This much is certain, 2018 will go down in history as a very special year for ski mountaineers. After all, two of the “last” major ski problems on the world’s highest mountains have been solved. Last July, the Pole Andrzej Bargiel succeeded in the Karakoram in Pakistan – as reported – the first complete ski descent from the 8,611 meter high summit of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. And now Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison cracked another hard nut. On the 8516-meter-high Lhotse, the fourth highest of all mountains, the two Americans skied down the so-called “Dream Line”: from the summit through the narrow, 45 to 50 degrees steep Lhotse Couloir down to Camp 2 in the Western Qwm at 6,400 meters. “We did it,” Jim writes about a photo of his ski tips that he posted on Instagram today: “Ski tips about to make the first turn ever off the summit of Lhotse. Almost 28,000’ the summit was sugar snow and extra steep. A few careful turns and a hop got me into the couloir to complete a dream I’ve been working towards for a lifetime.”
Date4. October 2018 | 18:37
TagsAnnapurna, Anton Pugovkin, Dream Line, Hilaree Nelson, Jim Morrison, Lhotse, Lhotse Couloir, Ski descent, Vitaly Lazo
Also from the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet, the first summit successes of this fall season were reported today. According to their own announcement, a team of the Russian expedition operator “7 Summits Club” reached the 8,027-meter-high summit , as did a team of the Nepalese operator “Seven Summit Treks”. SST-Board director Dawa Sherpa informed on Facebook, that Chinese Luo Jing was among those who stood on the summit of Shishapangma. It was the last of the 14 eight-thousanders that the 42-year-old still lacked in her collection.
Date29. September 2018 | 22:22
Tags14 eight-thousanders, 7 Summits Club, China, Gipfelerfolg, Luo Jing, Seven Summit Treks, Shishapangma, Summit success, Tibet
“My tactic of arriving later in the season didn’t work this time,” Thomas Huber tells me after his return from the Karakoram, adding that it was a “fully mixed” expedition. “It started incredibly well, but unfortunately it didn’t end the same way.” As reported before – the 51-year-old, the older of the two Huber brothers, had left at the beginning of August with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl, 59-year-old German climber Rainer Treppte and French cameraman Yannick Boissenot towards Latok I in order to tackle the 7,145-meter-high mountain via the north side.
Date28. September 2018 | 14:43
TagsAlexander Huber, Choktoi, Fabian Buhl, Karakoram, Latok I, Latok III, North Face, North Ridge, Pakistan, Panmah Kangri, Rainer Treppte, Simon Gietl, Thomas Huber, Yannick Boissenot
After yesterday’ first summit success of this fall season on Manaslu, the spell has apparently broken on the eight-thousander Cho Oyu in Tibet too. Two US operators reported that their teams had reached the highest point at 8,188 meters today. “Cho Oyu Team just checked in from the top of the sixth highest peak in the world,” Mountain Madness wrote on Twitter. The expedition operator Climbing the Seven Summits also declared: “We are thrilled to announce the entire CTSS team is currently standing on the summit of Cho Oyu in perfect weather.”
Date26. September 2018 | 10:40
The first summit success of the fall season on the eight-thousanders is reported from the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu. Dawa Sherpa from the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks writes on Facebook that four Sherpas of their team have fixed the ropes up to the highest point. Besides Mingma Tenjing Sherpa, Gyaljen Sherpa, Tenjing Chhombi Sherpa and Temba Bhote, the Spaniard Sergi Mingote and the Brazilian Moeses Fiamoncini reached the summit. Mingote confirmed the summit success – also on Facebook – and added: “I am fine.” Last summer, Sergi scaled Broad Peak and then K2 in Pakistan, without using bottled oxygen. After Manaslu, the 47-year-old professional climber wants to tackle the eight-thousander Dhaulagiri even this fall, also located in western Nepal.
