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Lämmle after Makalu and Lhotse: “Tactics worked”

Thomas Lämmle on top of Lhotse

Having scaled the fifth and fourth highest mountain on earth, without bottled oxygen and a High-Altitude Sherpa by his side – the spring season in Nepal went like clockwork for the German climber Thomas Lämmle. The 52-year-old from the town of Waldburg in Baden-Württemberg summited the 8,485-meter-high Makalu on 13 May. Only eight days later, on 21 May, Thomas stood on top of the 8,516-meter-high Lhotse, in the immediate vicinity of Mount Everest. Lämmle has now scaled seven eight-thousanders after Cho Oyu (in 2003), Gasherbrum II (in 2005 and 2013), Manaslu (in 2008), Shishapangma (in 2013) and Mount Everest (in 2016). I asked him about his experiences.

Thomas, last year your four summit attempts on Makalu failed due to bad weather. How have you been during your successful summit bid this spring?

Date

6. June 2018 | 20:49

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Success on Everest and Lhotse w/o O2, three 8000ers in 25 days

Tenjing Sherpa climbing Everest

The good weather window in the Himalayas is impressively long. Since this spring’s first ascent of Mount Everest on 13 May by the Sherpa team that had fixed the ropes up to the summit on the south side of the mountain, climbers have reached the highest point at 8,850 meters day after day. Several hundred summit successes have since been counted. Today, Tenjing Sherpa also succeeded, without bottled oxygen. The 26-year-old wants to climb directly afterwards the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse, if conditions allow it. According to Iswari Poudel, managing director of the expedition organizer “Himalayan Guides”, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, just like Tenjing, reached the summit without breathing mask today. It was already Lakpa’s third (!) Everest ascent this season, Poudel said.

Date

24. May 2018 | 14:02

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Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours

Tendi Sherpa on Lhotse

The fast double pack connecting the highest and the fourth highest mountain on earth becomes more and more popular. This spring season, several climbers scaled the 8,516-meter high Lhotse, after they had been on the 8,850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest a day earlier. The new “Seven Summits” record holder Steve Plain from Australia and Brit Jon Gupta started the line on 14/15 May (see the video below). The Nepalese expedition leader Tendi Sherpa and US climber Mat Wood managed the feat on 18/19 May. Finally, on Sunday/Monday, the American Matt Moniz and his Argentinian mentor Willie Benegas followed.

Date

22. May 2018 | 14:50

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Moniz/Benegaz: Everest summit success after all

Willie Benegas (l.) and Matt Moniz (r.)

All’s well that ends well. Today, 20-year-old American Matt Moniz and his mentor, 49-year-old Argentine Willie Benegas, reached the 8,850-meter summit of Mount Everest. “0459 Summit! We’re on top of the world,” Matt tweeted. On Wednesday, the two climbers also want to scale neighboring Lhotse (8,516 m) , the fourth highest mountain on earth. As reported, the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism had considered revoking Moniz’ and Benegas’ climbing permits. The reason: They had skied down the Lhotse flank during an acclimatization climb – without having a so-called “ski permit”. However, only a few knew about the existence of such a special permit. After about 150 Climbing Sherpas had campaigned for Matt and Willie in an open letter to the Ministry of Tourism for Matt and Willie, the people in charge gave in talking about a “very innocent mistake”. The way for today’s Everest summit attempt was free.

Date

20. May 2018 | 17:51

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Thomas Lämmle successful on Makalu

Thomas Lämmle on top of Makalu

Persistence pays off. The German high altitude climber Thomas Lämmle reached, as he wrote on Facebook yesterday, on last Sunday the 8,485 meter high summit of Makalu, the fifth highest mountain on earth. The 52-year-old from the city of Waldburg in Baden-Württemberg climbed without bottled oxygen and Sherpa support. Last year, Thomas had returned empty-handed from Makalu after four summit attempts, all of which had failed due to bad weather. Now, according to his own words, he also wants to tackle Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world, “before the snowfall – means May 21st”. Makalu was Lämmle’s sixth eight-thousander after Cho Oyu (in 2003), Gasherbrum II (in 2005 and 2013), Manaslu (in 2008), Shishapangma (in 2013) and Mount Everest (in 2016).

Date

18. May 2018 | 11:53

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Summit success on Lhotse, death on Dhaulagiri

Lhotse (in the sun)

The early eight-thousander bird catches the worm. Mingma Gyalje Sherpa once again lived up to his reputation as an early starter and booked the first eight-thousander summit success of this spring season on the 8516-meter-high Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world. “We are on Lhotse summit now,” wrote the 32-year-old on Sunday morning on Facebook. “Thanks to ‘Madission‘ team for their hard work till 7800m and our team for further hard work till summit. Imagine Trek & Expedition team rocks.” Mingma is the head and expedition leader of the Nepalese operator.

