Japanese solo trekking tourist found dead in Khumbu

In the Khumbu, the region around Mount Everest

This should be water on the mills of the supporters of the solo trekking ban in Nepal. I learned from sources in the Himalayan state that a Japanese trekking tourist was found dead yesterday at Khongma La, a 5,535-meter-high pass in the Everest region. The body was recovered and brought to Kathmandu, it said. The 54-year-old, who was trekking alone, had been missing for a week. The Khongma La connects the Imja Valley and the Khumbu Glacier Valley, at the end of which lies Everest Base Camp.

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Mount Everest and Co.: Mountain records are nonsense

Aerial view: Five eight-thousanders (and the seven-thousander Baruntse) at a glance
Five eight-thousanders (and the seven-thousander Baruntse) at a glance

Recently, a German rapper set a new Guinness World Record on an entertainment show on German television: He stacked seven doughnuts within 30 seconds without them falling over. The musician managed it on his second try, so he did it without any training. Is he now the king of the doughnut stackers and an exceptional international performer in this discipline? The Guinness Book of Records also lists a U.S. woman as the “Doughnut Queen,” who stacked twelve of the round pastries in 2018.

Both probably benefited from the fact that hardly anyone would think of piling up doughnuts under time pressure and having it certified by referees. But apart from that, this example shows that the conditions under which records are set often play a decisive role. Presumably, no one had ever tried to do it in 30 seconds before. And if the rapper had had a minute, he probably wouldn’t have ended up in the record book. It’s a similar story with mountain records.

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Carlos Soria on Dhaulagiri: The never-ending story continues

Carlos Soria (l.) and Sito Carcavilla (in spring 2022 at Dhaulagiri)
Carlos Soria (l.) and Sito Carcavilla (in spring 2022 at Dhaulagiri)

One has already gotten used to it. A spring season on the eight-thousanders of Nepal without Carlos Soria trying his hand on Dhaulagiri does not seem complete. In this one, too, the Spaniard will attempt – with bottled oxygen – the seventh-highest mountain on earth. At the age of 84, after 13 failed attempts. What is it that keeps drawing him to this mountain, which could actually be christened “Soriagiri” because of Carlos’ many unsuccessful attempts?

“8,167 meters, and a very beautiful view, and that it has rejected me many times, but I know I can climb it and I want to climb it and I’m going to try,” answers the still-fit senior in an interview with the Spanish portal desnivel.com. “Maybe this is the last chance I will have.”

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Felix Berg about Annapurna Northwest Face: “An adventure expedition”

Felix (Mount Everest and Makalu in the background).
Felix Berg

The first eight-thousander summit successes of the spring season are expected this year on the 8,091-meter-high Annapurna I in western Nepal. The Sherpa team, that is fixing the ropes for the commercial teams, has already secured the normal route almost all the way up to Camp 3 at around 6,400 meters. “We wait for the summit weather window,” announced yesterday Nirmal Purja, head of the operator Elite Exped.

Most teams will probably have already left Annapurna by the time Felix Berg and his Polish teammates Adam Bielecki and Mariusz Hatala arrive at base camp. “Most of them want to go on to Everest, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga or somewhere else afterwards,” Felix tells me on the phone. “After all, it has become fashionable to conquer as many eight-thousanders as possible in a short time by any means possible.”

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“School up – far west”: First milestone almost reached in Rama

Classes (still) without school furniture
Classes (still) without school furniture

The only things missing are windows and doors, furniture and paint on the walls. The first building of the new school in the village of Rama in the far west of Nepal is almost finished. This was made possible by your donations to my project “School up – far west”, which is also supported by the Austrian top mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner.

Lessons are still often held outdoors. But when it rains or the wind is too strong, the new rooms already provide shelter for the school classes. Currently, construction work is at a standstill. They are to be resumed in April, when the weather is more stable again.

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Solo trekking no longer allowed in Nepal

Trekking in the Khumbu
Trekking in the Khumbu

It was like so often in Nepal’s politics: For days there is talk about a supposedly upcoming new regulation before there is – if at all – a written confirmation. Such was the case now with the announcement by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) that trekking tourists traveling alone in the Himalayan state will be required to take a guide from 1 April. Only five days after the first press reports and heated discussions about it in social networks, the NTB confirmed the reform today.

The aim is “to ensure the security and safety of visitors trekking in protected areas in the mountains of Nepal”, it said. If no one is on their own anymore, trekking tourists can be prevented from getting into “adverse incidents,” the NTB lets it be known, citing “getting lost en route, health issues, and/or natural disasters” as examples.

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Jost Kobusch: “At the summit of Denali I was at the limit”.

Jost Kobusch in the Messner Couloir on Denali
Jost Kobusch in the Messner Couloir on Denali

You can’t hear his exhaustion. When I reach Jost Kobusch by phone in Chamonix, the words just gush out of the 30-year-old German climber. Just two weeks ago, Jost succeeded in a solo winter ascent of Denali, via the Messner Couloir, which has never been climbed in winter before. At 6,190 meters, Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, is the highest mountain in North America and thus one of the Seven Summits. Because of its location in Alaska, high in the north, it is considered one of the coldest mountains in the world.

In recent years, Jost Kobusch had made headlines with his winter attempts on Mount Everest. His goal is to climb the highest mountain on earth solo and without bottled oxygen, via the rarely attempted route via West Ridge and Hornbein Couloir to the summit at 8,849 meters. In the first attempt, he had reached the West Shoulder at a good 7,300 meters in winter 2019/2020In winter 2021/2022 the end of the line was due to strong winds at just below 6,500 meters.

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The Icefall Doctors, forgotten heroes of Mount Everest

Icefall Doctors at work in the Khumbu Icefall
Icefall Doctors at work in the Khumbu Icefall

Their syringes are ropes, their plasters aluminum ladders. Year after year, the so-called Icefall Doctors “doctor” the ascent route through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall, the passage on the way to the summit of Mount Everest with the greatest objective dangers. With their ladders they bridge deep crevasses, with the fixed ropes they secure the route – and then maintain it throughout the season until the end of May. It’s extremely dangerous work, as the icefall is constantly moving and one of the mighty ice towers can collapse at any time.

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