Date25. September 2018 | 15:22
“The construction work is going smoothly,” writes Shyam Pandit, who coordinates the projects of the German aid organisation Nepalhilfe Beilngries in the Himalayan state. At the end of last week, Shyam once again visited the construction site of the new school in the mountain village of Thulosirubari, some 70 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu. After teaching in the first two parts of the building started as well as using the corresponding toilet block, the third and last section of the building is being constructed right next door. Your donations made this possible for our aid project “School up!”, which I founded together with the two climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits after the devastating earthquake in 2015, in order to rebuild the destroyed school in Thulosirubari as quickly as possible.
Date25. September 2018 | 7:12
TagsAid project: School up!, Gerlinde and Ralf School, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Nepal, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf Dujmovits, Thulosirubari
Tragic incident on the eight-thousander Dhaulagiri in western Nepal: Yesterday an avalanche hit a seven-man Sherpa team of the operator “Seven Summit Treks”, who were fixing ropes between Camp 2 (6,400 m) and Camp 3 (7,400 m). “Six (Sherpas) survived the avalanche unharmed, but the only 24-year-old Dawa Gyaljen, born near (the eight-thousander) Makalu, is missed,” Spaniard Luis Miguel Lopez Soriano wrote on Facebook. Luis accompanies his 79-year-old friend Carlos Soria, who this fall is trying for the tenth and, in his own words, probably last time to scale Dhaulagiri. The 8,167-meter-high mountain and Shishapangma (8,027 m) are the last two eight-thousanders still missing from Carlos’s collection.
Date20. September 2018 | 18:38
TagsAvalanche, Billi Bierling, Carlos Soria, Dawa Gyaljen Sherpa, Dhaulagiri, Herbert Hellmuth, Luis Miguel Lopez Soriano, Sergey Baranov
It was close, damn close. “We were very, very lucky,” writes Patrick z’Brun to me. The mountain guide was part of a Swiss team that escaped a tragedy by a hair’s breadth on the 7,027-meter-high Spantik in the Karakoram this summer. The day after their arrival, the climbers were just setting up their base camp. “Suddenly someone shouted ‘Rock, rock’,” reports Patrick. A large boulder rushed through a couloir directly towards the base camp. Nearly 200 meters ahead of the camp, the boulder divided into two pieces without them changing direction: “Two kitchen tents and a sleeping tent were sheer shaved off. The two rocks rushed past two climbers by a hair’s breadth.” According to Patrick’s words, an expedition member just managed to save himself by jumping behind a small wall on which the kitchen tent had stood. An eight-second video of the incident documents how lucky the group was:
Date19. September 2018 | 17:25
“Death Zone Freeride” – so the two Russians Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin named their ambitious project. Their goal: to scale five of the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen and ski down from the summits. In fall 2017, the two climbers achieved their first success on the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu. This fall season, part two of the project is to follow on the 8,091-meter-high Annapurna. In addition, Mount Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat are on the Russians’ to-do list.
After some back and forth on the material transport by helicopter, Vitaly and Anton finally seem to have flown today from the Nepalese town of Pokhara to Annapurna Base Camp. The so far only successful ski descent from the summit of Annapurna was made by the Slovenian brothers Davo and Andrej Karnicar via the north side of the mountain in spring 1995, during their climb they also did not use breathing masks.
Date18. September 2018 | 18:01
TagsAnnapurna, Anton Pugovkin, Dream Line, Hilaree Nelson, Jim Morrison, Lhotse, Lhotse Couloir, Ski descent, Vitaly Lazo
“To paraphrase Shakespeare: living on without summit or voting for death.” This is how Marek Holecek described the decision that he and his team mate Tomas Petrecek had to make last Sunday at the exit of the mighty Rupal Face, 300 meters below the summit of Nanga Parbat. Gusts of wind of up to 100 kilometers per hour blew over the 8,125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan, the ninth highest in the world. After six days in the wall, the two Czech climbers decided to turn around.
