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with Stefan Nestler

Goettler and Barmasse climb through Shishapangma South Face

David Goettler at their highest point (in the background the summit)

Only a few meters have been missing to the top, but they’ve climbed through the wall. David Goettler and Hervé Barmasse entered the Shishapangma South Face on Sunday morning and climbed in 13 hours to a point just below the 8,027-meter-high summit. “We found a last traverse of about ten meters and then five meters up to the summit too delicate due to the avalanche danger,” David writes to me after returning to the Base Camp. Originally, the 38-year-old German and his one year older climbing partner from Italy had planned to open a new route through the South Face. Like in spring 2016, when David had tried the same with the Swiss Ueli Steck, the weather conditions impeded the project.

In Ueli’s style

David Goettler (l.) and Hervé Barmasse (r.)

“We had only a very short weather window of about 24 hours with little wind and no snowfall,” writes Goettler. “That is why we decided to try to reach the summit in a very light and fast style via the Girona route.” The route was opened in 1995 by a Spanish team. Also in spring 2016, David had climbed with Steck this route, but only up to an altitude of 7,800 meters. Last February, Steck, Goettler and Barmasse had prepared for their expeditions with a joint intensive training camp in Nepal. On 30 April, Ueli had fallen to death on Nuptse. In their mind, he accompanied them through the Shishapangma South Face, says David: “It makes me happy that I made it to the top this time, in the style I’ve learned from Ueli. And that Hervé and I kept a clear head up there and forewent the last meters. These meters were simple, but in our opinion too dangerous in these conditions.”

“We want to return”

Another attempt to open a new route through the Shishapangma South Wall will not happen – at least not this year. “The weather forecast for the coming week until the end of the month is not promising. Around 27 May there will be less wind but snowfall,” writes Goettler. “That’s why we think that we have no chance for the new route. We will pack up here for this year. But we want to come back.” They both return home from Tibet satisfied, says David: “For Herve and me, it was one of the best performances we’ve ever done.”


23. May 2017 | 8:40