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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Special expedition training

Barmasse, Steck, Tenji Sherpa and Goettler (from l. to r.)

What a high-caliber training group! The Swiss Ueli Steck, the Nepalese Tenji Sherpa, the German David Goettler and the Italian Hervé Barmasse have been preparing themselves for their expeditions in spring in the village of Chukhung in the Everest region for ten days. Steck and Tenji Sherpa plan to traverse Mount Everest and Lhotse. No one has yet managed to do this without bottled oxygen. Goettler and Barmasse want to open a new route via the Shishapangma South Face in Tibet. In the course of the training, mountain running was at the focus. “I ran three times from Chukhung (4,730 meters) to Island Peak (6,180 meters),” writes Ueli. He had climbed and run a total of about 12,000 vertical meters over a distance of around 150 kilometers. “My body and my soul feel great,” says Steck. “I really enjoy being here in Nepal with such good friends. Just climb and run and nothing else.”

“Personal experiment”

Ueli (l.) and Tenji on the summit of Island Peak

Currently, the four climbers are continuing their training program in the area around Namche Bazaar, the 3,440-meter-high main village of the Khumbu region. They will then return to Europe for four weeks. An unusual form of preparation. “It is a personal experiment of us all,” answers David Goettler to my concerns that acclimatization effect could get lost in the meantime. “At home we want to sleep as often as possible as high as possible or to climb.  We are almost sure that it will lead to a faster acclimatization when we’ll return for our actual expeditions in April. We’ll see whether the plan works out.”

Hervé’s dream

Training for Shishapangma South Face

In spring 2016, David and Ueli had been stopped by bad weather in their attempt to open a new route via the Shishapangma South Face. “The South Face really fascinated me, and I just want to go back there,” writes Goettler. “Hopefully we will have better weather this year!” Due to his Everest-Lhotse project, Steck was not available as climbing partner this time, so David has teamed up with Hervé Barmasse. The 39-year-old is a very experienced climber who has made headlines in recent years especially with new routes on his home mountain, the Matterhorn. Hervé has also succeeded spectacular first ascents in the Karakoram and in Patagonia. Barmasse had two major surgeries last year. “He is back in the game,” writes David about the Italian, who has so far never stood on top of an eight-thousander. “It remains my dream to climb my first eight-thousander on a new route,” Hervé had told me in November 2012. This may not have changed.


21. February 2017 | 14:29