Date5. September 2018 | 12:26
TagsGünther Messner, Karakoram, Marek Holecek, Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, Reinhold Messner, Rupalwand, Tomas Petrecek
They have two homes. German professional climber David Göttler and his partner Monica Piris spend the winter in Chamonix am Mont Blanc, the summer in Monica’s native northern Spain, between the towns of Bilbao and Santander, “where Spain is still really green”, David enthuses. This summer, as reported, Göttler had returned from Pakistan empty-handed. Bad weather had put a spoke in the wheel of him and his teammate, Italian Hervé Barmasse, on the 7,932-meter-high Gasherbrum IV in the Karakoram. Yesterday Göttler celebrated his 40th birthday in Spain – not in the mountains, but on the construction site, as he tells me, when I belated congratulate him: “I have finished my training room. So it was a good day.”
40 years, David, that’s a mark. Many ook back then on their lives or make plans for the future. You too?
Date4. September 2018 | 17:45
Tags40th birthday, David Göttler, Eight-thousanders, Gasherbrum IV, Herve Barmasse, Kangchendzönga, Kangchenjunga, Karakoram, Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat, Ueli Steck
A committee is to get to the bottom of it. Since Friday, new guidelines for helicopter rescue have been in force in Nepal, with which the government wants to prevent insurance fraud with “fake rescue flights” in the future. A “Tourist Search and Rescue Committee” will monitor all rescue operations. The committee includes representatives of the ministries of home and of health as well as of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and the tourist police. Helicopter companies, expedition and trekking agencies, hospitals and insurance companies are now obliged to provide all details of rescue flights and medical care as well as insurance invoices in a timely manner so that the committee can review them. In the event of irregularities, the committee is also responsible for punishing the black sheeps in the sector.
Date3. September 2018 | 15:36
TagsCAAN, Fake rescue flights, Helicopter rescue, HRA, Insurance fraud, Nepal, Nepalese Government, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, NMA
If it is about its own income, the Nepalese government can’t take a joke. According to the newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the Ministry of Tourism has fined Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks” 44,000 dollars for forging a permit for Mount Everest. In spring, the authority granted a permit to an expedition led by the Chinese Sun Yiguan and managed by “Seven Summit Treks” to climb the highest mountain on earth. The original document was issued for twelve member. Later a fake version appeared in which an Australian and a Chinese climber had been added.
Date31. August 2018 | 15:54
TagsFake permit, Fraud, Mingma Sherpa, Mount Everest, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, Penalty, Permit, Seven Summit Treks
No photo, no video, no GPS data. It’s not possible to prove clearly where exactly on the seven-thousander Latok I in the Karakoram the two Russian climbers Alexander Gukov and Sergey Glazunov finished their ascent on 23 July. The GPS tracker didn’t work properly. The mini-camera they had used to document the ascent was carried by Sergey when he fell to his death on 25 July. The body of the 26-year-old could not be recovered. Two days before, the two Russians had reached their highest point in the fog. “By 7 pm, Sergey climbed up a small col between a rock and a snowy serac. I was standing ten meters below him. The snow was almost vertical,” Alexander recalls on “mountain.ru”, where an English translation of his statements was published today.
Date28. August 2018 | 15:47
The air is getting thinner for those in Nepal who feather their beds with fake rescue flights. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, international insurance companies have set an ultimatum until 1 September to put an end to these illegal activities. Otherwise, they no longer want to cover the costs of helicopter rescue flights. The Nepalese government plans to set up a police unit in the Tourism Ministry that is to manage all rescues.
Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, who has been coordinating rescue on Mount Everest since 2003 as base camp manager of the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), is sceptical. “Police officers are no specialists”, tells me the 37-year-old, who was trained as a helicopter rescuer in Switzerland in 2012. Similar comments are made by Maurizio Folini: “The solution is not practicable. The police have no idea how to save people in the mountains.” The 53-year-old helicopter pilot from Italy is a pioneer for rescue flights on the eight-thousanders in Nepal. Since 2011 Folini has been flying regularly on the highest mountains in the world, in 2013 he managed the highest longline helicopter rescue of all time when he brought down a Nepalese climber from 7,800 meter on Everest.
Date26. August 2018 | 17:22
TagsFake rescue flights, HRA, Insurance fraud, Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, Maurizio Folini, mountain rescue, Nepal, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, Regierung, Rettungsflüge, Trekking