“School up – far west”: Model school in Rama

The first floor of the new school in Rama is concreted
The first floor is concreted

“Cars, motors, electricity are looked at here like aliens,” Dhurba Shahi from the Tanjakot community in far western Nepal writes to me. The 23-year-old works as a teacher at the Ramdev School in the village of Rama. With my new aid project “School up – far west” I am collecting donations for the construction of a new school, which is being realized by Nepalhilfe Beilngries. The existing building can at best be described as a makeshift building. “We hope that the new school will serve as a model,” says Dhurba.

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Livingstone and Cesen fail on Gasherbrum III

Gasherbrum III and Gasherbrum II
Gasherbrum III (left) and Gasherbrum II (centre)

About 150 meters below the summit was the end of the line for British Tom Livingstone and Slovenian Ales Cesen on the 7,952-meter-high Gasherbrum III in the Karakoram. “We had to change our original route idea to the north face/ridge due to strong winds,” Tom wrote on Instagram, “but still spent several further days climbing (in snow, buffeting winds and usually wearing all our clothes) to 7800 metres via a new route. Here we were unfortunately dead-ended, and bailed due to the cold, weather, fatigue and lack of reasonable options.”

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Holecek and Groh turn around on Masherbrum

Marek Holecek (l.) and Radoslav Groh (r.) in their tent on Masherbrum
Marek Holecek (l.) and Radoslav Groh (r.) in their tent on Masherbrum

To 7,300 meters and not a step further. “We had no choice but to turn back,” writes Marek Holecek on Instagram. The 47-year-old Czech and his 33-year-old compatriot Radoslav Groh had tried to open a new route on the rarely climbed Masherbrum in alpine style.

“Everything higher was already beyond our skills. The conditions offered to us beyond the western edge can be described as catastrophic. As we climbed from the north side to the east side, the snow turned into non-sticky powdered sugar. Loose, dried white stuff that sticks in the groove and on the rock, just for some mysterious reason. As soon as you touch it, it falls over 2,000 meters down to the glacier in big cakes.”

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Tough struggle on Masherbrum

Masherbrum in clouds
Bad weather on Masherbrum

Marek Holecek is not at a loss for original images when he describes the difficulties on his extreme climbs. Like now on the 7,821-meter-high Masherbrum in Pakistan’s Karakoram. “Even a horse-drawn carriage would get tired of this terrain,” the Czech climber writes on Instagram today. “We are progressing at a snail’s pace and hoping that the snow conditions will improve with higher elevation.”

Deep and loose snow has robbed them of their strength, says the 47-year-old. “The weather forced us into the tent in the afternoon, as we could not see through the fog to the tip of the nose and it started to snow lightly.” Holecek and his team partner Radoslav Groh will spend their now sixth bivouac at an altitude of 6,800 meters, according to their own information.

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Summit successes on Gasherbrum I

Kirsten Harila (center), Dawa Ongju Sherpa (l.) and Pasdawa Sherpa (r.) on the summit of Broad Peak at the end of July
Kirsten Harila (center), Dawa Ongju Sherpa (l.) and Pasdawa Sherpa (r.) on the summit of Broad Peak at the end of July

From the 8,080-meter-high Gasherbrum I in the Karakoram, summit successes were reported yesterday and today via the normal route. Already on Thursday, according to the operator 8K Expeditions, the Nepalese mountain guides Dawa Ongju Sherpa and Pasdawa Sherpa with their Norwegian client Kristin Harila reached the summit of the eleventh highest mountain on earth – with bottled oxygen.

For the trio it was already the eleventh eight-thousander summit since the end of April. Now only Manaslu in Nepal as well as Cho Oyu and Shishapangma in Tibet are missing in their eight-thousander annual list. Whether the Sino-Tibetan authorities will open the two eight-thousanders in the upcoming fall season, however, is written in the stars. Since 2020, no foreign climbers have been allowed into Tibet because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Permits have been issued only to Chinese expeditions. 

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Summit successes on Gasherbrum II, attempt on Masherbrum

Gasherbrum II

From Gasherbrum II in the Karakoram several summit successes of commercial teams are reported today. The Nepalese operator 8K Expeditions announced that five team members had reached the 8,034-meter-high summit – presumably all with bottled oxygen. Among them were the two Nepalese Dawa Ongju Sherpa and Pasdawa Sherpa as well as their Norwegian client Kristin Harila. For them it was already eight-thousander number ten this year.

Eight-thousander collector Grace Tseng from Taiwan also stood on the summit of Gasherbrum II with her Nepalese companions Nima Gyalzen Sherpa and Ningma Dorje Tamang, according to reports from Pakistan. Following information from her operator Dolma Outdoor Expedition, Tseng did without a breathing mask, as she had done previously on K2 and Broad Peak, while her Nepalese guides used bottled oxygen. Also at the top was 20-year-old Pakistani Shehroze Kashif. For him it was the eighth eight-thousander (with breathing mask). On Manaslu, he had not reached the “True Summit” in fall 2021 and declared that he would have to return once again to the mountain in western Nepal to make up for it.

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Extreme danger of falling rocks: huts on Mont Blanc closed

Goûter hut on Mont Blanc
Goûter hut on Mont Blanc

Jean-Marc Peillex has enough. “I resign,” writes the mayor of the French municipality of Saint-Gervais, announcing that from today the refuges Tête Rousse (3167 meters) and Goûter (3835 meters) on the normal route on the 4,809-meter-high Mont Blanc will remain closed until further notice. “How sad that we are forced by some lawless daredevils to have to make a decision that really shouldn’t be.”

Repeatedly, the authorities had previously appealed to refrain from climbing Mont Blanc because of the current immense risk of falling rocks as a result of the summer heat. The region’s mountain guides are currently no longer taking clients up the highest mountain in the Alps. Nevertheless, according to Peillex, yesterday evening “79 climbers, mostly from Eastern European countries, played Russian roulette” and entered the Goûter hut.

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Tourism excesses and environmental destruction on Nanga Parbat – Michael Beek sounds the alarm

"Fairy Meadows", Nanga Parbat in the background
Threatened idyll: “Fairy Meadows”, Nanga Parbat in the background

Once upon a time. The Fairy Meadows near Nanga Parbat has lost its fairy-tale quality. There are now 25 hotels on the Fairymeadow and there are so many people that the peace is over. Individuals incapable of walking are carried up on horses with their mobile phones in their hands, sometimes more than 600 in one day,” Michael Beek writes on Facebook after returning from one of his many trips to Pakistan. “Plastic waste is everywhere along the path, drinking bottles are simply thrown down into the Rakhiot River, nobody cares. It makes me sad. “

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