“For me, this is completely new ground.” David Goettler is looking forward to his upcoming winter expedition that, after Christmas, will take him and the Italian climbers Simone Moro and Emilio Previtali to the 8000er Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. “Until now I have gained experience in winter climbing only in the Alps, never in the Himalayas or in Karakoram”, says the 35-year-old climber from Munich when I meet him in my hometown Cologne this week. David has intensified the endurance training since Simone’s invitation at the end of September to accompany him to Nanga Parbat. You cannot train coldness, says David. “It makes no sense sitting in the refrigerator for three days.”
Date7. December 2013 | 22:12
Ines Papert could have done without this kind of souvenir from the Himalayas. “The healing of fingers and toes will take some time”, says the 39-year-old after her return from Nepal. As reported in my blog the German top female climber made a first ascent of 6719-meter-high Likhu Chuli I, also known as Pig Pherado Shar, on 13 November after opening a new route through the North Face of the 6000er together with Thomas Senf. “I never thought that frostbite could emerge so creepingly”, Ines is surprised. “During our climb we were as cold as never before but we have taken the first symptoms very seriously.” For this reason, Thomas abandoned the final climb to the summit within his reach at the last camp on 6580 meters.
Date29. November 2013 | 17:06
The South Tyrolean mountaineer Hans Kammerlander has been involved in a car accident with a tragic end near his home village Sand in Taufers. According to media reports from South Tyrol, a 21-year-old man lost control of his car. It grazed three oncoming cars before it crashed head-on into a van that was driven by Kammerlander. The 21-year-old died at the scene. Kammerlander and four other persons, who were injured too, were taken to hospital. Stol.it reports that Kammerlander broke his right leg. The 56-year-old was under shock, it said. His van was completely destroyed.
Date27. November 2013 | 15:18
Frank Smythe was obsessed with the highest mountain on earth . “Everest is becoming a life’s task”, he wrote in his diary. Smythe was a member of all three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the 1930s. Not only since his first ascent of 7756-meter-high Kamet in 1931 he was among the leading climbers of his time. On 1 June 1933 Frank equalled the altitude record on Everest with about 8570 meters, reaching probably the same point in the North Face as his compatriot Edward Felix Norton in 1924. “It (the summit) was only 1,000 feet above me, but an aeon of weariness separated me from it”, Smythe wrote. Climbing without bottled oxygen he began to hallucinate on his way back. Frank thought there was a companion and wanted to share his cake with him. He was also convinced to see two bulbous objects hovering above him. Smythe reported about these experiences in his book “Camp 6”. What Frank kept secret until his death in 1949 was a surprising discovery he patently made during his next expedition to Everest in 1936: Apparently if not likely Smythe spotted the body of George Mallory. The mystery of Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who started for a summit attempt in 1924 but did not return, has not been solved completely until today.
Date27. November 2013 | 13:15
The blind can see, just in a different way. This is demonstrated by the Austrian Andy Holzer. The 47-year-old from Lienz in East Tyrol has been blind since birth. But that does not prevent him from rock climbing, ski touring or even mountaineering in the Himalayas. 16 August 1975 was a special day in Andy’s life: As a nine-year-old boy he was allowed for the first time to climb a rocky mountain together with his parents. After he had dragged himself for hours through the debris he turned to rock climbing and suddenly he regarded his father as climbing too slow. His mother couldn’t follow them. “I felt like someone had freed me from chains”, Andy recalled, as we recently met during the International Mountain Summit in Brixen.
Andy, the first question is probably always the same. How do you manage to climb a rock face without being able to see anything?
I don’t climb without seeing it. That would not work.
Please explain what you mean!
Date25. November 2013 | 21:43
And it was a first ascent at all! On 13 November Ines Papert was the first person who set foot on the 6718-meter-high Pig Pherado Shar in Nepal, also known as Likhu Chuli I. Billi Bierling, staff member of the legendary Himalayan chronicler Elizabeth Hawley, writes me that the Frenchwoman Cecile Barbezat and Nawang Dorje Sherpa on 21 October 1960 were at the top of Likhu Chuli II, “which conversely means that Ines made the first ascent of Likhu Chuli I.” This was the result of a research that her French colleague Rodolphe Popier made in the library of the French Alpine Club (Club Alpin Français).
