Happy Easter!

I wish you all and your loved ones Happy Easter. And the “Picasso from the river Rhine” 😉 is confronting you with another easter riddle: Which mountain have I conjured onto the egg?

Mourning for extreme climbers Lama, Auer and Roskelley

David Lama, Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer (from left to right)

Officially David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley are still missing. But there is no hope that the three climbers survived the avalanche on the 3,295-meter-high Howse Peak. The still high avalanche danger in the Canadian Rocky Mountains has not yet allowed a recovery. Parks Canada, the national park authority of the Canadian government, has closed the area.

The shock is deep in the mountaineering scene. “Three of the best alpinists in the world lost in one unfortunate accident”, writes US climber Alex Honnold. “The three missing mountaineers were no doubt a great asset of our community,” adds Pakistani top mountaineer Muhammad Ali “Sadpara”, who is currently en route on the eight-thousander Makalu in Nepal. “The gap they created can never be bridged.”

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Avalanche in Canada: Almost no hope for Lama, Auer and Roskelley anymore

The East Face of Howse Peak

The international mountaineering scene is shocked. The top climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer from Austria and Jess Roskelley from the USA most probably died in an avalanche accident on the 3,295-meter-high Howse Peak in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. “Based on the assessment of the scene, all three members of the party are presumed to be deceased,” Parks Canada, the national park authority of the Canadian government, announced. Equipment had been discovered in a huge avalanche cone during a reconnaissance flight, it said: “Further investigation is underway but recovery efforts are not currently possible due to additional avalanches and dangerous conditions at the scene.”

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Lama, Auer and Roskelley missed in Canada

David Lama

The international mountaineering and climbing scene fears for three of their best. According to media reports from Austria and Italy, the two Austrians David Lama and Hansjörg Auer as well as the American Jess Roskelley are said to have been caught by an avalanche while climbing in western Canada. Official information is not yet available.

The “Tiroler Tageszeitung” from Austria reported that the huge avalanche cone had already been searched yesterday, Wednesday, by rescue planes – without success. The “Kronenzeitung”, from Austria too, reported that the 35-year-old Auer had died in the accident, citing its own information. David Lama’s manager announced a statement by the family on the 28-year-old’s homepage, but without naming a time.

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David Göttler will try Everest without bottled oxygen

David Göttler

It could be another record season on Mount Everest. Until last Tuesday, the Ministry of Tourism in Kathmandu alone issued 374 climbing permits for the south side of the world’s highest mountain. On the north side, the Chinese-Tibetan authorities have limited the number of climbing permits to 300 this spring. Last year, according to the mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, 802 climbers reached the summit at 8,850 meters, only one without bottled oxygen: 32-year-old Sonam Finju Sherpa.

This season, too, only a few mountaineers will try to scale Everest without breathing mask. One of them will be David Göttler, who arrived in Kathmandu today. “Nowadays many people think it’s easy because there’s no differentiation between oxygen aspirants and the few without,” the 40-year-old German. “But to make it to the top ‘without diving equipment’ is still not easy. Everything has to fit. And so it would also mean an awful lot to me to reach the summit.” 

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Where to with the dirty K2 laundry?

Clouds on K2

It’s quite normal that mountaineers return from an expedition with dirty clothes. After all, it’s important to travel with as little weight as possible. And that’s why, after the trip, the strong smell in the laundry room at home from clothes worn too long is simply part of it. But is it really necessary to wash your dirty laundry in public? For days, the members of the two recently failed K2 winter expeditions have been engaged in a media exchange of blows. With the meanwhile almost usual echo on the social networks – from people who weren’t there, but think they have to put their oar in.

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Lhakpa Sherpa not on Everest this spring

Lhakpa Sherpa

Mount Everest is fascinating, for many – like the more than 300 foreign mountaineers who will attempt to climb it this spring from Nepal alone – even a life’s dream. In the end, however, it remains only a mountain. And there are more important things in life. Also for Lhakpa Sherpa.  The 45-year-old native of Nepal actually wanted to travel to Tibet again these days in order to reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters for the tenth time and thus improve her record:  Lhakpa is the woman with the most Everest ascents in the world.

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Mr. Hong and his wall

Sung Taek Hong in a Gompa in the Khumbu region

He’s back. The South Korean Sung Taek Hong has again pitched up his base camp at the foot of the huge Lhotse South Face. For the sixth time, the 52-year-old has traveled to Nepal to tackle the 3,300-meter-high, extremely challenging eight-thousander wall. This time Hong has gathered an international team. As in his last attempt in fall 2017, he is joined by Jorge Egocheaga, a very experienced high-altitude climber:  The 50-year-old Spaniard has already stood on the summits of all 14 eight-thousanders. Only on Everest he used bottled oxygen.

