Ukraine war: Mourning for mountaineers Oleksandr Zakolodniy and Hryhoriy Hryhoriev

R.I.P.

The longer wars last, the greater the danger that outsiders will become numb to the never-ending news. This makes it all the more important to keep reminding ourselves that behind every dead or injured person there is a human fate. Last Saturday, two Ukrainian climbers died in the battle for the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar: Oleksandr Zakolodniy and Hryhoriy Hryhoriev. Both of them became only 35 years old. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine eleven months ago, they – like many other Ukrainian mountaineers – had put aside their ice axes and ropes and taken up arms to defend their homeland.

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Göttler and Barmasse abandon Dhaulagiri winter expedition

Dhaulagiri (seen from the northeast)
Dhaulagiri (seen from the northeast)

David Göttler and Hervé Barmasse have pulled the ripcord on the weekend and abandoned their winter expedition on the 8,167-meter-high Dhaulagiri in western Nepal. The reason was the bad weather forecast for the seventh highest mountain on earth until the end of the month, said Göttler in a video he posted on Instagram: “Very high winds all the way till the end of the month and significant snowfall which could be a real problem if we are in Base Camp and trapped there.” Still, the 44-year-old German said they had “a very good time” during their expedition: “We learned a lot. And I am more than ever convinced that it is possible to climb an eight-thousand-meter peak in alpine style in winter.”

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Terrible airplane accident near Pokhara

Butterlampen_Gebetsmuehlen
R.I.P.

It was a black Sunday for the aviation of Nepal. Approaching the town of Pokhara, a plane of Nepal’s Yeti Airlines, which had taken off from Kathmandu, crashed into a gorge not far from a residential area and burst into flames. All 72 occupants – 68 passengers and four crew members – were most likely killed. Four occupants are still missing, but the chances of finding them alive are nil, an official said.

The cause of the accident is still unclear, it is hoped that the analysis of the black box will shed light on the matter. The flight data recorder was found at the crash site. The ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop aircraft was around 15 years old.

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Style debate after winter success on Manaslu

Manaslu (center) and Pinnacle East (r.)
Manaslu (center) and Pinnacle East (r.)

A style debate has broken out after the winter summit success on Manaslu. How much is Alex Txikon‘s ascent without bottled oxygen worth when his six Nepalese teammates used breathing masks, some ask. Others criticize that Tenjen Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa, Chhepal Sherpa, Pemba Tashi Sherpa and Gyalu Sherpa (with bottled oxygen) had done the main work and should therefore be mentioned first – before the Spaniard.

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Txikon without bottled oxygen on Manaslu according to his own words – Cho Oyu winter expedition obviously finished

Manaslu
Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain on earth (in 2007)

“Without a doubt, one of the toughest experiences of my career. But super rewarding!” That’s how Spanish climber Alex Txikon describes his successful Manaslu winter ascent. As reported, the 41-year-old Basque had reached the summit of the 8,163-meter-high mountain in western Nepal on Friday together with the Nepalese climbers Tenjen Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa, Chhepal Sherpa, Pemba Tashi Sherpa and Gyalu Sherpa.

First videos and pictures of the ascent show to all appearances the “True Summit”, the very highest point at the end of the summit ridge – around which there had been so much fuss in recent years. A joint summit photo was not possible there due to lack of space, Txikon reported after returning to Kathmandu, adding that one after the other, they climbed to the highest point.

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Alex Txikon and Co. succeed in winter ascent of Manaslu

Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain on earth
Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain on earth

The mountaineering team led by Spaniard Alex Txikon has taken advantage of the short window of good weather on the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal. According to the Spaniard as well as the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks (SST), Alex and the Nepalese Tenjen Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa, Chhepal Sherpa, Pemba Tashi Sherpa and Gyalu Sherpa reached the highest point at 8,163 meters at 9.30 local time. “The team braved harsh winter conditions and treacherous terrain to make it to the top,” let SST expedition manager Chhang Dawa Sherpa know. By evening, everyone had returned to base camp safe and sound.

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Göttler and Barmasse will attempt Dhaulagiri this winter

Dhaulagiri
The 8,167-meter-high Dhaulagiri in the west of Nepal

Now the cat is out of the bag. “We’re heading back to the mountains but not to Nanga Parbat as some may have thought,” writes David Göttler on Facebook on this New Year’s Day. “We have decided to go to Dhaulagiri here in Nepal.” His teammate Hervé Barmasse had previously stated that they wanted to attempt an eight-thousander this winter in alpine style – without bottled oxygen, without Sherpas, without fixed high camps. At which mountain, the 45-year-old Italian had left open.

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