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with Stefan Nestler

Burke wants to climb his mountain


Bill Burke in front of “his” mountain

“My mountain!” Bill Burke can say this, without anyone accusing him of hubris. Since 2014, the “Burke Khang” officially exists in the Everest region. The Nepalese government named the 6942- meter-high mountain in the Gokyo Valley after the US mountaineer. Bill Burke became a climber in the senior age after a successful career as a lawyer. Aged 67, he scaled Mount Everest from the Nepalese south side, aged 72, from the Tibetan north side. Four days before his second Everest coup, the government in Kathmandu announced that the still unclimbed almost seven-thousander near Mount Everest was now called Burke Khang. “I was never given a reason for this generous action“, said Bill a year ago in an interview on the website In fall 2015, Burke tried for the first time to climb the mountain which bears his name. The project failed just below the summit. Now the 74-year-old is taking a new run.


Planned route on Burke Khang

Team meber David Liano

“I’m looking at the mountain now and it’s just so beautiful,”Bill says in an audio message from Base Camp at the foot of Burke Khang. His Sherpa team has already begun to secure the planned route with fixed ropes. The team also includes the 35-year-old Mexican David Liano, who has already climbed Mount Everest six times. In 2013, he reached the 8850-meter-high summit twice within nine days, first from the south, then from the north side.

Too dangerous


Dangerous summit ridge

Last year, Bill’s expedition to Burke Khang had failed because of the dangerous conditions in the summit area. The US guide Sid Pattison and four Sherpas reached the strongly corniced summit ridge. “The first one was quite unstable looking and the one beyond was leaning towards us, overhanging and would have taken some very strenuous climbing to pass,” wrote Pattison. The team decided to turn around for security reasons. Burke was then waiting just below the summit ridge.

New ideas

“We succeeded in our quest as we climbed as high up the mountain as humanly possible,” Bill later resumed. “Within days of coming down the mountain, I was pondering new climbing routes and strategies. I have some ideas.” Maybe this time one of these strategies will work. If Bill then belongs to the first ascenders of his mountain, it would also be easier for him to explain why the mountain is called Burke Khang.


7. November 2016 | 20:26