Fight against the fire on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Fire
Fire on Kilimanjaro

Also on the fourth day in a row the fire blazes on the southern flank of Kilimanjaro. About 1,000 people – firefighters and volunteers – are still trying to contain the fire. According to the authorities, in the first three days the vegetation in an area of 28 square kilometers was robbed by the flames. This corresponds to the size of almost 4,000 soccer fields.

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Priti and Jeff Wright: On two of three K6 peaks

K 6 – West, Central and Main Summit (in clouds), from r. to l.

One usually imagines vagabonds something different than a software developer and an aeronautical engineer from the USA. Priti and Jeff Wright, a climbing couple in their early 30s from Seattle, call themselves “Alpine Vagabonds“. They have now realized a real coup in the Karakoram in Pakistan.

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Ngawang Tenzin Jangpo Rinpoche is dead

Ngawang Tenzin Jangpo Rinpoche
Ngawang Tenzin Jangpo Rinpoche (1935-2020)

He was the spiritual voice of the Khumbu. Generations of mountaineers and trekking tourists have met him at Tengboche Monastery and have received his blessing for their adventures. Ngawang Tenzin Jangpo Rinpoche died at the age of 85 years. Since 1956, for 64 years, he had been abbot of the Buddhist monastery Tengboche in the Khumbu region, within sight of Mount Everest. 

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Probably not a one-week mandatory quarantine for mountain tourists in Nepal

In the Khumbu region

The countdown is running. On 17 October, eight days from now, the first mountain tourists are to be allowed to enter Nepal. The most controversial regulation of the corona protocol for visitors from abroad is now supposed to be dropped: the obligatory one-week quarantine in hotels in Kathmandu.

The usually well-informed newspaper “The Himalayan Times” (THT) reports, citing sources in the Ministry of Tourism, that a round of ministers has approved a corresponding proposal. Instead of a quarantine of at least seven days with another corona test on the fifth day, mountaineers and trekking tourists should now have an instant PCR test or an antigen test directly at the airport. The presentation of a negative test taken in the tourist’s home country, which must not be older than 72 hours, remains mandatory.

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Nine-time Everest summiteer George Dijmarescu is dead

George Dijmarescu
George Dijmarescu (1961-2020)

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.

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Manaslu expedition so far according to plan

Manaslu Base Camp for climbers from Bahrain
Manaslu Base Camp for the mountaineers from Bahrain

Everything is arranged on the eight-thousander Manaslu for the mountaineers from Bahrain. The base camp is ready for occupancy – and the Sherpa team of the Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks (SST) has already prepared most of the way up the mountain. According to SST expedition manager Chhang Dawa Sherpa, the route to Camp 3 at 6800 meters is prepared. The mountaineers from Bahrain have acclimatized on Lobuche East not far from Mount Everest. According to SST, they reached the summit of the six-thousander last Saturday. As reported, the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world, located in Nepal, will be only the overture for the mountaineers of the Royal Guard of Bahrain – for Everest next spring.

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Chinese summit success on Cho Oyu

Tibetan side of Cho Oyu

The first eight-thousander summit success of the fall season is reported from Tibet. Twelve clients and eleven climbers working for the operator Tibet Himalayan Expeditions reached the summit of Cho Oyu today, confirms Mingma Sherpa. The head of the Nepalese operator Climbalaya has good contacts to China. The Chinese expedition team had set off for Cho Oyu on 14 September.

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Nepal’s government announces corona regulations for mountain tourists

The 6000er Ama Dablam in the Everest region

“Nonsense!” – “Rubbish!” – “What the hell?” This or similar is how representatives of the battered Nepalese trekking industry react in the social media to the regulations for mountain tourists, which have now been published by the Ministry of Tourism in Kathmandu and are thus binding for the fall season.

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“Snow Leopard” Ang Rita Sherpa is dead

Ang Rita Sherpa (1948-2020)

The “Snow Leopard” from Mount Everest is no longer among us. The legendary Ang Rita Sherpa died today at the age of 72 years in Kathmandu. Three years ago he had suffered a stroke, from which he continued to suffer. Ang Rita also had problems with his liver.

