Things didn’t go well on the eight-thousanders in Karakorum this summer. “It was just too hot, and the conditions were too dangerous”, the German mountaineer Billi Bierling, who had tried unsuccessfully to climb Broad Peak, wrote to me. This mountain was scaled only twice this season: by the Argentine Mariano Galvan and Andrzej Bargiel from Poland, both climbed solo. Bargiel also succeeded in skiing down to the Base Camp. A Pakistani high altitude porter died in an avalanche.
All K 2 expeditions returned home without summit success. 13 climbers reached the highest point of Gasherbrum II. There was a fatality too: The Pole Olek Ostrowski disappeared on G II and was not found. On neighboring Gasherbrum I, so far – two Czechs are still on the mountain – just a team of three was successful, including a German mountaineer, born in my hometown Cologne.
Date17. August 2015 | 16:01
The eternal attraction of Latok I. There is hardly another seven-thousander that has been such a hard nut to crack for top climbers from all over the world for the past decades. The first ascent of the highest of the four Latok summits was made 36 years ago. The Japanese Tsuneo Shigehiro, Sin’e Matsumi and Yu Watanabe succeeded on 19 July 1979. They had climbed up from the south via a buttress to the east East Ridge and from there to the highest point. More famous because notorious are the still unconquered North Ridge – and the also unclimbed North Face. This summer, the “Huberbuam”, the German brothers Alexander and Thomas Huber, will try to master this big wall.
Date24. June 2015 | 10:56
TagsAlexander Huber, Dani Arnold, Huberbuam, Karakoram, Latok I North Face, Mario Walder, Thomas Huber
“That was far below my limit”, says the Slovenian Luka Lindic when I ask him about the first climbing of the North Face of the 6515-meter-high Hagshu in the Indian Himalayas. After all, Luka and his two Slovenian friends Marko Prezelj and Ales Cesen have been awarded for this climb with this year’s Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar for climbers”. “Sometimes you find such a logical line. It’s normal to follow it. We didn’t find any extreme difficult terrain”, Luka remembers. Looking for his personal limits, the 27-year-old climber will travel to the North of Pakistan this summer. In early July, Luka will set off to the Karakoram, together with his compatriots Luka Krajnc, Martin Zumer and Janez Svoljsak. “We will stay on Choktoi glacier for a month. And if the conditions will allow it and if we feel good, we would like to try Latok I.”
Date18. June 2015 | 22:29
“It’s just too exciting”, says Dominik Mueller. The head of the German operator Amical alpin has called off all its expeditions and treks in Pakistan that were originally planned for the summer of 2015. “Due to the uncertain situation in Pakistan and the conflicts that flare up time and again in the areas around Gilgit and Chilas, we have reluctantly decided to take this step”, it says on Amical’s website. “We are worried about the violence of the Taliban, various subgroups and not least of religious factions. Thus we had no option.”
Date23. March 2015 | 15:18
TagsAmical Alpin, Broad Peak, Chilas, Dominik Mueller, Expedition, Gasherbrum II, Gilgit, Pakistan, Safety situation
I felt as if I was close to K 2 but in fact I was quite far off. After the return from our first ascent of the 7129-m-high Kokodak Dome I found out the real distance between the two mountains: 300 km as the crow flies. Not just around the corner. Because of my expedition I (and thus possibly also you as a reader of my blog) missed what was going at the second highest mountain in the world during this summer.
Date4. September 2014 | 16:30
TagsDavid Lama, Expeditionen, Expeditions, Hansjoerg Auer, K 2, Karakorum, Masherbrum, Miguel Angel Perez, Radek Jaroš
The Huber brothers have cancelled their planned expedition to Latok I in Pakistan – “because of the political situation in Pakistan”, Alexander and Thomas Huber write on Facebook. “Of course the dream of this giant wall is still in our mind and we hope next year we will get another chance.” Actually the German climbers and their team comrades Dani Arnold and Mario Walder had their bags packed to start to Pakistan. “But the risk was no more calculable”, says Alexander when I call him. “First the offensive of the Taliban, now the offensive of the Pakistan army in North Waziristan. There will certainly be more terrorist attacks.”
