David Göttler turns around at 8,650 meters on Everest

David Göttler during his summit attempt (with a moisture mask to keep some humity in his breath)

“I didn’t make it to the summit of Everest, but I still had a pretty special day,” writes David Göttler on Facebook after his failed summit attempt without bottled oxygen. On Thursday, the 40-year-old German professional climber turned around at 8,650 meters. On the same day, he descended to Camp 2 at 6,600 meters, today to Everest Base Camp.

“Waiting is no option”

David informs me that he left the South Col at 2.30 a.m. local time, i.e. relatively late – on the one hand to avoid most of the summit candidates, on the other hand to use the warmth of the sunlight. If you don’t use bottled oxygen, you have to climb fast, because your body cools down much quicker. David writes that his tactics “worked really well until just below the South Summit: there, the weather started closing in and I ran into all those people coming down.” That’s why he decided to turn around, says Göttler: “Waiting and wasting energy is not an option up there without supplemental oxygen.”

No more motivation for another attempt

Queue on the Everest summit ridge (on Wednesday)

Göttler wants to pack up his tents on Everest. “I think the season is over for me,” writes David on Facebook. He tells me that another good weather window is expected between 1 and 4 June. But then the route through the Khumbu Icefall will probably be already closed. “In addition I have to say, I don’t feel the motivation to set off again.”

The German was one of the very few among the hundreds of climbers on both sides of Everest who tried to climb the highest mountain on earth without breathing mask this spring season. On Thursday it was announced that the French Elisabeth Revol and the Chilean Juan Pablo Mohr had reached the highest point at 8,850 meters without bottled oxygen.

Stitzinger with bottled oxygen on the summit

Luis Stitzinger

The current good weather window is still open. Today again summit successes were reported, among others Luis Stitzinger’s.  The 50-year-old led for the Austrian expedition operator “Furtenbach Adventures” clients via the route on the Tibetan north side of Everest to the summit – with bottled oxygen. Luis (our expedition leader during the first ascent of the 7000er Kokodak Dome in 2014), has announced that he might want to add an attempt without breathing mask – if time and conditions on the mountain allow.

Six eight-thousanders in four weeks

Nirmal Purja on the summit of Everest on Wednesday (in the background Makalu)

Today the Nepalese Nirmal Purja reached the 8,485-meter-high summit of Makalu. It was his sixth eight-thousander success in four weeks. The 36-year-old has set himself the goal of climbing all 14 eight-thousanders in seven months. So far he is on schedule. The former soldier of the British Gurkha regiment has been climbing on the normal routes using  bottled oxygen. Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” was on the summit today too . Makalu was the seventh eight-thousander in the collection of Pakistan’s top climber. On 16 May, the 43-year-old had already scaled Lhotse – with bottled oxygen.

Update 4.30 p.m.: Unfortunately not a day goes by without new deaths. According to the “Himalayan Times“, a Sherpa mountain guide died in Everest Base Camp of high altitude sickness shortly after he had been taken down from Camp 3. It was already the eighth death on Everest this spring season. Also on Makalu a Sherpa died above Camp 2 during his descent from the summit.

Reportedly the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol scaled also Lhotse after her yesterday’s summit success on Everest. She was accompanied by at least two Sherpas, it said.

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