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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

10 years of IMS: The last hike

IMS walk to the Latzfonserkreuz

I will miss the IMS. After ten years of “International Mountain Summit” in Brixen it’s over. The voluntary organisers, Alex Ploner and Markus Gaiser, who had put a lot of heartblood into this extraordinary mountain festival every year, are throwing in the towel. The reason: Lack of support from outside. A real pity! Year after year at the IMS, former and current stars of the scene were streaming in and out: Reinhold Messner, Sir Chris Bonington, Doug Scott, the Huber brother, Steve House, Alex Honnold, Ueli Steck, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Ralf Dujmovits and so on. Not only did they give lectures, but they also went hiking with other mountain friends in the mountains of South Tyrol. That was the special attraction of the IMS. I have always enjoyed this “walk and talk” very much.

Vicarious embarrassment on Kangchenjunga

Tamara Lunger (in the background the pilgrimage church Latzfonserkreuz)

Yesterday, for example, we hiked with the South Tyrolean professional climber Tamara Lunger up to the Latzfonserkreuz at 2,305 metres. The hut there is (still) run by her parents. I talked to Tamara about her experiences during the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat in February 2016. While her teammates Simone Moro, Alex Txikon and Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” had reached the summit, Lunger had had to turn back 70 meters below the summit. Throughout the whole day she had felt sick. God gave her a sign, Tamara tells me: “On that day ten hours of praying did not help. I knew then that something was wrong.” In spring 2017, she was back again at an eight-thousander: With Simone Moro she wanted to traverse all peaks of the Kangchenjunga massif. This did not happen, this time Moro had health problems. After the expedition Tamara was fed up with the eight-thousanders. What she experienced in the base camp, where commercial expeditions had pitched up their tents too, left scars. “I can’t believe what some people are doing. I was partly ashamed of them,” says Tamara. “It really broke my heart what was going on there.”

Wellness holidays for the soul

IMS organizer Markus Gaiser, Tamara Lunger and Robert Jasper (from l.)

Robert Jasper also attended the hike to the Latzfonser Kreuz yesterday. The 50-year-old German top climber had been on a solo expedition to Greenland this summer. With a folding kayak he paddled from the last inhabited settlement through a fjord towards the mountain he had chosen for his first ascent. “To travel by folding boat, then to open a new route in a big wall, all this with reduced means – that was an absolutely ingenious adventure,” Robert enthuses to me. Even if he had had a queasy feeling before the start, he coped well with being alone. “Through the silence you quickly get to yourself. That was a wellness holiday for the soul.” On his return to civilization after four weeks, he needed a few days until he could speak properly again, says Robert.

Don’t waste any time!

Beat Kammerlander

Beat Kammerlander prefers to find his climbing goals near home, in the Rätikon region. The 59-year-old Austrian from Feldkirch is a living climbing legend. He has been doing world-class alpine sport climbing for decades. Last year he opened an extremely difficult route which he called “Kampfzone” (Combat Zone). On the IMS hike, I ask Beat if he has to fight more today than he used to in earlier days. “You always fight as well as you can,” Kammerlander replies and laughs. “But today I probably have even more motivation and more consistency to achieve a goal. I don’t waste any more time.” Beat doesn’t think about the end of his career as an extreme climber yet. “Do what you love! Why should I stop doing what I like to do best?”

If that were also so easy at events like the “International Mountain Summit” …

P.S.: Detailed blog articles about my talks with Tamara Lunger, Robert Jasper and Beat Kammerlander will follow. So the IMS will linger.


14. October 2018 | 16:52