Date25. June 2014 | 13:33
“Time to go home!” Jacek Teler gets to the point. The Polish winter expedition to Nanga Parbat has been unsuccessful too. After the avalanche accident a week ago the last chance for another summit attempt was gone. Spring will start next Thursday. In Skardu the cherry trees are already blooming, Jacek writes in his blog. He has accompanied his team mates Pavel Dunaj and Michal Obrycki to the military hospital in the town where the injuries of the two climbers were treated. Both are doing well, under the circumstances. Pavel has suffered the more serious injuries by the avalanche: four broken ribs, his lung collapsed. However, all in all it could have been worse. Dunaj and Obrycki are still alive.
Date16. March 2014 | 11:43
Avalanche on Nanga Parbat
Dramatic turn on Nanga Parbat: The Polish climbers Pavel Dunaj and Michal Obrycki have been hit by an avalanche when they were about 5000 meters high, just below Camp 1. Both were injured. Explorersweb.com reports that Pavel broke an arm and several ribs. Michal has apparently suffered leg injuries and a broken nose. Tomek Mackiewicz, Jacek Teler and Pakistani helpers succeeded to bring the two injured back to basecamp. They are to be flown out as soon as possible. “Helicopters and pilots are on standby but due to inclement weather conditions the helicopter evacuation has not been possible since yesterday”, informs Muhammad Irfan of the air rescue company “Askari Chartered Services (ACS)” on the Facebook page of the Polish Expedition. “However, we remain standby and as soon as the weather improves the helicopters will be dispatched to evacuate the Polish climbers.” As reported, Dunaj and Obrycki had climbed up to make a new track and to dig out Camp 1. Mackiewicz and Teler wanted to follow on Sunday.
Update 11. March: Pavel and Michal were brought on stretchers to the nearest village Tarashing, from where they should be driven by jeeps to hospital.
Date10. March 2014 | 12:27
If there were an “Oscar” for persistence, the Polish climbers on Nanga Parbat would deserve it. For more than 80 days now Tomasz, called “Tomek” Mackiewicz and his friends are already staying on the eight-thousander in Pakistan, still focussed on their great goal: the first winter ascent of the 8125-meter-high mountain. This weekend, they are climbing up again. On this Saturday Pawel Dunaj and Michal Obrycki should start – “to make a new track and to dig out the camp for Tomek, who will start with Jacek on Sunday,” we read on the Facebook page of the expedition “Justice for all”. So, obviously, Tomek Mackiewicz and Jacek Teler are to form the summit team at the fourth attempt.
Date8. March 2014 | 18:58
David Goettler is not only a fast climber, but also a speed responder. After I had written the report about the failed summit attempt on Nanga Parbat, I sent an email with some questions to the 35-year-old climber in Pakistan. I really didn’t expect a rapid response, because David had just arrived back at base camp and should actually need time to recover. However, an hour later I got the acoustic signal for a new message. His answers are rather brief, writes Goettler, “I’m still half on the mountain ;-).” Read it for yourself!
David, once again it was not to be. What a pity! A lack of your determination was not the reason.
No, I felt fit. But we also knew or noticed that the terrain up there was really challenging. This means that you must have still a lot of strength and concentration for the descent. In combination with only one reserve day concerning the weather we decided that it was too close.
Date1. March 2014 | 22:23
Over and out! Once again, climbers find Nanga Parbat in winter a hard nut to crack. David Goettler and Tomek Mackiewicz have aborted their summit attempt. “Too windy, too cold, too dangerous,” twittered the Italian Emilio Previtali, who was keeping contact with the German and Polish climber by radio. “We went up, we did our best and we pushed hard”, said David. Both climbers descended. Lower on the mountain, Pawel Dunaj and Jacek Teler also decided to turn back. “They are collecting all the gears and ropes. Everyone is fine”, writes Emilio. This sounds like the definite end of both expeditions. Earlier it was said that the third summit attempt would be probably the last for this winter. Already on Friday, the Italian Simone Moro had returned to base camp due to stomach trouble. “Hard to put all my emotions into words after these days”, David Goettler wrote on Facebook, “from being sad that we had to turn around to being happy that I could take a look at the Diamir side, being above 7200 m, being now safe back in BC and being home soon!”
