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with Stefan Nestler

Still no Chinese in the 14-Eight-thousander club


The Central Peak is not the main summit of Shishapangma. Climbers and expedition operators who tackle this eight-thousander in Tibet should know this. The Central Peak is at 8,008 meters. From there, the normal route continues over a ridge to the 19 meter higher main summit at 8,027 meters. Only when this is reached, Shishapangma is officially considered as scaled. Many are not too particular about this rule. And so the news was premature that a Chinese expedition had scaled Shishapangma on 29 September and that Luo Jing was the first woman from the “Middle Kingdom” to complete the 14 eight-thousanders. Just a few days later, a Basque mountaineer, who had ascended the same day, piped up and said that nobody had climbed the ridge to the main summit due to bad weather. “They were clearly only on the Central Peak,” tells me Eberhard Jurgalski, German chronicler of mountaineering in the Himalayas and Karakorum, who had received a video of the Chinese group from their turning point. “Luo Jing has already admitted this publicly.”

“True Explorers Grand Slam” also not complete

Hong-Juan Dong (l.), Luo Jing (2nd from l.), Zhang Liang (3rd from l.), Liu Yongzong (r.)

Thus also the news that Zhang Liang, Hong-Juan Dong and Liu Yongzong, three more Chinese who belonged to Luo’s team, completed the 14 eight-thousanders, is not true. “Dong is not only missing the main summit of Shishapangma, she was demonstrably not on the highest points of some more eight-thousanders she claimed for herself,” says Jurgalski.

Zhang Liang had already let himself be celebrated in 2017 for being the first Chinese to complete the eight-thousander collection. But even then his list “only” included the Central Peak of Shishapangma – which he has now reached for the second time. This summer’s news that the 54-year-old had finished second after the South Korean Park Young-Seok the “True Explorers Grand Slam” (14 eight-thousanders, Seven Summits, North and South Pole) proved to be premature too. “His performance cannot be compared with that of the South Korean Park anyway,” says Eberhard Jurgalski. “Zhang Liang only did a last-degree expedition to the South Pole, while Park Young-Seok walked the entire way from the edge of the continent to the Pole.” Park died in an avalanche on Annapurna in fall 2011.


11. October 2018 | 12:43