“For dreams like this to come true, you probably need a lot of attempts. Because everything just has to fit,” David Göttler told me last year after failing for the second time on Mount Everest climbing without breathing mask. On his third attempt, it apparently worked. According to Chhang Dawa Sherpa of the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks, David reached the highest point on earth at 8,849 meters on Saturday without bottled oxygen and without Sherpa support. In spring 2019, Göttler had turned back on Everest at 8,650 meters because there was too much traffic on the normal route and the weather was getting worse. In 2021, he and the Spaniard Kilian Jornet had abandoned their attempt on the South Col at just below 8,000 meters because neither felt optimal.
When the big summit wave of the commercial teams had started, the 43-year-old German professional climber had written to me that it was too crowded for him on the normal route and that he would therefore wait with his summit attempt. After completing his acclimatization, he had descended to the village of Pheriche at 4,371 meters to breathe thicker air once again. Almost all of the commercial teams had already completed their ascents – usually wearing breathing masks. More than 400 Everest summit successes had been reported from the Nepalese south side.
Sixth eight-thousander without breathing mask
Göttler should now have had the mountain almost to himself. For David, Everest was the sixth eight-thousander success of his career without bottled oxygen. Previously, he had already scaled Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak in Pakistan, as well as Dhaulagiri, Lhotse and Makalu in Nepal. Chapeau, David!
Update 6 p.m. (CEST): In the meantime, David has confirmed to me that he has reached the summit.