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with Stefan Nestler

Kammerlander: Peace with Manaslu

Hans Kammerlander on Manaslu

That’s it. Hans Kammerlander closes the book Manaslu. “I had a nice, very good time here on this mountain. That was worth it,” said the 60-year-old South Tyrolean, after he and his North Tyrolean team partner Stephan Keck had decided last weekend to abandon their late fall expedition to the eighth highest mountain in the world (8,163 m). “I have made peace with Manaslu. Above all, I’ve finished this part of my way. That was what I had planned. It was never really about the summit itself. That would have been a highlight at best.”

High avalanche danger

Above camp 1 (© Stephan Keck)

The two climbers were on Saturday on their way to Camp 2 at 6,600 meters, when they, in Stephan Keck’s words, “sunk in the powder snow up to the armpits”: “I probably do not have to explain to anyone how strenuous, slow and therefore dangerous it is to move under these conditions.” Because of the snow masses and the consequential high avalanche danger, they pulled the emergency brake. “If we tried it, it would have been Russian roulette and probably all of us would have lost our lives,” Kammerlander said.

Coping with trauma

His team partner also realized that Hans’ main goal was to cope with his Manaslu trauma of 1991. Kammerlander had taken the decision to end the expedition “quite relaxed”, Stephan Keck wrote in his blog: “It becomes clear that he rather wanted to return to Manaslu itself than to scale his 13th main summit of an eight-thousander.”

With ups and downs

Too much snow on Manaslu (© Stephan Keck)

On an expedition led by Kammerlander 26 years ago, his two friends Friedl Mutschlechner and Karl Großrubatscher had been killed in severe weather during a summit attempt. Hans had declared at the time that he would never return to Manaslu. He now revised his decision for shootings for a film that is to be released in the cinemas in November 2018 – “a portrait of my life, with ups and downs,” as Kammerlander had told me last spring.

No further attempt

Even if a summit success of Kammerlander more than a quarter of a century after the 1991 tragedy would had given the film a special point, the film crew will nevertheless return with impressive footages: of a base camp that was no longer overcrowded like just a few weeks earlier, of a lonesome Manaslu in a snow dress – and of a protagonist who returns home safe and sound and has made peace with the “Mountain of the Spirit”. Kammerlander definitely ruled out another summit attempt next spring.


15. November 2017 | 11:11