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On the Everest record track

Kami Rita Sherpa

The route is ready for the commercial expeditions on the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest. The “Icefall Doctors have completed their job. The team of eight specialized Sherpas secured the route through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall up to Camp 2 at about 6,400 meters with fixed ropes and ladders. Now the summit aspirants can come. To a certain extent en passant, namely at work, some climbers from Nepal will probably improve their records during this spring season. Kami Rita “Topke” Sherpa will be en route with an expedition of the Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks and – if everything goes according to plan – will reach the highest point on earth at 8,850 meters for the 23rd time.

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All 8,000 in seven months? The clock’s ticking

Nirmal Purja on the slopes of Annapurna

How possible is the impossible? Nirmal, called Nims Purja has baptized his challenge “Project possible”. In just seven months, the 36-year-old wants to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. That sounds wacky, if not crazy. By the beginning of June, the Nepalese wants to have scaled six eight-thousanders in his home country: Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga. In summer, the five Pakistani eight-thousanders are to follow: Nanga Parbat, K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II. And in fall he wants to complete his collection by summiting Manaslu, Shishapangma and Cho Oyu. „I firmly believe that everything in life is possible armed only with a determined approach and positive mindset,” says Nims.

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Odyssey on Jannu with happy end

After the strains: Nylov (l.) and Golovchenko

Big sigh of relief. After 18 (!) days on the seven-thousander Jannu in western Nepal, the two Russian climbers Dmitry Golovchenko and Sergey Nilov have returned safe and sound. In a picture spread on social media, they look emaciated, but happy. Two and a half weeks ago, Dmitry and Sergey had entered the East Face of the 7,710-meter-high mountain near the eight-thousander Kangchenjunga. They wanted to climb the complex wall that has still not been completely mastered for the first time up to the summit. The third in the group, the Pole Marcin Tomaszewski, had not felt sufficiently acclimatized and therefore had not entered the wall.

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Muhammad Ali Sadpara tackles Makalu

Muhammad Ali Sadpara in Kathmandu

I guess it’s a classic win-win situation. The Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks” benefits from the fact that Pakistan’s top climber Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” strengthens their rope fixing team on the 8,485-meter-high Makalu. And the 43-year-old thus gets the chance to scale the fifth highest mountain on earth in Nepal. The climber is financially supported in this project by the Pakistan Army. For Muhammad, who has been in Nepal since Wednesday, this is the second attempt on Makalu. In spring 2016, he had to turn around 150 meters below the summit in bad weather. At that time he had worked as a mountain guide for the Brazil-born American Cleo Weidlich.

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New routes on Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Everest?

Annapurna Northwest Face

Expedition luggage is piling up these days at the airport of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. Mountaineers from all over the world arrive in the Himalayan state to tackle Everest or another of Nepal’s high mountains this spring. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of mountaineers is expected to be even higher than last year. In 2018, the government issued 768 climbing permits for foreign mountaineers in spring and collected 412 million rupees (the equivalent of more than three million euros) in permit fees. The majority of the summit candidates are once again the clients of the commercial expeditions, who will be bustling on the normal routes. But there are also a few climbers who want to break new ground on the eight-thousanders off the beaten tracks – like the 38-year-old German Felix Berg and the 35-year-old Pole Adam Bielecki on Annapurna.

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Tough struggle on the 7000er Jannu

Jannu East Face (originally planed route in blue, the current one in red)

For about a week the two Russians Dmitry Golovchenko and Sergey Nilov have been fighting their way through the East Face of the 7,710 meter high Jannu in eastern Nepal. The wall has never been completely climbed so far. In the past three days, the two climbers have made little progress due to bad weather. According to information from the Internet portal “Russian Climb“, they are stuck at an altitude of more than 7,000 meters at a spot below the Southeast ridge: “Options: to continue climbing via the French route or to go down. It’s still snowing. Visibility is poor.” The first ascenders of Jannu, the French Rene Desmaison, Paul Keller and Robert Paragot as well as the Nepalese Gyalzen Mitchung Sherpa, had reached the summit via the Southeast Ridge in April 1962.

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“School up!”: The new school is finished

The new school in Thulosirubari

I am moved, I am over the moon: The expedition “School up!” was successful. The summit has been reached – after almost four years of ascent, which demanded great commitment and staying power from all members.

A few days ago the people in the small mountain village of Thulosirubari, some 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, celebrated the completion of construction work on the new school. After another construction period of almost one year, the third section of the building has now also been completed, with eight new classrooms and a two-story toilet house. A total of 20 classrooms, a teachers’ room and a sufficient number of toilets are now available for several hundred children and young people from Thulosirubari and the surrounding area. Who would have thought this possible after the catastrophe on 25 April 2015?

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