Search Results for Tag: Avalanche
Survived! On 24 September, Martin Maier was swept down 600 meters by an avalanche on the eight-thousander Shispapangma in Tibet. It was not only his friend Benedikt Boehm who called it a “small miracle”, that the 39-year-old climber from Munich did not die. The avalanche had released not far below the summit. The German ski mountaineer Sebastian Haag and the Italian Andrea Zambaldi were also caught by the avalanche and, in contrast to Maier, buried by the masses of snow. Both climbers died. Boehm and the Swiss Ueli Steck were just able to rescue themselves, when the entire slope began to slip off.
Martin Maier is recovering slowly but surely from the injuries he suffered in the accident. The engineer is not a professional climber, but has already gained a lot of experience on expeditions, inter alia to the Patagonian ice cap and to some 6000ers in South America. In 2012, he climbed the 8163-meter-high Manaslu in Nepal, the eighth highest mountain in the world. Martin told me his really incredible story of survival on Shishapangma:
Martin, how are you doing now?
I still have to struggle with many aftermaths of the avalanche and the whole tragedy, with my injuries that are yet to cure. And then of course there are always the thoughts with the friends who have died.
Date10. November 2014 | 16:54
TagsAndrea Zambaldi, Avalanche, Benedikt Boehm, Martin Maier, Sebastian Haag, Shishapangma, Tibet, Ueli Steck
Time is relative, depending on how you feel about it. Already three weeks ago? Only three weeks? This is the length of time that has passed since the avalanche on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet. On 24 September, the German ski mountaineer Sebastian Haag and the Italian Andrea Zambaldi died in an avalanche that released not far below the summit. Martin Maier, who was also swept away by the masses of snow, survived. Benedikt Boehm and the Swiss Ueli Steck were able to escape the avalanche. I call Benedict at home in Munich.
Benedict, it’s now three weeks since the avalanche on Shishapangma went down. Have you been able to come to terms with the accident?
No, not really. Immediately after the avalanche, I was involved with the rescue of Martin Maier, who had survived the avalanche as if by magic. It took two days, then we headed back home. Now I am busy again in my incredibly wonderful life that I am able to live here. As the manager of a relatively large sports brand, there are many tasks to complete, if you’ve been away for so long. That does not leave much time to come to rest. I had this time only during a couple of hours doing sports in the mountain early in the morning or late in the evening.
Date17. October 2014 | 15:53
TagsAndrea Zambaldi, Avalanche, Benedikt Boehm, Double8, Martin Maier, Sebastian Haag, Shishapangma, Ueli Steck
Ueli Steck has done his share to lift the fog that formed around the avalanche on the eight-thousander Shishapangma one and a half week ago. Benedikt Boehm and he were a little bit higher on the slope, “when suddenly a snow slab released and swept down the three climbers below us, Sebastian Haag, Andrea Zambaldi and Martin Maier”, said Ueli in Kathmandu in an interview with the Swiss newspaper “Sonntagszeitung”. “The snow slab released almost silently. It was eerie.” Maier was able to dig himself out. “He had no serious injuries, was able to descent and meet the rescue team. He is in Germany now.”
All attempts to enter the avalanche area and search for the buried climbers Haag and Zambaldi were unsuccessful. “It was too risky. We would have caused new avalanches”, Steck said. “Finally, we had to descend. In desperation you must not make mistakes that can jeopardize other people.”
Date5. October 2014 | 22:12
TagsAndrea Zambaldi, Avalanche, Benedikt Boehm, Double8 Expedition, Martin Maier, Sebastian Haag, Shishapangma, Sonntagszeitung, Ueli Steck
It is not far from triumph to tragedy on eight-thousanders. That was demonstrated on Manaslu these days. On Friday, the Japanese Yoshimasa Sasaki fell about 25 meters after slipping on blue ice at 7,300 meters. The 59-year-old died. Sasaki had climbed the eight-thousander Cho Oyu in 2003. Last weekend more than 30 climbers reached the summit of Manaslu, the eight highest mountain in the world, including the Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel. The 26-year-old said that he needed only 14 hours and five minutes for his speed ascent, just an hour less than the German Benedikt Boehm in fall 2012. After having skied down the most parts of the route, Andrzej reached the Base Camp 21 hours and 14 minutes after his departure. Two years ago, Bene had needed a total of 23.5 hours for ascent and ski descent.
