The weather god had mercy. After fog had prevented the helicopter from taking off yesterday in the lower altitudes around the eight-thousander Kangchenjunga in eastern Nepal, it cleared up this morning Nepalese local time. The four-man Sherpa search team of the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks was dropped off at base camp at around 5,150 meters and set off uphill. The plan was to reach Camp 4, the last high camp before the summit, at around 7.600 meters today if possible. The Sherpas climbed with bottled oxygen to make fast progress.
As reported, Luis Stitzinger, one of the most successful German high-altitude mountaineers, has been missing since Thursday evening in the upper area of the mountain. According to previous findings, the 54-year-old, who was en route without a breathing mask, was the last climber to reach the summit at 8,585 meters that day at around 5 pm. The last contact with him was a radio message around 9 pm. At this time, Luis was, according to his own information, at an altitude of about 8,300 meters. He had skis with him. Whether he also used them is unclear. After all, it was already dark at the time of the radio call. Luis did not arrive at Camp 4. Position data from his Garmin device is not available, which makes the search more difficult. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for a small miracle!
P.S. I am receiving many questions about Luis’ disappearance. I continue to urge you not to speculate on his fate, nor to badger his wife Alix. We will continue to provide you with the facts. As long as there is still hope, the search for Luis should be absolutely in focus!