Date1. March 2014 | 15:49
The excitement is increasing. Will there be the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat this weekend or even another failed summit attempt in the long list of unsuccessful winter climbs on this eight-thousander. A new rope team of two climbers has been formed that wants to go up to the highest point at 8125 meters on Saturday. Tomacz called “Tomek” Mackiewicz from Poland and David Goettler from Germany are spending the night in their new Camp 4 at 7000 meters. It was cold with a bit of wind, reported the Italian Emilio Previtali, who is keeping contact with the climbers by radio from basecamp. He is no longer alone there. His compatriot Simone Moro, who has climbed three eight-thousanders firstly in winter, has returned. “He feels okay, but has some stomach trouble,” Emilio writes on Twitter. “Not the right conditions to go up the mountain and be exposed to altitude for days.”
Date28. February 2014 | 18:15
Endurance, strength, good conditions on the mountain, luck with the weather. These are the essential ingredients for a successful summit menu on Nanga Parbat. Everything has to fit together. If only one ingredient is poor or even lacking, you can forget the menu. The third summit attempt of the two expedition teams on the Rupal side of Nanga Parbat is on. Five climbers are trying their luck: the three Poles Tomasz Mackiewicz , Pawel Dunaj and Jacek Teler, the Italian Simone Moro and the German David Goettler. Tomasz is already staying in Camp 3 on about 6700 meters. David has reached the lower Camp 2.5. “The wind is dropping, and he is out the clouds”, reports Emilio Previtali, who is holding contact with David and the other summit aspirants from basecamp by radio. The five climbers want to set up Camp 4 above 7000 meters. From there – if everything fits – they will try to reach the 8125-meter-high summit on Saturday.
Date27. February 2014 | 14:18
TagsDaniele Nardi, David Goettler, Emilio Previtali, Nanga Parbat, Simone Moro, summit push, Tomasz Mackiewicz, winter climb
Do the winter climbers find Nanga Parbat a hard nut to crack? A Polish expedition is on the 8000er in Pakistan for eight weeks now, an Italian-German Team for over six weeks. In the past week the second summit attempts of both teams failed. Simone Moro and David Goettler reached Camp 3, but returned because of the bad weather. I sent some questions to David in basecamp. The 35-year-old climber from the town of Munich replied promptly:
David, the second summit attempt was also unsuccessful, you stopped at 6800 meters. How difficult was it for you to turn back again?
This time it was a little harder. Because the weather was not so bad when we decided to turn around. But we knew that it wouldn’t work, and thus it was definitely the right decision. Also because it was really very cold! When we were still descending, clouds came in and it began to snow. Up on the mountain we would have had problems to orient ourselves. And on the following day the strong wind would have thwarted any summit attempt. All in all we have saved valuable power and avoided frostbite.
Date18. February 2014 | 21:14
For David Goettler, it is the first winter expedition to an eight-thousander. And then actually to Nanga Parbat! The 8125-meter-high mountain and K 2 are the only two remaining 8000ers which are unclimbed in the cold season. The 35-year-old German has teamed up with the Italians Simone Moro and Emilio Previtali. They are trying to reach the summit via the Schell route, starting on the Rupal side of Nanga Parbat. Moro did three first winter ascents of 8000ers (Shishapangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011). I get David at basecamp where the team is recovering after a few days on the mountain.
David, how do you spend your time?
Reading, writing emails, giving interviews. In addition we are enjoying good food three times a day. Days are passing by amazingly fast. In my tent I am also doing some yoga exercises in order not to degenerate completely.
It is your first winter expedition to an eight-thousander. You have been now on Nanga Parbat for three weeks. How does it feel, everything as expected?
Date22. January 2014 | 16:51