Date29. September 2014 | 15:49
TagsAndrea Zambaldi, Avalanche, Bargiel, Double8 Expedition, Manaslu, Reinhold Messner, Sasaki, Sebastian Haag, Shishapangma
No, I didn’t really know Sebastian Haag. I met him only once – as we sometimes do in the mountaineering scene. It was a year ago, at the International Mountain Summit (IMS) in Brixen (Bressanone) in South Tyrol. At that time he and Benedikt Boehm reported on their experiences at the eight-thousander Manaslu in Nepal: On 22. September 2012, an avalanche had hit two high camps at about 6000 meters. Eleven climbers had been killed. Bene and Basti were lucky because, due to a disquieting feeling, they had pitched their tent far away from the others. After the accident the two Germans had rescued several injured climbers. In October 2013 in Brixen, we talked about the risks that Basti took as an extreme athlete. “There are moments in which you have to switch off your brain, and others in which you have to switch it on”, said Basti. “Of course something can happen to us, like to anyone else. Nobody is immune, no matter how cautious you are. And if you’re too cautious, you have to stay at home, climb the Zugspitze or take part in the Munich City marathon.”
Date26. September 2014 | 15:38
TagsAndrea Zambaldi, Avalanche, Benedikt Boehm, Double8 Expedition, IMS, Luis Stitzinger, Manaslu, Sebastian Haag, Shishapangma
He kept silent for weeks, but now he has found very clear words. “This is my 20th year of operations for Himalayan Experience but never before have I experienced such a variety of emotions as I did this year” writes Russell Brice at the beginning of a five-part series of reports about what happened on and around Mount Everest this spring. At this point I can only sum up the content but you should really take time to read Russell’s first hand reports in its full length. The owner and expedition operator from New Zealand was at Everest Base Camp when the devastating avalanche went down over the Khumbu Icefall and killed 16 Nepalese climbers on 18 April. “It appears that there was already a traffic jam in this area at the time of the avalanche, so it is not surprising that there were so many killed and injured.”
Date4. June 2014 | 15:38
The ridge between triumph and tragedy is narrow. On Sunday, Chhanda Gayen had scaled as first Indian woman Kangchenjunga, with 8586 meters the third highest mountain in the world. Four days later, she was confirmed dead because there is no more hope to recover her alive. When she was trying to climb also to the 8505-meter-high summit of Yalung Kang, also known as Kangchenjunga West, she and the Sherpas Dawa Wangchu (28.) and Migma Temba (24) were stuck by an avalanche, reports the “Himalayan Times” in Kathmandu. Due to bad weather, the search for the missing climbers has been abandoned .
Date22. May 2014 | 16:33
“It would have been a dream to take this beautiful route, but I do not dare to climb in this crumbly zone.” Ralf Dujmovits sounds a little bit disappointed when he calls me via satellite phone from the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest. Actually, the 52-year-old wanted to scale Everest via the route that Reinhold Messner had opened during his solo ascent in 1980: beneath the North Ridge, then through the upper part of the Norton Couloir, onto the summit plateau. The wind was the reason that he abandoned his plan, explains Ralf: “It is blowing for 14 days now. There is a rocky interruption in the upper section of the Norton Couloir, where it is the steepest. There is no snow, probably it is rather sandy.” Even the point where Messner had left the couloir is free of snow now. This challenge at an altitude of more than 8000 meters is too big for him, because he will be climbing alone and without bottled oxygen, says Ralf. “This is too difficult, too exciting. I’m getting older, I have not enough power for that.” Now he will try to climb to the summit on the normal route, “though it pains me”.
Date19. May 2014 | 23:41
18 April has changed many things: on Mount Everest, in the lives of the families of the 16 avalanche victims – and also for Matthias Baumann. The 42-year-old trauma surgeon from the German town of Esslingen was the expedition doctor in the team of the Argentine twin brothers Damian and Willie (Guillermo) Benegas and actually wanted to climb Everest in his second attempt, on the Nepalese south side. In 2011, his first attempt on the Tibetan north side had failed at 8600 meters: When he wanted to change his oxygen bottle at the Second Step, the key point of the normal route, Matthias realized that his Sherpa had packed an empty instead of a full bottle.
Three years later, this spring, Baumann climbed through the Khumbu Icefall, on the day before the avalanche. “I knew that avalanches had been coming down from the West Shoulder of Everest for four or five years. Up there, the seracs are threatening”, Matthias told me. Even if the fun at climbing gained the upper hand, the respect remained. “I was always looking up to the seracs.” On the following day, the Khumbu Icefall became a death trap for 16 Nepalese climbers. With other physicians, the German doctor took care of the injured climbers who were brought down to the base camp. After the end of the expedition Matthias visited almost all the families of the Nepalese who had lost their lives – and launched a fundraiser for them.
