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Nanga Parbat: Nardi and Co. again in Camp 3

Daniele Nardi in Camp 3

While the winter expedition teams at the eight-thousanders K2 and Manaslu have only just moved into their base camps, the Italian Daniele Nardi and his three companions on Nanga Parbat are in a more advanced phase. Today Daniele, the Brit Tom Ballard and the two Pakistani mountaineers Rahmat Ullah Baig and Karim Hayat ascended again to Camp 3 at 5,700 meters, directly below the Mummery Rib. Five days ago, the four climbers had deposited a tent there and then returned to base camp.

Date

15. January 2019 | 21:03

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Winter expeditions are on

Alex Txikon (l.) and Simone Moro in Lhukla

Several winter expeditions in the Himalayas and Karakoram started in the first days of the year. Two of the three climbers who had succeeded the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat in 2016 met in Lhukla in Nepal, however now with different goals: The Spaniard Alex Txikon wants to tackle K2 in Pakistan, the last remaining eight-thousander to be climbed for the first time in the cold season, the Italian Simone Moro is drawn to Manaslu again. The 51-year-old and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger had failed on the 8167-meter-high mountain in western Nepal in 2015 because of the enormous snow masses of that winter. This year, according to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, Moro plans to climb with the Nepalese Pemba Gyalje Sherpa on the normal route without bottled oxygen. In order to acclimatize, they wanted to climb the 6,476-meter-high Mera Peak in the Khumbu region.

Date

4. January 2019 | 14:06

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40 years ago: Secret matter Cho Oyu Southeast Face

Edi Koblmüller on the summit of Cho Oyu in 1978

Only the spouses were in the know. The three Austrians Edi Koblmüller, Alois Furtner and Gerhard Haberl as well as the two Germans Herbert Spousta and Peter von Gizycki had agreed on strict secrecy. After all, the eight-thousander Cho Oyu was not open to climbers in Nepal in 1978. So the five climbers disguised themselves as trekking tourists and hiked to Gokyo. Their actual destination was a few kilometers behind: the 3,000-meter-high Southeast Face of the 8,188-meter-high Cho Oyu. “I was obsessed with this idea,” Alois Furtner, who reached the summit with Koblmüller on 27 October 1978, writes to me. The others turned around about 200 meters below the summit. “Friends of ours later called it a ‘century adventure’. Today I know that it was a very courageous undertaking,” recalls the now 70-year-old Furtner. “At that time I was so determined and focused that it had to happen. Just as a pregnant woman has to give birth to her child, I had to realize this plan in a similar way. And I succeeded.”

Date

30. December 2018 | 14:10

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“School up!”: Symbol of hope

If I could write a wish list for Christmas now, it would say: “Please don’t forget the children of Thulosirubari!” For two years now, the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” has been building the new school for more than 500 children and young people in the small mountain village about 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. This was made possible by your donations for “School up!”, the aid project that I launched together with the professional mountaineers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits after the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015. The money we collect ends up in Thulosirubari and is used exclusively for the new construction.

Date

19. December 2018 | 17:21

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David Lama after his solo first ascent of Lunag Ri: “Most intense time”

The last meters to the summit of Lunag Ri (picture taken by a drone)

“I traverse the last few metres over wind packed snow that sticks to the granite on the Nepalese side of the mountain. Even though my head is full with the impressions that I absorb every moment up here, my thoughts are somehow empty. The knowledge that I must not make any mistake is constantly present and dominates all other feelings. It results in an intense, almost exhausting concentration – a feeling I know only from other solo ascents in the mountains,” Austrian top climber David Lama writes on his website about the moment when the 28-year-old was the first to set his foot on the summit of the 6,907-metre-high Lunag Ri about a month ago (see video below). The technically difficult mountain is located in the Rolwaling Himal on the border between Nepal and Tibet, more than 35 kilometers as the crow flies northwest of Mount Everest. “Having arrived at the very front of the summit spur, I stand still. It feels strange that suddenly I have no more further to go. I sink down to my knees, tired and happy, even though I wouldn’t be able to express it that way right now. Briefly I think about Conrad. He is the only one I would have liked to share this moment with.”

Date

27. November 2018 | 13:06

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David Lama: Lunag Ri, third take!

