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with Stefan Nestler

End of an Everest dream

Advanced Base Camp on Everest

Advanced Base Camp on Everest

Failure is hard, even for a climber who is up to every trick in the mountains. „I’m not satisfied“, Ralf Dujmovits admits. On Monday he arrived safely back in Advanced Base Camp ABC) at 6400 meters. But what happened to him on Saturday in Camp 3 will probably captivate him for a long time. „I really felt fine all the way up to 8300 meters. But then within half an hour everything changed“, Ralf told me on Monday. The uneven ground, the white frost on the inside of the single-walled tent which melted, dripped down and made everything wet, including his lighter. „It just threw me off course that I could no longer melt snow.“

I ask the 52-year-old whether everything would have been different if he had chosen another tent for Camp 3. „It’s possible. But I chose the lightweight tent because I wanted to reduce the weight as much as possible“, Ralf answers. „If you can carry more, you surely take a different tent.“ And if he had found a better place for his tent? „Then perhaps it would have been different.“ If and would and when, pure speculation. „I ‘m not the kind of man who blames everything on the external circumstances. I am also self-critical“, says Dujmovits. „It was just the way it was.“

All attempts without oxygen mask failed

Perhaps it is a comforting thought for Ralf that this spring all attempts without bottled oxygen have failed. Not only Dujmovits but the Hungarian David Klein, the Romanian Horia Colibaseanu and the Slovak Peter Hamor return home without success summit, the German couple Helga Soell and Juergen Greher too. Juergen turned around at 7900 meters due to respiratory problems. Helga started with her Sherpa Pemba to the summit on Sunday but stopped at 8500 meters, because the wind was too strong. „The wind speed up there was 40 or 50 kilometers per hour on Sunday“, says Ralf. „Taking this into account I probably would have had no real chance to reach the summit without bottled oxygen at all.“ But it peeves him that he could not even try it.

Successful rescue operation

Ralf had stayed yet another night on the North Col and witnessed a rescue. A female Polish climber was completely exhausted and in trouble. „Eight Chinese mountaineers brought her down, over difficult terrain. That was really a great performance at this high altitude.“ The woman is obviously feeling better now.

It began to snow again on Sunday night. „During the night at the North Col we had 40 centimeters fresh snow and here in ABC 30 centimeters“, said Ralf on Monday. He wanted to stay there this Tuesday before starting to trek to Chinese Base Camp. „I don’t want to run away from here. I need a day to say goodbye.“ To Mount Everest. And to his dream to scale it without bottled oxygen after all.


27. May 2014 | 18:35