Some news of climbers’ deaths spread like wildfire. Others do not. For example, I learned rather by chance – through a Facebook post of his ex-wife Lhakpa Sherpa – that the nine-time Everest summiteer George Dijmarescu died of cancer at the age of 59 in the USA at the end of September. Only some media in his native Romania had reported about it – as I subsequently found out. Perhaps it is also because Dijmarescu’s reputation in the mountaineering scene was, to put it mildly, ambivalent due to his character.
One successful Everest ascent without bottled oxygen
Dijmarescu was born in 1961 in Turcinesti, a small community in southwestern Romania. At the age of 25, the soldier at the time fled his communist ruled homeland by swimming through the Danube river. Via the former Yugoslavia, he made his way to Italy and then moved to the USA, where he earned his money as a building contractor.
During his first attempt on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest, in 1998 as an independent climber on the permit of the Nepalese operator Asian Trekking, Dijmarescu turned back at 7,700 meters. The following year he returned to Tibet as expedition leader and reached the highest point at 8,850 meters for the first time. From 1999 to 2007 Dijmarescu celebrated nine Everest summit successes in a row, once (in 2000) without bottled oxygen. He always climbed via the Northeast Ridge. Several times Dijmarescu tried in vain to reach also the 8,611-meter-high summit of K2 in Pakistan, the second highest mountain on earth.
“Good and bad memories”
For twelve years Dijmarescu was married to Lhakpa Sherpa, they stood together on the highest mountain on earth several times. The marriage was finally divorced – under rough circumstances.
With hitherto nine summit successes Lhakpa is the woman with the most Everest ascents worldwide. “We have shared both good and bad memories,” wrote the Sherpani on the death of her ex-husband. “May he rest in peace.”