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Thomas Huber: “Latok I North Face appears invincible”

On the six-thousander Panmah Kangri

“My tactic of arriving later in the season didn’t work this time,” Thomas Huber tells me after his return from the Karakoram, adding that it was a “fully mixed” expedition. “It started incredibly well, but unfortunately it didn’t end the same way.” As reported before – the 51-year-old, the older of the two Huber brothers, had left at the beginning of August with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl, 59-year-old German climber Rainer Treppte and French cameraman Yannick Boissenot towards Latok I in order to tackle the 7,145-meter-high mountain via the north side.

Date

28. September 2018 | 14:43

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Czechs on Nanga Parbat: “Like frozen fish fillets”

In the Rupal Face

“To paraphrase Shakespeare: living on without summit or voting for death.” This is how Marek Holecek described the decision that he and his team mate Tomas Petrecek had to make last Sunday at the exit of the mighty Rupal Face, 300 meters below the summit of Nanga Parbat. Gusts of wind of up to 100 kilometers per hour blew over the 8,125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan, the ninth highest in the world. After six days in the wall, the two Czech climbers decided to turn around.

Date

5. September 2018 | 12:26

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Latok I: How high did Gukov and Glazunov climb?

Climbing into the fog

No photo, no video, no GPS data. It’s not possible to prove clearly where exactly on the seven-thousander Latok I in the Karakoram the two Russian climbers Alexander Gukov and Sergey Glazunov finished their ascent on 23 July. The GPS tracker didn’t work properly. The mini-camera they had used to document the ascent was carried by Sergey when he fell to his death on 25 July. The body of the 26-year-old could not be recovered. Two days before, the two Russians had reached their highest point in the fog. “By 7 pm, Sergey climbed up a small col between a rock and a snowy serac. I was standing ten meters below him. The snow was almost vertical,” Alexander recalls on “mountain.ru”, where an English translation of his statements was published today.

Date

28. August 2018 | 15:47

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Thomas Huber before his expedition to 7000er Latok I: “Complex and difficult”

Thomas Huber, Rainer Treppte and Simon Gietl (from l. to r.)

Thomas Huber is sitting on packed expedition barrels. “I’m really looking forward to the expedition,” says the 51-year-old. The older of the two Huber brothers is leaving for Pakistan this Saturday. Thomas wants to tackle the northern side of the 7,145-meter-high Latok I – together with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl and climbing old hand Rainer Treppte, aged 59, who comes from Saxony and has been living in the Allgäu region for a long time. “I have already climbed with them,” says Huber about his two climbing partners. Last spring, the trio succeeded in repeating for the first time the difficult “La Strada” route on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites, which the Poles Piotr Edelman and Jan Fialkowski had mastered for the first time in 1988. “We harmonize very well as a team, and we have every chance to tackle such a goal as Latok I,” says Thomas Huber. I also talked to him about the drama on this seven-thousander in the Karakoram that had kept us in suspense for days.

Thomas, yesterday we got the relieving message that the Russian climber Alexander Gukov was rescued from the North Ridge of Latok I. How did you experience this dramatic story?

Date

1. August 2018 | 19:57

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Still no rescue of Gukov possible

The drama on Latok I continues. Another day has passed on which Alexander Gukov is trapped on the North Ridge of the seven-thousander in the Karakoram without any help. Like throughout the weekend, thick clouds today prevented rescue helicopters from approaching the site at around 6,200 meters, where the 42-year-old Russian climber has been staying since Wednesday last week – without food or equipment. The helicopters took off, but returned without getting close to Gukov. “There will be no further attempts today,” mountain.ru reported. “The weather is getting worse.” It’s like bewitched. “Imagine everything is clear, only the Latok is completely in clouds,” said Viktor Koval from the base camp. “The pilots hardly managed to fly away.”

Date

30. July 2018 | 15:20

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Drama on the 7000er Latok I in Pakistan

Gukov’s position on the North Ridge of Latok I (see arrow)

Fingers crossed for Alexander Gukov! According to Anna Piunova from the website mountain.ru, the 42-year-old Russian climber is trapped at 6,200 meters on the North Ridge of the 7145-meter-high Latok I in the Karakoram. Gukov made an emergency call on Wednesday:  “I need help. I need to be evacuated. I’m hanging in the wall without equipment.” His 26-year-old climbing partner Sergey Glazunov fell to his death while abseiling, said Alexander.

Date

26. July 2018 | 21:49

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Hansjörg Auer after his solo success in Pakistan: “The devil never sleeps”

Hansjörg Auer in the West Face of Lupghar Sar West

“It was very, very cool and intense,” Hansjörg Auer tells me. After his successful solo project in the Hunza region in northern Pakistan, the Austrian top climber is back in his native Ötztal. As reported before, the 34-year-old had first climbed the approximately 1,000-meter-high West Face of the rarely attempted 7157-meter-high Lupghar Sar West – solo. First Hansjörg climbed from the base camp to a bivouac site at the foot of the wall at about 6,200 meters. From there he left on 7 July at 5 am and climbed up to the summit in six and a half hours. At 8 pm, Auer was back at the base camp.

Hansjörg, you said in advance that you wanted to know what it’s like to be alone in the wall of a very high mountain. How did you experience it?

