Winter attempts on the eight-thousanders Annapurna I and Gasherbrum I

Annapurna massif
Northwestern view of Annapurna (the main summit on the left)

“Although December is a very good and pleasant month in Nepal – I would say it is the best month of the year – the wind has made us suffer a lot,” Alex Txikon wrote on Instagram the day before yesterday. “It has blown between 70-80 km/hour, and we stopped very close to Chulu Far East, 6,059m. It is a nice mountain, but the wind has made us suffer … The most important thing is that we have spent many nights at high altitudes.” The 42-year-old Spaniard and his team are currently acclimatizing in the region around the eight-thousander Annapurna I in western Nepal for a winter attempt on the tenth highest mountain on earth.

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“School up – far west”: This is what the children in Rama dream of

School children in the village of Rama
Manpura, Prabhav and Saphal (from left to right)

As a child, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. In the end, I didn’t go to the moon. And yet I am still fascinated by space travel. Manpura, Saphal and Prabhav from the small mountain village of Rama in the far west of Nepal also dream big about their future. The fact that these dreams seem more realistic than my astronaut dream from back then is thanks to you donors for “School up – far west” – the aid project that I launched in mid-2022 and which is also supported by top Austrian mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner.

With your money and the expertise of Nepalhilfe Beilngries, the construction of the new school in the village in Humla District goes on. “I’ve experienced studying in a school with a makeshift roof, facing challenges like wind, rain, and clouds. Today, I express heartfelt gratitude to the Nepalhilfe organization for enhancing our school’s standards,” says Prabhav Shahi. The eleven-year-old is in sixth grade and dreams of one day working in a position of responsibility in his home country of Nepal.

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International Mountain Day – the Everest glacier’s cry for help

South side of Mount Everest with the Khumbu Glacier (in 2002)
South side of Mount Everest with the Khumbu Glacier (in 2002)

The gap between what would be necessary in times of climate change and what is actually being implemented is wide. “Over 311 million rural mountain people in developing countries live in areas exposed to progressive land degradation, 178 million of whom are considered vulnerable to food insecurity,” the United Nations announced on today’s International Mountain Day. “This problem affects us all. We must reduce our carbon footprint and take care of these natural treasures.”

The reality is different. At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28), which ends tomorrow (Tuesday), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is set to veto all formulations aimed at reducing fossil fuels, as the “undue and disproportionate pressure” could reach a tipping point “with irreversible consequences”, as stated in a letter from OPEC Secretary General Haitham al-Ghais to all members of the oil cartel. Perhaps the oil sheikhs should be sent to the Himalayas so that they can get an idea of the already obvious consequences of climate change on the mountain regions.

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