Dominik Mueller on Everest: “It was perfect”
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?
For us, it was a perfect summit day. Windless and warm, as predicted by my meteorologists. The route was perfectly secured. We had no traffic jam, with us there was only a US team en route, and a small one of Russia. It had snowed in the previous days, particularly in front of the rock steps we could walk well on the fresh snow. This can save up to one and a half hours of time on the summit day. It was so warm on the summit that some Sherpas, who had climbed up from the south side, took topless pictures with Nepal flags.
After Cho Oyu and Manaslu, Mount Everest was your third eight-thousander. How did you experience the summit success?
I could totally enjoy it. I have now completed the “Seven Summits” (the highest mountains of all continents) as a mountain guide, I have guided clients to each of the seven peaks. There are not so many in the world who can make the same claim at present. And then this summit day! Blue sky, very few clouds, warm. It was perfect.
Other expedition leaders had previously valued the weather conditions more problematic. Why did you ascend so early?
Because my meteorologists had predicted a perfect weather window between 15 and 17 May. We actually wanted to go to the summit in the night from the 16th to the 17th. Then they told me: Dominik, set off one day earlier! It will be windless and warm. On the descent, perhaps a small wind peak can come in. But it will be over at noon, and you can continue to descend. And exactly that happened.
What advice do you have for all those who are still waiting for their Everest chance this spring?
Meteorologists expect another weather window for the weekend. Some teams are on their ascent. But just now, I can still see huge snow banners the summit. I can only advise everyone: Keep cool, wait and maybe you should trust your meteorologists! I think you should consult with your weather experts and sometime say, okay that suits me, and then set off. It is typical that there is much debate in the Base Camp. Sometimes things are talked down which are not bad at all.
Date18. May 2017 | 16:50