54
TagsExpeditions, Fazal Ali, K2, Karakoram, Karakorum Expeditions, Mirza Ali Baig, Pakistan, Sherpas
“My tactic of arriving later in the season didn’t work this time,” Thomas Huber tells me after his return from the Karakoram, adding that it was a “fully mixed” expedition. “It started incredibly well, but unfortunately it didn’t end the same way.” As reported before – the 51-year-old, the older of the two Huber brothers, had left at the beginning of August with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl, 59-year-old German climber Rainer Treppte and French cameraman Yannick Boissenot towards Latok I in order to tackle the 7,145-meter-high mountain via the north side.
Date28. September 2018 | 14:43
TagsAlexander Huber, Choktoi, Fabian Buhl, Karakoram, Latok I, Latok III, North Face, North Ridge, Pakistan, Panmah Kangri, Rainer Treppte, Simon Gietl, Thomas Huber, Yannick Boissenot
It was close, damn close. “We were very, very lucky,” writes Patrick z’Brun to me. The mountain guide was part of a Swiss team that escaped a tragedy by a hair’s breadth on the 7,027-meter-high Spantik in the Karakoram this summer. The day after their arrival, the climbers were just setting up their base camp. “Suddenly someone shouted ‘Rock, rock’,” reports Patrick. A large boulder rushed through a couloir directly towards the base camp. Nearly 200 meters ahead of the camp, the boulder divided into two pieces without them changing direction: “Two kitchen tents and a sleeping tent were sheer shaved off. The two rocks rushed past two climbers by a hair’s breadth.” According to Patrick’s words, an expedition member just managed to save himself by jumping behind a small wall on which the kitchen tent had stood. An eight-second video of the incident documents how lucky the group was:
Date19. September 2018 | 17:25
“To paraphrase Shakespeare: living on without summit or voting for death.” This is how Marek Holecek described the decision that he and his team mate Tomas Petrecek had to make last Sunday at the exit of the mighty Rupal Face, 300 meters below the summit of Nanga Parbat. Gusts of wind of up to 100 kilometers per hour blew over the 8,125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan, the ninth highest in the world. After six days in the wall, the two Czech climbers decided to turn around.
Date5. September 2018 | 12:26
TagsGünther Messner, Karakoram, Marek Holecek, Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, Reinhold Messner, Rupalwand, Tomas Petrecek
No photo, no video, no GPS data. It’s not possible to prove clearly where exactly on the seven-thousander Latok I in the Karakoram the two Russian climbers Alexander Gukov and Sergey Glazunov finished their ascent on 23 July. The GPS tracker didn’t work properly. The mini-camera they had used to document the ascent was carried by Sergey when he fell to his death on 25 July. The body of the 26-year-old could not be recovered. Two days before, the two Russians had reached their highest point in the fog. “By 7 pm, Sergey climbed up a small col between a rock and a snowy serac. I was standing ten meters below him. The snow was almost vertical,” Alexander recalls on “mountain.ru”, where an English translation of his statements was published today.
Date28. August 2018 | 15:47
It is one of this year’s most spectacular successes on the highest mountains in the world: The two Slovenians Ales Cesen (36 years old) and Luka Strazar (29) and the British Tom Livingstone (27) managed the only second ascent of the 7,145-meter-high, extremely difficult Latok I in the Karakoram – the first ascent from the north side at all. Since the legendary first attempt in 1978 by the Americans Jeff and George Henry Lowe, Michael Kennedy and Jim Donini via the North Ridge, who were forced back by a storm about 150 meters below the summit, this task had been a too hard nut to crack for about 30 expeditions. ”The ridge itself remains a challenge for the future,” said Tom Livingstone modestly in an interview with the British Mountaineering Council (BMC).
Date22. August 2018 | 22:47
TagsAles Cesen, Alexander Huber, Fabian Buhl, Karakoram, Latok I, Luka Strazar, North Face, North Ridge, Rainer Treppte, Simon Gietl, Thomas Huber, Tom Livingstone, Yannick Boissenot
Thomas Huber is sitting on packed expedition barrels. “I’m really looking forward to the expedition,” says the 51-year-old. The older of the two Huber brothers is leaving for Pakistan this Saturday. Thomas wants to tackle the northern side of the 7,145-meter-high Latok I – together with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl and climbing old hand Rainer Treppte, aged 59, who comes from Saxony and has been living in the Allgäu region for a long time. “I have already climbed with them,” says Huber about his two climbing partners. Last spring, the trio succeeded in repeating for the first time the difficult “La Strada” route on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites, which the Poles Piotr Edelman and Jan Fialkowski had mastered for the first time in 1988. “We harmonize very well as a team, and we have every chance to tackle such a goal as Latok I,” says Thomas Huber. I also talked to him about the drama on this seven-thousander in the Karakoram that had kept us in suspense for days.
Thomas, yesterday we got the relieving message that the Russian climber Alexander Gukov was rescued from the North Ridge of Latok I. How did you experience this dramatic story?