Date22. November 2013 | 13:16
TagsBilli Bierling, Cecile Barbezat, Elizabeth Hawley, first ascent, Ines Papert, Likhu Chuli I, Rodolphe Popier
Was Ines the first after all?
It’s getting even more exciting: Maybe German climber Ines Papert has climbed the 6718-meter-high Pig Pherado Shar in Nepal firstly after all. Billi Bierling, staff member of Himalayan chronicler Elizabeth Hawley, has drawn my attention to this option. The mountain is also known as Likhu Chuli I. I had referred to a note in Hawley’s database that a French team led by Robert Sandoz had already climbed the 6000er near Namche Bazaar on 21 October 1960. Billi writes that the French climbers maybe instead reached the summit of the 6659-meter-high Likhu Chuli II (Pig Pherago Nup). So the question is: Likhu Chuli I or II? “The database says ‘I’, but we believe that it is a mistake!”, writes Billi. The research is going on. If there is any news from Kathmandu, I will of course inform you. By the way: first ascent or not, the performance of Ines Papert deserves our applause anyway.
Date21. November 2013 | 13:55
Great success for Ines Papert: The German top climber tells on Facebook that she and Thomas Senf have opened a new route through the north face of 6718-meter-high Pig Pherado Shar in Nepal. The mountain is located near Namche Bazaar, the main village of the Khumbu region close to Mount Everest. The 39-year-old woman climber reached the summit alone. “Unfortunately Thomas couldn’t climb to the highest point because of incipient frostbite on his toes”, Ines writes on the Facebook page of one of her sponsors. “It was the coldest adventure of my lifetime.”
Date20. November 2013 | 14:24
Hansjoerg Auer likes to use the word “brutal”. But only when he is telling of something that inspires him. “It’s just a brutal beautiful mountain and a brutal cool goal,” says the top climber from Austria about Kunyang Chhish East. The 7400-meter-high mountain is located in the Karakoram in Pakistan. Hansjoerg has climbed the side peak of Kunyang Chhish (7852 meters) last summer together with his brother Matthias and Swiss Simon Anthamatten. “You rarely find this combination: a 7000er, unclimbed, with a cool wall such as the nearly 3000-meter-high South Face”, says the 29-year-old climber. “I am thrilled by exactly these expeditions with as many question marks as possible. They are interesting and remain exciting.”
Date15. November 2013 | 17:11
The dream of flying like a bird is as old as humanity itself. Until the moment of deploying the parachute a basejump from a cliff seems to get close to this dream, jumping with a wingsuit from a mountain maybe even closer. But there’s a catch: Mostly a mistake means death. In 2013 alone more than twenty jumpers died, among them the Canadian Mario Richard and the Briton Mark Sutton. The 47-year-old Richard was the husband of US climber Steph Davis. The 42-year-old Sutton had served as a stunt double of James Bond during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games 2012 in London when he had skydived out of a helicopter into the Olympic Stadium. Both died in August during wingsuit flights, Richard in Italy, Sutton in Switzerland.
During the International Mountain Summit in Brixen I talked to Alexander Polli. The 28-year-old Norwegian, who is living mostly in Italy, is one of the most experienced wingsuit flyers of the world. This year he caused a furore by flying through a rockhole in Spain with about 250 km/h.
Date8. November 2013 | 5:02
Considering his age of 23 years, David Lama has already faced a lot of criticism. “I have learned from my mistakes”, says the Austrian Climber. In 2010 his team had set dozens of new bolts for filming David’s attempt to free climb the legendary “Compressor Route” on Cerro Torre in Patagonia. Then Lama failed, but two years later he succeeded, together with his Austrian climbing mate Peter Ortner. For the summer of 2014 the two climbers are planning another “blockbuster”.
