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with Stefan Nestler

Without O2: The Everest summit pushs of Dujmovits and Co. are on

Ralf Dujmovits, in the background Mount Everest

If everything works, there could be a “topless” party on the summit of Mount Everest next Saturday. Some climbers who want to scale the highest mountain on earth without breathing mask have started their summit attempts. Among those who set off from the Advanced Base Camp on the Tibetan north side was Ralf Dujmovits. The 55-year-old, so far the only German who has scaled all 14 eight-thousanders, wants to succeed in his eighth attempt climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen. In his successful attempt in fall 1992, Ralf had used a breathing mask above the South Col, due to bad weather. All other eight-thousanders he had climbed without bottled oxygen. His plan now: today North Col (7,050 m), tomorrow Camp 2 (7,700 m), on Friday Camp 3 (8,300 m) and on Saturday “hopefully towards the summit” (8,850 m), as Ralf writes to me: “I am confident, I feel good and I think that the extremely warm temperatures (probably minus 20 degrees Celsius) might help me.”

Another speed ascent of Kilian Jornet?

The Americans Adrian Ballinger und Cory Richards have the same schedule as Dujmovits. In spring 2016, Richards had reached the summit without bottled oxygen, Ballinger had had to turn back. There is continuing speculation that the Spaniard Kilian Jornet might set off for a second attempt to improve his ascent time from last Monday. Despite of stomach ache, the 29-year old had run and climbed from Rongbuk Monastery at 5,100 meters up to the summit in only 26 hours – without breathing mask.

Unstoppable Revol

South side of Mount Everest

Also on the Nepalese south side, some mountaineers who want to climb without bottled oxygen have chosen Saturday as summit day. In case of success the Spaniard Ferran Latorre would complete his eight-thousander collection and then would have scaled all the 14 highest mountains on earth without breathing mask. Yannick Graziani and Elisabeth Revol, both from France, want to ascend without supplemental oxygen too. Elisabeth seems to be unstoppable this spring. On Makalu she had reached the foresummit, afterwards she had made it to the summit of Lhotse.

Kuriki down, not up

The Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki, also en route without breathing mask, who originally wanted to reach the summit already on Thursday, descended from his camp at 7,200 meters on the West Ridge to a lower camp, due to physical problems. That was announced by the team of the 34-year-old that had informed some hours earlier Kuriki had started climbing further up. The Japanese wants to make the first solo ascent on the Hornbein Route: via the West Ridge, crossing into the North Face, through the Hornbein Couloir to the summit. This would be the first re-run of the route which the Americans Tom Hornbein and Willy Unsoeld had opened in 1963 (with bottled oxygen). In a failed attempt on the same route in fall 2012, Kuriki had suffered severe frostbite so that nine of his ten fingers had had to be amputated.

Four more dead

The Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times” reports that four climbers were found dead in their tent on the South Col – two Sherpas and two foreign clients. Presumably they died of suffocation. This recalls an incident last year on Makalu  , where two Sherpas from a German expedition team had died in a high camp of carbon monoxide poisoning. Thus the number of this spring’s fatalities on Everest has risen to ten.


24. May 2017 | 12:43