Date

25. July 2018 | 13:42

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Summit success reported from Nanga Parbat

Kim Mi-gon

This summer’s first summit success on an eight-thousander in Pakistan has been reported. The Pakistani expedition operator “Summit Karakoram” informed that South Korean Kim Mi-gon, Taiwanese Lu Chung-han and Sanu Sherpa from Nepal had reached the 8125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat on Monday. The 45-year-old Kim thus completed his collection of the 14 eight-thousanders, it said.

Date

10. July 2018 | 22:50

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Climber dies in avalanche in Pakistan

Rescue on 7000er

An Austrian climber was killed in an avalanche accident on the 7,338-meter-high Ultar Sar in the Karakoram. Christian Huber died on Friday when the snow masses hit the tent he and his team-mates Bruce Normand and Timothy Miller had pitched on a ridge at an altitude of 5,800 meters. The two uninjured British and the body of Huber were taken from the mountain this Sunday by a rescue helicopter of the Pakistani army. An army spokesman said it was a “daring mission”. The first emergency call had been received on Saturday morning. Bad weather had prevented the helicopter from taking off earlier.

Date

1. July 2018 | 20:38

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Snow is slowing down climbers in Pakistan

Broad Peak Base Camp in deep snow

Summer in the Karakorum? At the moment it feels more like winter, at least in terms of precipitation. For days Mother Holle has been shaking out her mattress over Pakistan’s highest mountains. “Snowfall all day long”, writes Dominik Müller, head and expedition leader of the German operator Amical alpin at the foot of the eight-thousander Broad Peak. “Our base camp is slowly turning into a winter landscape. Avalanches barrel down from the slopes every hour!” The Austrian expedition leader Lukas Furtenbach, from Broad Peak too, takes the same lime: “Tough weather conditions this year”. The situation on the other eight-thousanders in Pakistan is not different. No matter if from the neighbouring K 2, Gasherbrum I and II or Nanga Parbat – the same messages everywhere: Lots of snow, high avalanche risk.

Date

29. June 2018 | 22:13

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Hansjörg Auer: 7000er solo project in Pakistan

Lupghar Sar in northern Pakistan

“I expect for sure some intensive moments,” says Hansjörg Auer. The 34-year-old extreme climber from Austria set off to Pakistan last weekend for a solo project. Hansjörg will tackle the West Face of the 7,181-meter-high Lupghar Sar West. “For me, it will be a special kind of project to see if I can carry out the next step of my climbing career,” Hansjörg said in a video published on Facebook before his departure.

Date

20. June 2018 | 18:30

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Nanga Parbat: Revol’s anger after the rescue

Elisabeth Revol at the press conference in Chamonix

“We could have saved Tomek.” With this sentence, the French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol has triggered a debate. Could her Polish rope partner Tomek Mackiewicz still be alive, whom, suffering from severe high altitude sickness and slowblindness after their summit success on Nanga Parbat, she had had to leave at 7,200 meters, if the rescue at the end of January had started faster? On the late evening of 25 January, Revol had made several emergency calls. “It’s a race against the clock when you set off a rescue,” Elisabeth said at a press conference in Chamonix on Wednesday. “It took, in fact, 48 hours for something to happen. So clearly I have a lot of anger inside of me – and Tomek could have been saved if it had been a real rescue carried out in time and organized.”

Date

9. February 2018 | 10:42

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Polish K2 winter expedition: A matter of honor

K 2, seen from Base Camp

The “Ice Warriors”, as the Polish winter climbers in the Himalayas and the Karakoram have been called, want to do it again. The last remaining first winter ascent of an eight-thousander is to become a Polish under all circumstances. The state sponsors the prestigious project on K2, with an altitude of 8,611 meters the second highest mountain in the world: the Polish Ministry of Sports and Tourism bears the largest chunk of costs with a cash injection of one million zlotys (almost 240,000 euros). “Because we got the money, we had to follow the idea that it is ​a national expedition,” expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki told desnivel.com (see the video below). All climbers of the K2 winter team are Poles – even Denis Urubko, an avid collector of passports: the native Kazakh received the Russian citizenship in 2013 and in addition the Polish one in 2015.

Date

21. December 2017 | 16:33

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Summit success reported from Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat

It did not let him rest. “This time I have no doubt,” says Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, when he rings me out of bed after midnight our time. “We were at the summit of Nanga Parbat.” The 31-year-old calls me by satellite telephone from Camp 4. The connection is bad, I have to ask several times. Eight climbers were at the highest point, the Nepalese reports. “The weather was very good and the view too.”

Date

3. October 2017 | 1:17

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Alexander Huber: “Climate change is clearly noticeable”

Ogre II and I (r.), they reached the col

Three attempts, then it was over. As reported, Alexander Huber, the Swiss Dani Arnold and the two East Tyroleans Mario Walder and Christian Zenz abandoned their expedition on the 7285-meter-high Ogre I in Pakistan and returned home. They had wanted to reach the summit of the mountain, which so far has been scaled only three times, over the still not mastered East Pillar. I spoke to Alexander, aged 48, the younger of the two Huber brothers, about the failed expedition.

Alexander, you wrote on Facebook that you knew what the mountain wanted to tell you. What was the message?

We set off to the mountain three times and were able to control the situation with maximum risk management three times. But we noticed every time that we were running extremely late. There was only a very short time window to move safely on the mountain. In this case you have to be en route with full steam to get out of the danger zone on time. We did it three times, and it turned out well. But one day it won’t work so well, and then you are in the middle of this extremely dangerous terrain and can not get out.

Date

2. September 2017 | 18:59

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