Dispute over the rescue operation on Annapurna

Annapurna Base Camp

Mountains are rarely only black and white, neither is reality. Even if we would prefer to see them all black or white, they remain grey in many places – depending on which glasses we look through, more black or white. For days there has been a lot of discussion in the mountaineering scene about the rescue of the Malaysian climber Wui Kin Chin from high altitude on the eight-thousander Annapurna. The 49-year-old is now being treated in a hospital in Singapore. Even though he seems to be doing better, his condition yesterday was still described as serious. According to the doctors, the frostbite he has suffered on his hands and feet during more than 40 hours at 7,500 meters is massive. The fact that Chin survived is almost a small miracle.

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Rescue on Annapurna: Miracle with question marks

Helicopter rescue on the long rope

Many call it the “little miracle” on Annapurna. For more than 43 hours, Malaysian mountaineer Wui Kin Chin survived at an altitude of 7,500 meters – left alone, without a tent, without bottled oxygen, without water. On Thursday, he was discovered by helicopter during a search flight. A four-man Nepalese rescue team – Nirmal Purja, Mingma David Sherpa, Galgen Sherpa and Gesman Tamang – was dropped at Camp 3 at 6,500 meters, climbed up to Chin in strong winds, provided first aid and then took him down to Camp 3 until late in the night.

From there, the 49-year-old was flown yesterday to a hospital in Kathmandu after a stopover at base camp. According to the doctors, he arrived at the hospital in a critical condition, with low heart rate and body temperature and frostbite on his hands and feet. The fact that he is still alive is due to the great performance of the rescue team, including the helicopter pilots of “Simrik Air”.

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Successful rescue operation on Annapurna

Wui Kin Chin (l.) on the summit of Annapurna

Relief on the eight-thousander Annapurna: Wui Kin Chin from Malaysia, who was missing after summiting the 8091-meter-high mountain on Tuesday, is alive. A Nepalese rescue team found the 49-year-old mountaineer at an altitude of 7,500 meters and now takes him further down.  Their goal is to reach Camp 3 at 6,500 meters. From there the Malaysian is to be flown out by helicopter tomorrow.

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Summit successes reported from Annapurna

Annapurna Base Camp

From the west of Nepal, the first eight-thousander summit successes of the spring season are reported. The Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks” announced on Facebook that 31 mountaineers had reached the highest point at 8,091 meters today. Among the 14 foreign climbers mentioned is the Turk Tunc Findik. If the summit success of the 47-year-old is confirmed, it would be his twelfth eight-thousander. Only Nanga Parbat and the Gasherbrum I are then still missing in his collection.

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Lama, Auer, and Roskelley: Avalanche death on descent

Howse Peak

Hope had already been gone before, but now it is sad certainty: The two Austrians David Lama (28 years old) and Hansjörg Auer (35) as well as the US-American Jess Roskelley (36) died in an avalanche on Howse Peak. On Sunday, a rescue team found the bodies of the three top climbers at the foot of the 3,295 meter high mountain in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. “The avalanche conditions were hazardous to the rescue team, so a specially trained avalanche dog was used to locate the climbers,” says a statement by the Roskelley family.

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Happy Easter!

I wish you all and your loved ones Happy Easter. And the “Picasso from the river Rhine” ? is confronting you with another easter riddle: Which mountain have I conjured onto the egg?

Mourning for extreme climbers Lama, Auer and Roskelley

David Lama, Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer (from left to right)

Officially David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley are still missing. But there is no hope that the three climbers survived the avalanche on the 3,295-meter-high Howse Peak. The still high avalanche danger in the Canadian Rocky Mountains has not yet allowed a recovery. Parks Canada, the national park authority of the Canadian government, has closed the area.

The shock is deep in the mountaineering scene. “Three of the best alpinists in the world lost in one unfortunate accident”, writes US climber Alex Honnold. “The three missing mountaineers were no doubt a great asset of our community,” adds Pakistani top mountaineer Muhammad Ali “Sadpara”, who is currently en route on the eight-thousander Makalu in Nepal. “The gap they created can never be bridged.”

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Avalanche in Canada: Almost no hope for Lama, Auer and Roskelley anymore

The East Face of Howse Peak

The international mountaineering scene is shocked. The top climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer from Austria and Jess Roskelley from the USA most probably died in an avalanche accident on the 3,295-meter-high Howse Peak in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. “Based on the assessment of the scene, all three members of the party are presumed to be deceased,” Parks Canada, the national park authority of the Canadian government, announced. Equipment had been discovered in a huge avalanche cone during a reconnaissance flight, it said: “Further investigation is underway but recovery efforts are not currently possible due to additional avalanches and dangerous conditions at the scene.”

