Expedition hotspot K2

The 8,611-meter-high K2 in the Karakoram (in summer 2004)

Will K2 become a bestseller like Mount Everest? No, I don’t have to formulate that as a question anymore. The 8,611-meter-high mountain on the border between Pakistan and China is already a big seller among commercial expedition operators. Karrar Haidri, head of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, told the Pakistani newspaper “The News” that this summer more than 400 climbers would attempt to climb the second highest mountain on earth. By comparison, Nepal’s government issued 325 climbing permits for the past spring season on Everest, compared with 408 in the record year of 2021.

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Tom Matthews after Everest scientific expedition: “It was humbling”

New weather station at the so-called "Bishop Rock" near the summit of Mount Everest
New weather station at the so-called “Bishop Rock” near the summit of Mount Everest

The icy ground is melting away from Everest Base Camp on the south side of the mountain in Nepal. For this reason, the Ministry of Tourism in Kathmandu is considering moving the camp’s location away from the glacier to ice-free ground in the future. The site behind the last inhabited settlement of Gorak Shep is reportedly under discussion, at an altitude of around 5,200 meters – at the foot of the popular hill Kala Patthar (5,645 m), from whose highest point many trekking tourists enjoy the view of Mount Everest. The possible move was triggered by the effects of climate change.

“I remember not many years ago when kitchen staff used to collect big pieces of ice, and boil them in huge pots to make water. These days, we can fetch water directly from Khumbu glacier,” Khimlal Gautam writes in the Everest Chronicle portal. The surveyor, who stood on Everest in 2011 and 2019, spent the entire past spring season at the base camp – as a member of that commission of the Ministry of Tourism, which now recommended moving the base camp to lower regions.

British climate scientist Tom Matthews stood on the summit of Everest at 8,849 meters this spring. The 36-year-old mounted a weather station with teammates from the National Geographic science expedition at an altitude of 8,810 meters, not far from the summit. In spring 2019, Tom had already installed a station on the so-called “Balcony” at about 8,400 meters, but it had survived only a few months. Matthews answered my questions.

Tom, What was it like for you as a scientist to stand on the highest point on earth?

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New aid project in Nepal: “School up – far west”

Lessons in the provisional school in Rama
Lessons in the provisional school in Rama

“Our village children attend a school with inadequate facilities. The roof leaks, the classrooms are too small. There is a lack of school furniture, of toilets and much more,” says Him Bahadur Shahi from the small mountain village of Rama. “We have a high proportion of school dropouts due to a variety of social factors, including a lack of adequate educational facilities. Having a full-service school would benefit our community and encourage students to finish their school studies.“

Over the next two years, the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” plans to build two more building wings around the existing school building – with toilets and water supply. With my new “School up” project I would like to support this school construction.

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Apparently second shoe of Günther Messner found on Nanga Parbat

The shoe now found

“Last week, the second shoe of my brother Günther was found at the foot of the Diamir glacier by local people. After fifty-two years. The Nanga Parbat tragedy remains as well as Günther forever.” With these words, mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner commented today on social media on the image of an old mountaineering boot on a large boulder. He had been sent the photo, the 77-year-old South Tyrolean told the German Press Agency (dpa). He will personally pick up the shoe in Pakistan, but there is no hurry, Messner said.

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Peter Riemann and the mystery of his winter coup on Cho Oyu

Peter Riemann (Cho Oyu in the background)
Peter Riemann (Cho Oyu in the background)

Is Peter Riemann now sitting in heaven chatting with Cho Oyu, the “Goddess of Turquoise”, about his solo winter ascent of the eight-thousander in the border region between Nepal and Tibet? Probably, however, he doesn’t make much fuss about it up there either. “He was pretty private and not at all boastful about his accomplishments,” recalls the German climber’s widow, American Carol Davis. “He was fine with his own company.”

Carol is one of apparently very few people Peter let in on his secret about his alleged 1992/93 winter coup: “Peter told me, in no uncertain terms, that he summited Cho Oyu from the Nepal side, alone and without supplemental oxygen. He eschewed supplemental oxygen, and never used it. Also, Peter always climbed alone.”

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