The Nepalese reverently called him “Snow Leopard”. No other climber has scaled the highest mountain on earth as often without bottled oxygen as Ang Rita did in the 1980s and 90s. “His record of nine will probably stand for a long time since current climbing Sherpas are required to use O2 by their companies,” Richard Salisbury from the “Himalayan Database” wrote to me some time ago.

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Nepal announces opening from mid-October

Everest (l.) and Lhotse

From 17 October, foreign mountaineers and trekking tourists are to be allowed to enter Nepal again. This was announced by the government in Kathmandu. Those entering must present a negative corona test, which must not be older than 72 hours. After arrival in Kathmandu a quarantine of at least one week in the hotel is mandatory. Because of the corona pandemic, foreigners are currently not allowed to enter Nepal – unless they are diplomats or work for UN aid organizations.

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Manaslu expedition: When the prince from Bahrain knocks in Nepal

The 8163-meter-high Manaslu in Nepal

All mountaineers are the equal, but some mountaineers are more equal than others – one could say freely after George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”. Actually, the Nepalese government had declared that, due to the recent sharp increase in corona infections, only Nepalese returnees, diplomats and employees of UN aid organizations would be allowed to fly to the country from 1 September . There was no mention of foreign tourists – and these usually include mountaineers. This fall’s climbing in the Himalayas seemed to be over before it began.

However, this week  a government spokesperson in Kathmandu suddenly declared that an 18-member expedition from Bahrain had received a permit for the eight-thousander Manaslu and – for the purpose of acclimatization – for the six-thousander Lobuche East near Mount Everest. The team of the Royal Guard of Bahrain will arrive in Kathmandu in mid-September on a charter flight, enter a one-week quarantine and then head for the mountains, it said.

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The (almost) forgotten Chamlang expedition

The routes of Halecek/Hak (read) and Eberle/Köhler (green) on Chamlang

Marek Holecek and Zdenek Hak are a strong climbing team. After the two Czechs had already received the Piolet d’Or in 2018 for their new route through the Southwest Face of the eight-thousander Gasherbrum I in Pakistan, they will again be awarded the “Oscar of climbers” on 19 September at the mountain festival in Ladek-Zdroj in Poland: for their new route via the Northwest Face of the 7,321-meter-high Chamlang in Nepal, which they climbed in Alpine style in spring 2019. Afterwards Marek and Zdenek traversed the summit and descended via the route of the Japanese first ascenders. A Piolet-d’Or-worthy performance, without question.

But Holecek’s statement on his sponsor’s website that it was “the first ascent of the 2,000 m high grueling Northwest Face climbing Alpine style” is only correct if “complete” is added before the word “ascent”. Because already 30 years ago two German mountaineers climbed the Northwest Face – at least up to 6,600 meters, in order to ascend from there via the West Face to the summit. They were also climbing in Alpine style.

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Prestigious Indian award for an Everest cheater?

With a climbing helmet to the summit of Everest?

The son of Everest first ascender Tenzing Norgay is outraged. “This is very disgraceful that a falsified summitter of Everest is being given the highest adventure award of India,” writes Jamling Tenzing Norgay to me. “Shameful!”

The prize is named after Jamling’s father and is awarded annually by the Indian government. Next Saturday, the Indian mountaineer Narender Singh Yadav, among others, is to receive the “Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award”. Singh Yadav claims to have scaled five of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on all continents. In 2016, the then 21-year-old was celebrated as the youngest Indian Everest summiter so far. But obviously, the mountaineer did not even reach the highest point at 8,850 meters.

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Fall climbing season in Nepal is about to be canceled

View from Gokyo Ri to Mount Everest

The hope of the Nepalese tourism industry for the upcoming fall season in trekking and mountaineering is fading away. After the government in Kathmandu had postponed the planned resumption of flights to and within Nepal from 17 August to 1 September 1, it announced a few days ago that the number of people entering the Himalayan state would be limited to 500 per day. Only Nepalese who were stuck in other countries because of the corona pandemic, expats, diplomats and employees of international aid organizations would be allowed to enter the country. There was no mention of foreign tourists in the government’s announcement. They will have to stay out until further notice.

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