Ascending an unclimbed peak has an undeniable attraction to any climber. In the world of mountaineering where difficulty is relative, conditions change and skill hard to measure, it’s a simple way to signal one’s proficiency as well as determination. To be the first at anything is unquestionably enticing and, unlike new, difficult routes, an accolade… Continue reading A Game of Smoke and Mirrors
With the new year merely a few days away and the Himalayan spring season only 3 months ahead, it’s high time to set some new objectives for 2017. For me that will bring a return to familiar territory: the “Lobuche massif”. With Lobuche East crossed off this year, I have set targets for the North-Western… Continue reading Return of the Nirekha
In good conditions, climbing Lobuche East is a very pleasant experience. The route is straight-forward and yet offers some exciting challenges. The view from the summit ridge is exceptional with Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Cholatse very close by. Interested? Here is a summary of the route and some other key aspects of the climb: The… Continue reading Climbing Lobuche East
It’s dark outside; no moon, no stars. A light flurry of snow is surrounding the tents. The weather is demanding caution. I’m up way before the alarm. My stomach is complaining – last night’s food or the usual anxiety? I crawl back into the tent and the sleeping bag. Another two hours till the agreed… Continue reading Impressions from Lobuche East
It’s almost entertaining, for the fact that everything is so expected. The BMC (British Mountaineering Council) has finished a consulting process with a new brand name: ‘climb Britain’ as well as slightly more modern and colourful logo. Encouraging, snappy and certainly meaningless. How did they come up with it: “BMC members all climb stuff”. Genius!… Continue reading Climb Britain?
The cold is not immediately obvious inside the down sleeping bag but as soon as I lift the head, the intensity continuously rises as if it was waking up as well. The sleeping bag is cluttered with gear and clothes that are not supposed to freeze. It takes a moment to free myself from the… Continue reading Dark, cold, content
The first climbers for two years have reached the summit of Everest via the Southeast ridge route; a good occasion to look back at last year’s earthquake, tourism around Everest and the role of the Sherpa climbing guides. Many media outlets used the aftermath of the earthquake to reinforce the image of the rich tourists… Continue reading Powerful Asymmetries
The toilet flooded and the shower a bucket – facilities in the Himalayas – as usually in the mountains – are somewhat basic. But as mountain veterans readily confirm, there has been remarkable progress. Double rooms with clean sheets and warm blankets are now the norm. Gone are the days of smoke filled dormitories with… Continue reading Where’s my hairdryer?
You don’t just cross the street in Kathmandu – you have to really want it. And I mean not just the “ice-cream would be good now”- kind of desire. You need the determination that comes with a bridge collapsing slowly behind you while you’re trying to reach the other side. You spot the gap and… Continue reading You don’t just cross the street in Kathmandu…
With only a few days to go before the departure to Nepal, I’ve used a lazy Easter Sunday afternoon to get the crampons back in shape. A simple file will do the trick. And if you’re obsessive with details – a little bit of black paint.