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Lama, Auer and Roskelley missed in Canada

David Lama

The international mountaineering and climbing scene fears for three of their best. According to media reports from Austria and Italy, the two Austrians David Lama and Hansjörg Auer as well as the American Jess Roskelley are said to have been caught by an avalanche while climbing in western Canada. Official information is not yet available.

The “Tiroler Tageszeitung” from Austria reported that the huge avalanche cone had already been searched yesterday, Wednesday, by rescue planes – without success. The “Kronenzeitung”, from Austria too, reported that the 35-year-old Auer had died in the accident, citing its own information. David Lama’s manager announced a statement by the family on the 28-year-old’s homepage, but without naming a time.

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David Göttler will try Everest without bottled oxygen

David Göttler

It could be another record season on Mount Everest. Until last Tuesday, the Ministry of Tourism in Kathmandu alone issued 374 climbing permits for the south side of the world’s highest mountain. On the north side, the Chinese-Tibetan authorities have limited the number of climbing permits to 300 this spring. Last year, according to the mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, 802 climbers reached the summit at 8,850 meters, only one without bottled oxygen: 32-year-old Sonam Finju Sherpa.

This season, too, only a few mountaineers will try to scale Everest without breathing mask. One of them will be David Göttler, who arrived in Kathmandu today. “Nowadays many people think it’s easy because there’s no differentiation between oxygen aspirants and the few without,” the 40-year-old German. “But to make it to the top ‘without diving equipment’ is still not easy. Everything has to fit. And so it would also mean an awful lot to me to reach the summit.” 

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Where to with the dirty K2 laundry?

Clouds on K2

It’s quite normal that mountaineers return from an expedition with dirty clothes. After all, it’s important to travel with as little weight as possible. And that’s why, after the trip, the strong smell in the laundry room at home from clothes worn too long is simply part of it. But is it really necessary to wash your dirty laundry in public? For days, the members of the two recently failed K2 winter expeditions have been engaged in a media exchange of blows. With the meanwhile almost usual echo on the social networks – from people who weren’t there, but think they have to put their oar in.

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Lhakpa Sherpa not on Everest this spring

Lhakpa Sherpa

Mount Everest is fascinating, for many – like the more than 300 foreign mountaineers who will attempt to climb it this spring from Nepal alone – even a life’s dream. In the end, however, it remains only a mountain. And there are more important things in life. Also for Lhakpa Sherpa.  The 45-year-old native of Nepal actually wanted to travel to Tibet again these days in order to reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters for the tenth time and thus improve her record:  Lhakpa is the woman with the most Everest ascents in the world.

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Mr. Hong and his wall

Sung Taek Hong in a Gompa in the Khumbu region

He’s back. The South Korean Sung Taek Hong has again pitched up his base camp at the foot of the huge Lhotse South Face. For the sixth time, the 52-year-old has traveled to Nepal to tackle the 3,300-meter-high, extremely challenging eight-thousander wall. This time Hong has gathered an international team. As in his last attempt in fall 2017, he is joined by Jorge Egocheaga, a very experienced high-altitude climber:  The 50-year-old Spaniard has already stood on the summits of all 14 eight-thousanders. Only on Everest he used bottled oxygen.

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On the Everest record track

Kami Rita Sherpa

The route is ready for the commercial expeditions on the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest. The “Icefall Doctors have completed their job. The team of eight specialized Sherpas secured the route through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall up to Camp 2 at about 6,400 meters with fixed ropes and ladders. Now the summit aspirants can come. To a certain extent en passant, namely at work, some climbers from Nepal will probably improve their records during this spring season. Kami Rita “Topke” Sherpa will be en route with an expedition of the Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks and – if everything goes according to plan – will reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters for the 23rd time.

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All 8,000 in seven months? The clock’s ticking

Nirmal Purja on the slopes of Annapurna

How possible is the impossible? Nirmal, called Nims Purja has baptized his challenge “Project possible”. In just seven months, the 36-year-old wants to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. That sounds wacky, if not crazy. By the beginning of June, the Nepalese wants to have scaled six eight-thousanders in his home country: Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga. In summer, the five Pakistani eight-thousanders are to follow: Nanga Parbat, K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II. And in fall he wants to complete his collection by summiting Manaslu, Shishapangma and Cho Oyu. „I firmly believe that everything in life is possible armed only with a determined approach and positive mindset,” says Nims.

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