Is the other one the perfect climbing partner? Yes, answer both the 41-year-old German high-altitude climber David Göttler and the 42-year-old Italian Hervé Barmasse. “We complement each other super well,” says David. “We train more or less the same way, we have almost the same fitness, we move as fast as is necessary on eight-thousanders,” says Hervé. “Sometimes we have discussions, but that’s quite normal.” In questions of mountaineering ethics, Barmasse is “sometimes even more blatant than I am”, says Göttler: “I accept fixed ropes here and there where it makes sense. He is more rigorous in this respect and says: We don’t do that.”
Fast, clean, without bottled oxygen
Therefore, Hervé reports, he did not accompany David to Everest. In spring 2019, Göttler had tried in vain to scale the highest mountain on earth without bottled oxygen – via the normal route secured with fixed ropes. “I think that for the next generation of the best alpinists, it is no longer just about reaching the summit of Everest or any other mountain, but about respecting the mountain, respecting our planet,” says Barmasse. “That’s why I want to climb clean, in Alpine style.” On the whole, he agrees with Göttler on this point: They want to be en route on the eight-thousanders fast, in a clean style, without breathing mask. This also applies to their next project.
Probably no permit
Actually, the two climbers had planned to open a new route on the Tibetan side of the 8,188-meter-high Cho Oyu together with Colombian Andres Marin, “a variation towards the West Face,” says David. But at the moment it doesn’t look like that. “It probably won’t work because we can’t get the permit from the Chinese,” reports Göttler. “At the moment, they only allow climbing the normal routes.” There’s a plan B, says David. But neither he nor Hervé want to reveal exactly what it is. Only this much: The alternative goal is an eight-thousander in Nepal. It’s not the southern side of Cho Oyu in Nepal. “In my opinion, it’s not as safe as the Tibetan side,” says Barmasse. “We haven’t found a line there that suits us,” says Göttler.
Not taking unnecessary risks
In 2017, the two climbed together through the South Face of the 8,027-meter-high Shishapangma. In 2018, they traveled to Pakistan to first climb the Southwest Face of the 7,932-metre-high Gasherbrum IV. Bad weather stopped them then – just like last fall, when they tried to traverse the three peaks of the seven-thousander Chamlang together with Andres Marin. ” Sometimes it’s better to do one step back and save your life than to reach the summit and risk your life,“ says Hervé. “Nonetheless we had a lot of fun and worked perfectly together as a team,” says David. “That’s incredibly important.”
In any case, the Chamlang project was primarily intended as a preparation for the planned Cho Oyu expedition, which may now fall through. But plan B, promises Barmasse, does not mean second choice. “If it won’t be Cho Oyu, we have another idea. And it will be just as interesting as the new route on Cho Oyu,” says Hervé. ” For someone maybe much more interesting.“