Date15. May 2014 | 14:49
Is there still some climbing possible on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest? The “Himalayan Times” reported that the Chinese female climber Wang Jing was with seven Sherpas on the way to base camp. The 40-year-old wanted to climb the highest mountain on earth. Wang was already once on the summit of Everest, on 22 May 2010, becoming the first Chinese woman who climbed the mountain from the south side. In her home country she is a star. Wang has written a book about her mountaineering and is leading an outdoor outfitter in Beijing. Everest is part of her “Project 7+2”. She wants to scale the “Seven Summits”, the highest peaks of all continents, in record time and in addition reach the North and the South Pole.
Date11. May 2014 | 1:42
Waiting for the calm after the storm. Currently the wind is blowing strongly in the summit region of Mount Everest – with speeds up to 60 knots (about 110 km per hour). A summit attempt of one of the about ten teams on the Tibetan north side of the mountain is out of question. Not until 16 May a good weather window with low wind is expected. On the south side of Everest, according to the U.S. expedition leader Eric Simonsen, the “Icefall doctors” brought down their ladders and ropes from the Khumbu Icefall. Until next season, the material is deposited in a storage in Gorak Shep, the last permanently inhabited small village near Mount Everest at 5200 meters. Thus there will be definitely no climb to the 8850-meter-high summit from the Nepalese side this spring. This week in Kathmandu, the Japanese climber Ken Noguchi presented on behalf of his environmental protection organization “Seven Summits Actions for Sustainable Society” a donation of $ 100,000 to Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
Date9. May 2014 | 21:47
More than 300 Everest dreams are gone. As many climbers returned home empty-handed after their expeditions had been cancelled after the avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall on Good Friday. One of them was David Goettler. The 35-year-old from the German town of Munich had wanted to climb the highest mountain in the world via the normal route on the Nepalese south side without bottled oxygen. Goettler was still acclimatizing when he heard the first still inconsistent reports about the avalanche. “Initially, I hoped that I might still be able to make an attempt”, David told me on the phone. Therefore, he first continued his acclimatization program. “But when I was on the summit of Island Peak (6000er in the Everest region) and wanted to sleep below the highest point, the news came that my expedition and all others would be cancelled.” He returned to Kathmandu.
Date3. May 2014 | 13:14
The avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall on Good Friday could be a decisive turning point in the history of Mount Everest. For the first time since the start of commercial expeditions to the highest mountain in the world in the late 1980s there will be almost certainly no clients who reach the summit via the Nepalese south side this spring. The season is over, not officially, but de facto. All major expedition teams have left the base camp, many climbers have meanwhile arrived in Kathmandu. There are more and more reports about massive threats of a small group of Sherpas against those compatriots who wanted to stay on the mountain despite the avalanche disaster with 16 deaths. Western climbers were apparently threatened too.
Date28. April 2014 | 21:52
The base camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest is getting empty. Government officials denied that the climbing season on the highest mountain in the world was officially ended. “The ones who want to leave will leave and those who want to continue climbing would not be stopped or threatened,” said Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya after a crisis meeting at the basecamp, where he had tried to convince the teams to continue the expeditions. The Sherpas had assured him that there would be no trouble, he said.
Date24. April 2014 | 17:49
TagsAdventure Consultants, Avalanche, Bhim Acharya, IMG, Jagged Globe, Mount Everest, Peak Freaks, RMI, tourism ministry
One crisis meeting leads to another, at Everest basecamp at 5300 meters as well as at the seat of the Nepalese government in Kathmandu. It is still unclear whether there will be attempts to climb the highest mountain in the world via the Nepalese south side this spring. “Most teams are leaving the basecamp. They are afraid that something will happen (many avalanches are still coming down), but also that other Sherpas could punish them for going on”, German reporter Juliane Moecklinghoff, who accompanies the blind Austrian climber Andy Holzer, writes in her Everest diary. “There have been several meetings among the various team leaders, Sirdars and Sherpas but it remains unclear what the final decision will be”, reports Eric Simonson of the expedition organizer International Mountain Guides (IMG). Since the avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall last Friday killed 16 Nepalis, all mountain activities have been resting.
Date23. April 2014 | 15:40