David Lama

There is a proverb in German speaking countries saying: “Three times is divine”. Once again David Lama is currently tackling the still unclimbed 6895-meter-high Lunag Ri in Nepal – however, this time on his own from the very beginning. The technically difficult mountain is located in the Rolwaling Himal on the border between Nepal and Tibet, more than 35 kilometers as the crow flies northwest of Mount Everest. In 2015 and in 2016, the 28-year-old top climber from Austria had failed on the “almost seven-thousander”, both times about 300 meters below the summit – on the first attempt via the Northeast Ridge along with the experienced American climber Conrad Anker. Lama and Anker had also been team mates for the second try, but Conrad had suffered a heart attack on the mountain and had had to leave the expedition prematurely. David had then tried to reach the highest point solo over a slightly modified route – in vain. He had run out of time and strength.

Date

10. October 2018 | 16:17

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Reportedly first summit success on Manaslu

Manaslu (l.) and Pinnacle East (r.)

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.

Date

25. September 2018 | 15:22

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“School up!”: First floor slab is finished

Construction side in Thulosirubari (on the right the two already completed school buildings)

“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.

Date

25. September 2018 | 7:12

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New guidelines for helicopter rescue on Nepal’s mountains

Rescue flight on Everest

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.

Date

3. September 2018 | 15:36

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Fight against fake rescue flights in Nepal

Rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp

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.

Not practicable

Lakpa Norbu Sherpa (r.) and Maurizio Folini

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.

Date

26. August 2018 | 17:22

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“School up!”: Base plate is concreted

The bricks are already there

Your donations for our aid project “School up!” continue to work. The base plate for the third section of the new school in the small mountain village of Thulosirubari, 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, has now been concreted. In the next step, the bricks for the walls of the first floor will be laid. Ralf Dujmovits – the so far only German climber to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders – and I had laid the foundation stone for the third construction phase with another eight classrooms in mid-March. At that time, the first two buildings had been festively inaugurated.

Date

2. August 2018 | 10:49

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48 hours, two German women, one summit: Mount Everest

South side of Mount Everest

It would not have taken much more for the two women from Germany to shake hands on the roof of the world. Within 48 hours Ingrid Schittich at first, then Susanne Müller-Zantop reached the 8850-meter-high summit of Mount Everest last spring: Schittich on 15 May from the Tibetan north side, Müller-Zantop on 17 May from the Nepalese south side. They didn’t know about each other. Billi Bierling, head of the mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, first drew their attention to the fact that they had narrowly missed each other on Everest.

Date

20. July 2018 | 15:56

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“School up!” – Building No. 3 is growing

Shyam Pandit (l.) at the construction site at Thulosirubari

The construction work is going smoothly,” writes Shyam Pandit, liaison man of the German aid organisation Nepalhilfe Beilngries” in Nepal. In Thulosirubari, a small mountain village about 70 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu, the third part of the new school with eight additional classrooms is being built. The foundations are laid, the base plate is soon to be concreted. If all goes well, this third building could be ready by 2019. The first two buildings with classrooms for twelve school classes were – as reported – ceremonially inaugurated in March. At that time Ralf Dujmovits, the only German climber so far who stood on all 14 eight-thousanders, and I laid the foundation stone for the next construction phase in Thulosirubari.

Date

29. June 2018 | 10:00

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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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Still no trace of Boyan Petrov

Rescue helicopters from Nepal at the foot of Shishapangma

Nobody puts it bluntly. But to be honest, the hope of finding the most successful Bulgarian high altitude climber Boyan Petrov alive on the eight-thousander Shishapangma in Tibet is beginning to fade. On 3 May, nine days ago, the 45-year-old was last seen by telescope from the base camp. Since then, there has been no trace of Boyan. Bad weather had delayed the rescue operation for days. On Saturday, two helicopters of the Nepali company Simrik Air, specialized in rescue operations, started to search for Petrov. Without success. What the crew members found, photographed and filmed as “suspicious objects” near Camp 3 at an altitude of about 7,300 meters, turned out to be stones and rocks when the material was subsequently viewed. The helicopter teams had to return to the Nepalese capital because the fuel ran out. “We are standby at Kathmandu for the same mission,” Simrik Air said. Also the rescue team on the slopes on the mountain, three Sherpas and three Chinese climbers, have not yet found Petrov. The rescuers were spending the night in Camp 2. On Sunday, the search is to be continued.

Date

12. May 2018 | 21:17

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