Date

30. April 2018 | 10:56

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Waiting for first summit attempts on Everest and Lhotse

High Camp in the Western Cwm

The preliminary work on Mount Everest and Lhotse is entering the final phase. According to Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator “Imagine”, today ten Sherpas were to climb up to Everest South Col at about 8,000 meters to pitch up Camp 4 . “Kilu Pemba and myself will fix Lhotse Camp 4,” Mingma wrote on Facebook yesterday. He wants to lead two Chinese clients to the 8516-meter-high summit of Lhotse. Five more Chinese from his team will tackle Mount Everest, including – as reported – the double amputee Xia Boyu, aged 69. Mingma is known as an early starter at the eight-thousanders. “I am quite sure that we will be the first team on the summit of Lhotse,” he told me in March when we met in Kathmandu. “We are planning to reach it at the end of April or in the first week of May.”

Date

27. April 2018 | 16:50

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Everest evergreen Kuriki: Eighth attempt

Kuriki en route to Everest

He kept his word. At the end of the 2017 spring season, Nobukazu Kuriki had promised after his seventh failed attempt on Mount Everest: “I’ll be back.” Now the 35-year-old Japanese is again on the way to the base camp on the Nepalese south side, where he is expected on Thursday. To pre-acclimatize, Nobukazu had climbed in late March in four days to the summit of the 6038-meter-high Chulu Far East in the Annapurna region. As on his previous Everest attempts, Nobukazu wants to be en route on the highest of all mountains solo and without bottled oxygen. First, he plans to climb to the top of the 8516-meter-high Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on earth, Kuriki writes on Facebook. Afterwards he wants to return to the base camp and then tackle Everest. Only immediately before his departure, Nobukazu wants to reveal his climbing route. “I will not give up,” he announced almost defiantly.

Date

24. April 2018 | 15:44

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Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: “Discounters are dealing with people’s life”

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

His secret of success? “Actually this is my job, because I run a company. So I need to lead my clients to the summit,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa tells me as we sit opposite each other in a café in Kathmandu. In recent years, the 31-year-old has blossomed to the high-flyer among the Sherpas. In fall 2015, he succeeded the first ascent of the West Face of the 6685-meter-high Chobutse in Rolwaling, his home valley – and he did it alone. It was the first solo ascent of a Sherpa in Nepal. Even as an expedition leader, he made headlines. In 2017, no one climbed so often above the magical 8,000-meter-mark as Mingma. The head of the expedition operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition” entered the death zone six times: on Dhaulagiri, Makalu, K2, Broad Peak and twice on Nanga Parbat. Four times he reached the summit (Dhaulagiri, Makalu, K2, Nanga Parbat), the fifth ascent on Broad Peak is disputed. “I will return to this mountain this year,” Mingma announces. “Actually I am quite sure that we made the summit. But this time, I want to reach the highest point of Broad Peak without any doubt, on the one hand to end the debate, on the other for my own satisfaction.”

Date

18. March 2018 | 18:56

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Jornet and Holzer on Everest, Revol on the Lhotse

Mount Everest

The summit of Mount Everest was probably quite crowded today. From the north side, maybe 60 climbers tried to reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters, Ralf Dujmovits wrote on Instagram. The number of summit aspirants on the Nepali south side might have been much higher. Dujmovits, the so far only German who has climbed all 14 eight-thousanders, wants to reach the summit of Everest without bottled oxygen. The 55-year-old plans to wait for the current run being over and only then start his own attempt: “At my age climbing without supplemental oxygen one needs to climb at a very steady pace – can’t speed up for overtaking (loosing too much body warmth) or can’t wait at typical cueing points (loosing body warmth by just waiting).”

Date

22. May 2017 | 13:38

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That’s not on!

Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu (from l. to r.)

In the next few days there will surely be a lot of success reports on the eight-thousanders. Before we switch to the congratulation mode, unfortunately, we have to bring up some painful objects of commercial climbing. I’m really not a moralizer, but some news from the last few days have raised my concern – especially today’s tweet by Tim Mosedale. “Ronnie & Pemba have arrived at Lhotse high camp to find that some scumbags have nicked the supply of oxygen. Completely unacceptable”, writes the British expedition leader, who summited Mount Everest on Wednesday for the sixth time. And he sent another tweet: “Stealing Os jeopardises lives of other climbers. If it’s an emergency let us know and of course we’ll help. Taking it is utterly disgraceful.” It’s really shocking, absolutely negligent and inexcusable that egoism on the mountain goes so far that even oxygen bottles are stolen. This does not show the attitude of some (hopefully only a few) climbers on the highest mountains on earth in a very favourable light. This also applies to what happened in the failed summit attempt on Kangchenjunga last Tuesday.

