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with Stefan Nestler

Dominik Mueller: “We are in limbo”

North side of Everest

North side of Everest

He cannot just carry on as if nothing had happened, says Dominik Mueller. The head of the German expedition operator Amical alpin today abandoned his expedition on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest – after consultation with his clients, who according to Dominik also did not want to continue. “When I look in the faces of our cook, the kitchen boys and all the other Sherpas here, I cannot climb on in good conscience”, Dominik tells me by phone from the “Chinese Base Camp” at 5,150 meters, where according to his estimate are still 250 to 300 climbers and staff. The team’s cook has lost his house in Kathmandu, many others have not even been able to contact their families. “We can not sit here on a beautiful island and make for love, peace and harmony while there are thousands of deaths around us.”

A text message, not an official document

Dominik Mueller

Dominik Mueller

There is still confusion about whether the Everest is now definitely closed, says Dominik: “This morning Thomas Laemmle, our expedition leader on Cho Oyu, received a call from the Chinese authorities that all Tibetan mountains were closed from 9 a.m and that the spring season was over.” Then Dominik sent a request to the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) whether this was also definitely true for Everest. “I received a text message: Everest is closed”, says the 44-year-old. “But there is no liaison officer or anyone else here at Base Camp who has an official document or who says: Yes, it is definitely closed.We are in limbo.” During the meetings, the Chinese officials mainly referred to the risk of aftershocks, says Dominik. They told the expedition leaders that the quake had torn new crevasses and that the North Col was very dangerous this year.

Dujmovits in Advanced Base Camp

Dominik says, the team of Chinese climbers that was to fix ropes on the normal route left Base Camp and was taken to lower villages – for him another sign that climbing will not continue on the north side of Everest. “If the authorities would really see a chance to climb on, the fixrope team would still be here and would be sent to ABC (Advanced Base Camp) to wait there for a few days.” Mueller expects that the whole mountain infrastructure will be taken back. Ralf Dujmovits, so far the only German mountaineer who climbed all 14 eight-thousanders, is staying at the 6,200-meter-high ABC. Ralf had reached the camp before the Chinese authorities ordered most of the climbers to return.

Way back to Nepal cut off

Mueller’s clients will travel back to Germany via Lhasa and Beijing at the beginning of May. Dominik himself want to stay with the Sherpas of his team at Base Camp. “It’s about the Sherpas and their families,” says Dominik. “They have supported us so often. Therefore it is for me a matter of course to stay with them in this difficult situation and to ensure that they come home.” According to his information, the way from Tibet to Kathmandu is still cut off.


28. April 2015 | 18:58