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with Stefan Nestler

Goettler and Co. plan new Everest route variant

David Goettler

David Goettler (© The North Face)

This year, the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest works like a magnet to German professional climbers. David Goettler has announced that he also wants to climb the highest mountain in the world from the north this spring, along with his German friend Daniel Bartsch and the Canadian Raphael Slawinski. “If everything runs perfectly, we want to try a variant or a new route. Others have to decide how it is called at the end”, the 36-year-old tells me on the phone. The planned ascent route runs near the normal route, first on the left, later crossing it between Camp 2 (7500 meters) and 3 (8300 meters), leading to the “Great Couloir” (also called Norton Couloir). “This would allow us to avoid possible traffic jams at the rocky steps on the normal route”, says David. The trio wants to climb without Sherpa support and without bottled oxygen.

Everything must match

Norton Couloir

Norton Couloir

According to the words of David, initially Gerfried Goeschl had the idea for this route. The Austrian has been missing on the eight-thousander Gasherbrum I in Pakistan since March 2012 when he tried to climb that mountain in winter. Later, the Canadian Louis Rousseau, a former expedition partner of Goeschl, followed the Austrian’s Everest idea, Goettler explains. Rousseau withdrew from the expedition on short notice, but agreed that the other three climbers should try it without him. “It depends very much on the conditions. Only if everything runs perfectly, we can realize our dream”, says David. He expects that they are able to take a good view into the planned route very soon and decide then whether it makes sense to try it. “If not, we won’t take up this idea and will switch to the normal route. If the three of us will reach the summit without oxygen then, we would be pretty happy too.”

“Secret weapon“ Slawinski

The mountaineer from the town of Munich has already climbed five eight-thousanders, most recently Makalu in May 2013. At that time, Daniel Bartsch stood on top too. “He is my best friend. We are a very experienced team. We know each other since school times”, says David. He was not yet on expedition with Raphael Slawinski. In 2014, the Canadian and his compatriot Ian Welsted were awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar for climbers”, for their first ascent of 7040-meter-high K 6 West in the Karakoram. “He’s our secret weapon for difficult mixed terrain. There he seems to be unbeatable”, Goettler says about the Canadian.

Rather from the north

Last year, David wanted to climb Everest from the south without bottled oxygen, but had to leave empty-handed because of what happened after the avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall. “I was very disappointed about last season and all the things that happened in Nepal”, David recalls. “I wanted to spare myself the uncertainty of what may happen there this year. I think it’s better to wait a season or two until the situation turns normal again.”

As previously reported, the German professional mountaineers Ralf Dujmovits, Alix von Melle and Luis Stitzinger also want to reach the summit of Mount Everest from Tibet without bottled oxygen. In addition, Thomas Laemmle, at first leader of a commercial expedition to Cho Oyu, announced, that he later would turn to Everest to climb it without breathing mask.


24. March 2015 | 21:19