Incorrect information in the highest camp

Chris Jensen Burke

The Australian Chris Jensen Burke reports in her blog, a leader of another group had told them in the last camp below the summit that ropes had been fixed up to 8,100 meters on the previous day. Therefore it would not be necessary to take all ropes available in the camp, he added – and that no Sherpas would have to ascend long before the clients of the commercial expeditions. Half a day later this turned out to be simply wrong. As a result, there was a “conga-line” (Chris) at an altitude of about 8,000 meters: ahead the Sherpas, who still had to secure the route, behind them the summit aspirants of the different teams. Then, in consequence of the incorrect information at the high camp, the ropes ran out. The summit attempt had to be abandoned, all climbers descended.

No trace of appreciation

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Maya Sherpa (from l. to r.)

“Why were we given incorrect information?,” Chris Jensen Burke asks. “I have to believe inexperience played a key part, and there must have been no appreciation by the chap of the consequences.” No trace of teamwork. However, also the comment of a client quoted by Chris make me shake my head: “If a route setter knows climbers are coming up behind them, they should move faster.” These words are short of any respect for the work of the Sherpas. And the question must be allowed: What’s about the self-responsibility of the clients?

Among those who turned back on Kangchenjunga were the three Nepalese Maya Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita and Dawa Yangzum Sherpa. Today they decided to leave the mountain because of the rather bad weather forecasts. “It’s clearly a very disappointing decision, and we would obviously wish that we could return with a summit,” the Sherpani trio wrote on Facebook.

Date

20. May 2017 | 20:26

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Summit attempt on the Annapurna Northwest Face is on

Annapurna

The good weather window predicted for the coming weekend has not only led to a huge number of teams starting their summit attempts on Mount Everest. Also on other eight-thousanders climbers have left the base camps. On Makalu, for example, the German Thomas Laemmle, who is climbing solo and without bottled oxygen, has today pitched up his tent already far up, on Makalu La at 7,400 meters. On Dhaulagiri, the 78-year-old Spaniard Carlos Soria and his team-mates are planning to reach the summit on Sunday. On Annapurna, the Pole Adam Bielecki, the Briton Rick Allen and the German Felix Berg have started their summit attempt on Wednesday.

Date

19. May 2017 | 16:38

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Summit, summit, summit …

Dominik Mueller on Everest

There’s been a hail of success reports from Nepal. Especially from Mount Everest. Dozens of climbers reached the summit at 8,850 meters from both the Tibetan north side and the Nepalese south side. Among them was the Romanian Horia Colibasanu, the first mountaineer to have climbed Everest this spring without bottled oxygen. “It was very, very hard and very, very cold,” the 40-year-old informed on Facebook. For Colibasanu it was the eighth eight-thousander. He ascended from the north, as did the German expedition leader Dominik Mueller. The 46-year-old head of the operator Amical alpin reached the summit along with a client, both of them used bottle oxygen.

Date

16. May 2017 | 14:08

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Steck before Everest expedition: “Rather late than early”

Ueli Steck

He looks forward, not back. “I will never forget what happened on Everest in 2013,” the Swiss top climber Ueli Steck tells me. “But I believe I will have absolutely no problem with it. It’s over. I’m very motivated and I’ll go with a very good feeling.” In spring 2013, a Sherpa mob had attacked Steck, the Italian Simone Moro and the Briton Jonathan Griffith and had threatened them with death. This spring, Ueli will return to the highest mountain on earth. His goal: the traverse of Mount Everest and Lhotse. The 40-year-old will climb with Tenji Sherpa, with whom he had already scaled Everest without bottled oxygen in 2012. The 24-year-old belongs to “a new generation of Sherpas, who really enjoy climbing and are not only interested in doing business,” says Ueli. “I’m really looking forward to being en route with him.”

As reported, Steck had completed an intensive training camp with the German David Goettler and the Italian Hervé Barmasse in the Khumbu area in February. Subsequently, Ueli returned to Switzerland for a few weeks. He will set off to Kathmandu on 8 April.

Ueli, during the training Camp in Nepal in February you ran and climbed a total of about 250 kilometers with 15,000 meters in elevation. How much has been added since then?

Date

21. March 2017 | 15:18

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Special expedition training

Barmasse, Steck, Tenji Sherpa and Goettler (from l. to r.)

What a high-caliber training group! The Swiss Ueli Steck, the Nepalese Tenji Sherpa, the German David Goettler and the Italian Hervé Barmasse have been preparing themselves for their expeditions in spring in the village of Chukhung in the Everest region for ten days. Steck and Tenji Sherpa plan to traverse Mount Everest and Lhotse. No one has yet managed to do this without bottled oxygen. Goettler and Barmasse want to open a new route via the Shishapangma South Face in Tibet. In the course of the training, mountain running was at the focus. “I ran three times from Chukhung (4,730 meters) to Island Peak (6,180 meters),” writes Ueli. He had climbed and run a total of about 12,000 vertical meters over a distance of around 150 kilometers. “My body and my soul feel great,” says Steck. “I really enjoy being here in Nepal with such good friends. Just climb and run and nothing else.”

Date

21. February 2017 | 14:29

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