Date1. August 2018 | 19:57
TagsAlexander Gukov, Karakoram, Latok I, North Face, North Ridge, Pakistan, Rainer Treppte, Rescue, Sergey Glazunov, Simon Gietl, Thomas Huber
Good news from the Karakoram: Alexander Gukov is saved. The 42-year-old Russian climber had been trapped for almost a week on the North Ridge of the seven-thousander Latok I at 6,200 meters, without food or equipment. With finally good visibility, but strong wind, Pakistani helicopter pilots managed to get Alexander off the mountain on a long line. Two helicopters were in action.
Date31. July 2018 | 8:03
TagsAlexander Gukov, Helicopter, Karakoram, Latok I, North Ridge, Pakistani Army, Rescue, Sergey Glazunov
The drama on Latok I continues. Another day has passed on which Alexander Gukov is trapped on the North Ridge of the seven-thousander in the Karakoram without any help. Like throughout the weekend, thick clouds today prevented rescue helicopters from approaching the site at around 6,200 meters, where the 42-year-old Russian climber has been staying since Wednesday last week – without food or equipment. The helicopters took off, but returned without getting close to Gukov. “There will be no further attempts today,” mountain.ru reported. “The weather is getting worse.” It’s like bewitched. “Imagine everything is clear, only the Latok is completely in clouds,” said Viktor Koval from the base camp. “The pilots hardly managed to fly away.”
Date30. July 2018 | 15:20
Alexander Gukov must persevere. This Friday, dense clouds covered the 7,145-meter-high Latok I in the Karakoram in Pakistan. The helicopter of the Pakistan army, with which the 42-year-old Russian mountaineer is to be rescued from the North Ridge, stayed on the ground. As reported yesterday, Gukov is trapped at 6,200 meters without equipment, his rope partner Sergey Glazunov had fallen to his death while abseiling. “Damn! Where do all the avalanches come from? I can’t even boil water,” Alexander wrote to Anna Piunova from mountain.ru by SMS today. Later he sounded a little more optimistic: “I managed to find half a Snicker and also drink some water.” His food supplies have run out after more than two weeks on the mountain.
Date27. July 2018 | 15:29
Fingers crossed for Alexander Gukov! According to Anna Piunova from the website mountain.ru, the 42-year-old Russian climber is trapped at 6,200 meters on the North Ridge of the 7145-meter-high Latok I in the Karakoram. Gukov made an emergency call on Wednesday: “I need help. I need to be evacuated. I’m hanging in the wall without equipment.” His 26-year-old climbing partner Sergey Glazunov fell to his death while abseiling, said Alexander.
Date26. July 2018 | 21:49
TagsAlexander Gukov, David Göttler, George Lowe, Herve Barmasse, Jeff Lowe, Jim Donini, Karakoram, Latok I, Michael Kennedy, North Face, North Ridge, Pakistan, Rainer Treppte, Sergey Glazunov, Simon Gietl, Thomas Huber, Victor Koval
“It was very, very cool and intense,” Hansjörg Auer tells me. After his successful solo project in the Hunza region in northern Pakistan, the Austrian top climber is back in his native Ötztal. As reported before, the 34-year-old had first climbed the approximately 1,000-meter-high West Face of the rarely attempted 7157-meter-high Lupghar Sar West – solo. First Hansjörg climbed from the base camp to a bivouac site at the foot of the wall at about 6,200 meters. From there he left on 7 July at 5 am and climbed up to the summit in six and a half hours. At 8 pm, Auer was back at the base camp.
Hansjörg, you said in advance that you wanted to know what it’s like to be alone in the wall of a very high mountain. How did you experience it?
Date25. July 2018 | 13:42
The Pole Andrzej Bargiel has written K2 history. According to his own words, the 30-year-old succeeded yesterday the first complete ski descent from the second highest mountain in the world. In doing so, he snapped up the “Holy Grail”, which had previously caused the failure of some of the best ski mountaineers in the world – such as Hans Kammerlander from South Tyrol in 2001. After reaching the summit at 8,611 metres on Sunday, Andrzej skied down in one go to the base camp on a combination of several routes, his sponsor from Austria informed: “From the summit, he descended along the shoulder towards the Cesen route (also known as the Basque route), passing below huge seracs, then via the extremely difficult Messner traverse, and via the arête on the Kukuczka-Piotrowski route (which was opened by the two Poles in 1986). Next, he had to face some snow fields full of crevasses. He managed to overcome all the difficulties and achieved his dream, achieving the impossible in the process.”
Date23. July 2018 | 17:18
TagsAndrzej Bargiel, K2, Kojiro Watanabe, Luis Stitzinger, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Ski descent, Skiabfahrt
According to his own words, Luis Stitzinger has reached the 8,080-meter-high summit of Gasherbrum I in the Karakoram yesterday (Wednesday). He was on his descent, the 49-year-old German climber informed via Facebook today. For Luis, it is his eighth eight-thousander success after Cho Oyu (in 2000), Gasherbrum II (in 2006), Nanga Parbat (in 2008), Dhaulagiri (in 2009), Broad Peak (in 2011), Shisha Pangma (in 2013) and Manaslu (in 2017). He climbed all of them without bottled oxygen, six of them together with his wife Alix von Melle.
Date19. July 2018 | 13:20
TagsAmical Alpin, Death, Gasherbrum I, Gipfelerfolg, Karakoram, Luis Stitzinger, Pemba Sherpa, Saser Kangri IV, Summit success, Urdok Kangri II