Open letter in the matter of Nims and Shishapangma

Nirmal Purja

Dear Chinese-Tibetan authorities, now it is up to you whether Nirmal, called “Nims” Purja can successfully complete his “Project Possible” – all 14 eight-thousanders in seven months – or not. Today he has also scaled the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain on earth. It was the 13th eight-thousander for the 36-year-old Nepalese since the end of April, when the former soldier of the British Gurkha Regiment opened the dance with his success on Annapurna. Now he is only missing the Shishapangma, with 8,027 meters the “lowest” eight-thousander. And that’s where you come in.

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Summit wave rolling on Manaslu

Rope fixing team, including Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” (r.)

It’s served on the “fall trend eight-thousander” Manaslu. According to the Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks”, a team of five reached today the summit at 8,163 meters. Ngima Dorje Sherpa, Ngima Thenduk Sherpa, Tenji Chhumbi Sherpa, Namja Bhote and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” fixed the ropes up to the highest point in a three-day “tireless effort”, it said. 

Number eight for Ali “Sadpara”

For Muhammad Ali, it was his eighth eight-thousander. The 43-year-old, one of the first winter ascenders of Nanga Parbat in 2016, has now scaled Lhotse, Makalu and Manaslu in Nepal in addition to the five eight-thousanders of his home country Pakistan. 

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Eight-thousander No. 12 for Nirmal Purja

Nirmal Purja on Cho Oyu

The Nepalese climber Nirmal, called “Nims” Purja has filled the dozen. The 36-year-old former soldier of the British Gurkha Regiment scaled today – along with seven other mountaineers – the 8,188-meter-high Cho Oyu in Tibet, the sixth highest mountain on earth. It was the first eight-thousander success in this fall season. Since the end of April, Nims has climbed twelve of the 14 eight-thousanders and is approaching the goal of successfully completing his “Project Possible” – all eight-thousanders in seven months.

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Ski mountaineer Davo Karnicar is dead

Davo Karnicar (1962-2019)

Mourning for Davo Karnicar: The first person to ski from the summit of Mount Everest to the base camp died in a forest accident in his Slovenian hometown of Jezersko. Karnicar succumbed to his severe injuries on Monday. A tree he had tried to cut down with a chainsaw had fallen on him. Davo was 56 years old. He leaves behind seven children from two marriages. 

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Jost Kobusch: “8000 meters would be a mega success”

Jost Kobusch

“For me, time is the key to success,” says Jost Kobusch. And so the 27-year-old German mountaineer will already be heading for Nepal next Sunday – three months before the actual start of his expedition. Jost plans to climb Everest in winter, from the south side, over the Lho La (a 6,000 meter high pass to Tibet) to the West Ridge, through the Hornbein-Couloir to the summit – without bottled oxygen, solo. Beforehand he wants to acclimatize in peace and climb a six- as well as a seven-thousander, in preparation for the highest of all mountains. 

The only mountaineer so far to stand without breathing mask on the 8,850-meter-high summit in winter was the legendary Ang Rita Sherpa, on 22 December 1987, exactly at the beginning of the calendrical winter. Some purists argue that Ang Rita ascended in the meteorological winter (which begins on 1 December), but in the calendrical fall – and that it was therefore, strictly speaking, not an Everest winter ascent. 

Jost Kobusch wants to start his expedition at the beginning of the calendrical winter and finish it before the end of the meteorological winter (29 February). “The beginning of December and March doesn’t feel like winter for me,” says Jost. 

In 2015, Kobusch became internationally known in one fell swoop when he shot a video of the avalanche, which – triggered by the devastating earthquake in Nepal – came down from Pumori, hit the base camp at the foot of Mount Everest and killed 19 people. At that time Kobusch actually wanted to climb Lhotse. In 2016 he scaled Annapurna, his first eight-thousander, without bottled oxygen. In 2017 he succeeded in the first ascent of the 7,321-meter-high Nangpai Gosum II in eastern Nepal, also without breathing mask.

Jost, you haven’t tried an eight-thousander in winter so far. Why immediately Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth? 

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Nirmal Purja’s “Project Possible” becomes a political issue


On his way to number 12. Nirmal, called “Nims” Purja and his team arrived at the base camp at the foot of Manaslu. The 36-year-old Nepalese, an ex-soldier of the British Ghurka regiment, wants to reach the last three summits this fall in the third phase of his “Project Possible” (all 14 eight-thousanders in seven months): Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. The first he will tackle is Manaslu in Nepal, the eighth highest mountain on earth.

260 foreign mountaineers from 26 expedition teams, to whom the Nepalese government has issued permits for this fall, also want to climb the 8,163-meter-high peak. So the Manaslu summit ridge is likely to be crowded once again – especially if the commercial expeditions take the latest findings about the highest point of this mountain seriously and lead their clients far over the ridge to the “real” summit. In recent years, many commercial teams had declared one of the slightly lower elevations on the ridge to be the summit and had turned back from there.

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Steve Swenson after the first ascent of Link Sar: “Maybe my swan song”

Link Sar

I’m not really good at keeping things tidy on my desk, including the digital one. Most of the time my desktop swells over with used pictures and documents – until I lose track of them and finally fill the trash. The adjoining image of Link Sar by Steve Swenson seemed to develop into a “shelf warmer” on my screen. It lay there unused for two years. However, not like most other files because of my sloppiness, but because I was convinced that I would need it one day. Now it’s time. This summer the Americans Swenson, Mark Richey, Graham Zimmerman and Chris Wright succeded the first ascent of the technically extremely difficult 7,041-meter- high Link Sar in northern Pakistan.

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Mingma David Sherpa: Only Shishapangma is still missing

Mingma Gyabu (“David”) Sherpa

Shishapangma, of all places. The lowest of the 14 eight-thousanders is not only one of the three peaks missing from the Nepalese Nirmal “Nims” Purja to successfully complete his “Project Possible” – all 14 eight-thousanders in seven months. One of his faithful helpers, Mingma Gyabu Sherpa, also wants to scale the 8,027-meter-high mountain in Tibet this fall. If successful, Mingma “David”, as he also calls himself, would have completed the 14 eight-thousanders. But it is still uncertain whether the Chinese-Tibetan authorities will really make an exception for Nims’ team. As reported, no permits are supposed to be issued for Shishapangma in the upcoming fall season. In this case, the mountain would remain closed.

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Ski mountaineer Bargiel and speed specialist Jornet want to scale Everest

Mount Everest

For almost nine years the summit of Mount Everest was deserted in fall. That could change now. The Kathmandu-based newspaper „The Himalayan Times“ reports that ten climbers have received permits for the world’s highest mountain for the upcoming season. Among them are Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel and his older brother Grzegorz.

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