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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Fowler: “No thoughts of giving up yet!”

Mick Fowler (l.) and Paul Ramsden

Mick Fowler (l.) and Paul Ramsden

Real adventurers should be young? Fiddlesticks! The Briton Mick Fowler and his long-time climbing partner and compatriot Paul Ramsden prove that you can do extremely ambitious climbs in the Himalayas even if you are older than 50. Mick is going to celebrate his 60th (!) anniversary next year – unbelievable! Many young climbers would turn green with envy comparing their efforts with Mick’s and Paul’s achievements in recent years. Again and again they succeed in first climbing amazing routes on six-thousanders in Nepal, India, China or elsewhere. They were already awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar for climbers”, twice: in 2003, for their new route through the North Face of the 6250-meter-high Siguniang in western China and in 2013, for their first climb of the Northeast Ridge of the 6142-meter-high Shiva in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. And they have a good chance to win the Golden Ice Axe for the third time – for their latest expedition. This October, Mick and Paul completed the first ascent of Gave Ding, a six-thousander located in a very remote valley in far west Nepal.

Mick, year after year you and your climbing partner Paul Ramsden discover ambitious new mountains or routes, tackle them and succeed. What is your secret of success?

Lots of hard research, a good partnership and a shared approach of not retreating unless there is a very good reason to do so.

Mick's and Paul's route on Gave Ding

Mick’s and Paul’s route on Gave Ding

This fall, you first climbed the 6,571-meter-high Gave Ding in western Nepal via the steep North Face. How did you find this new goal?

We found it from distant shots of the west side taken by friends which gave us a gut feeling which was supported by setting the time of day on Google Earth and seeing that the North Face sported the longest shadow in the area.

How did you experience your climb on Gave Ding?

Experience was wonderful. Great climbing, great company, great valley not previously visited by westerners. No-one else around, unclimbed summit, different descent route, challenging good quality varied climbing. Everything we look for.

Extreme climbing

Extreme climbing

This mountain is located in a very remote region. Did you feel like explorers?

Yes in that we didn’t know what the face would be like until we actually saw it. It could have been rubbish!

Some time ago, I called people like you and Paul in one of my blog posts an “antidepressant” for all folks older than 50. What do you think, how long will you be able to do such amazing climbs?

As long as I enjoy it and my body can cope. No thoughts of giving up yet!


2. December 2015 | 9:26