Date7. November 2013 | 14:28
Actually I wanted to ask Reinhold Messner these questions during the International Mountain Summit in Brixen. But a planned press conference was cancelled and the 69-year-old left the venue in no time at all, for whatever reason. But I had not to wait a long time for the South Tyrolean. He came to me – in a way. Last weekend the most famous mountaineer of the world gave a lecture in my home town of Cologne. Before the event started Messner answered my questions.
Reinhold Messner, recently you visited Pakistan, a few months after terrorists had shot eleven climbers at the Diamir basecamp on Nanga Parbat. Describe the atmosphere down there!
The mountain has not changed, but the connections are much worse than I thought. The terrorists were contract killers close to the Taliban, paid to carry out a bloodbath. Originally they had a different target. A great festival with polo games etc. was cancelled, probably because the organizers were worried that something might happen. Then the hit squad turned to Nanga Parbat. After the assault the killers took their money and disappeared. Some of them have been arrested, but nobody knows who has been the principal. On the one hand the terrorists wanted to hit the north of Pakistan, the local tourism, which collapsed by 90 percent. But they also wanted to hit the western world. Fortunately there have not been more victims. There were more than 60 people on Nanga Parbat, but most of them were at the high camps then.
Date5. November 2013 | 21:15
She looks younger than she really is (53 years) and her eyes twinkle when she is talking about climbing. 20 years ago Catherine Destivelle of France was a star of the climbing scene: Inter alia she soloed the classical north faces of Eiger, Matterhorn and Grand Jorasses, all of them in winter. She free-climbed the more than 6000-meter-high Nameless Tower in the Karakoram. (If you want to get an impression of her style of climbing, watch the amazing video below!) After the birth of her son Victor in 1997 she scaled down her climbing activities. I talked to Catherine on a hike during the International Mountain Summit (IMS) in Brixen in South Tyrol.
Catherine, are you still climbing?
Yes, less, but I’m still climbing. I like it. When I have time or holiday, I do it several times a week.
When you did your great climbs, in the 1980s and beginning of the 90s, you were a pioneer of women climbing. What has changed since then?
I think it’s a normal evolution. Women climbers of today are better than in our times, because they are training since their youth. Climbing has become a real sport. In my day it just had started to be a sport, but wasn’t really.
Date24. October 2013 | 14:10
Nepal has to be patient for about one more year. At its general assembly in Pontresina in Switzerland the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) has not yet decided whether it will recognize additional 8000-meter-peaks or not. According to the Nepal Mountaineering Association a UIAA commission had named six side peaks that could be accepted as prominent peaks with a unique identification: Kanchenjunga West-Peak (alias Yalung Kang, 8505 m), Central-Peak (8473 m) and South-Peak (8476 m), Lhotse Central-Peak (8410 m) and Shar (8382 m), Broad Peak Central (8011 m). “Both Nepal and China Mountaineering Association delegates welcome and fully support the UIAA initiation”, Nepalese Ang Tshering Sherpa, Honorary member of UIAA, wrote to me after his return from Switzerland. “Also Pakistan Alpine Club and Indian Mountaineering Foundation delegates were very positive but need more time to get approval from their association’s annual general meeting which will be held end of Dec 2013 or January 2014.”
Date12. October 2013 | 18:52
Ueli did it. Just what exactly? The Swiss climber Ueli Steck is keeping us in suspense after his adventure on Annapurna. “Successful mission!”, is said on his homepage. “Don (Bowie) and Ueli are on the way to Pokhara. Updates will follow in the coming days.” Quite honestly, if I could I would run to meet them on their trekking. I’m bursting with curiosity. Has Ueli really climbed solo via a direct route through the South Face to the 8091-meter-high summit of Annapurna? Is the rumor true that the Swiss, who celebrated his 37th birthday a week ago, needed only 28 hours to climb up and down?
Date11. October 2013 | 21:18