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Over penitents and narrow snow bridges

Ralf Dujmovits on Cholatse

“Everything has been going well so far.” Ralf Dujmovits is highly satisfied with his acclimatization tour in the Khumbu area. To prepare for Mount Everest, the 55-year-old, along with his partner Nancy Hansen from Canada, climbed the 6440-meter-high Cholatse. Last Thursday they reached the summit. The climb via the Southwest Ridge was anything but easy, Ralf writes to me: “A good part of the route above the col leads over steep to steepest penitents – very, very uncomfortable to climb.” Dujmovits believes that the climb to the highest point will soon change drastically. “The summit structure of Cholatse threatens to break apart in the next few years,” says Ralf. “There are many crevasses up to the summit. 30 meters below the highest point you have to cross a snow bridge which is still only two meters long and half a meter wide. If this also breaks, you need a ladder to get to the top.”

Abseiling in whiteout

Nancy Hansen on the summit

Dujmovits and Hansen spent six tent nights in their tent at altitudes between 5,450 and 5,750 meters. “Due to the material and food transport, we have climbed each stage twice – apart from the summit climb. So we have also managed to achieve perfect acclimatization,” says the so far only German who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders. Just on the summit day, the weather turned from good to bad. “We had almost no visibility when we reached the summit at 1.25 p.m, and the descent or the abseiling was mostly in whiteout conditions. Very exciting. Only an hour after dark, we were back at our super exposed small camp site at 5,750 meters.”

“Highly motivated and confident”

Ready for Everest

Dujmovits wants to climb Mount Everest from the Tibetan north side without bottled oxygen. After his successful Everest ascent in 1992 – above the South Col with breathing mask – Ralf had tried six times to climb the highest mountain on earth without supplemental oxygen, but for several reasons he had always returned without summit success. He had reached the summits of all the other eight-thousanders without the use of bottled oxygen. Now Ralf looks optimistically towards his “definitely last attempt” on Everest. “After the very positive experience on Cholatse, I am now really highly motivated to travel to the north side of Everest, and I am very confident that it will work,” says Ralf. “I feel very fit and well prepared.”


18. April 2017 | 12:51