Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Himalaya Spring 2016: 5 Questions for Ueli Steck and David Göttler

One of the most interesting expeditions that is currently taking place in the Himalaya is Ueli Steck and David Göttler's attempt to summit Shishapangma along a new route. The two men made headlines over the weekend when they discovered the remains of Alex Lowe and David Bridges along the route they plan to ascend, but for those of us who have been watching their progress, there was other important news, namely that they have now completed their acclimatization and are simply waiting for a weather window before they begin their fast, alpine style ascent. Before that happens, German journalist Stefan Nestler has sent five questions to the dynamic duo as they wait in Base Camp, and their answers are very interesting indeed.

As usual, I won't spoil all of the questions and answers, but just tell you that Stefan asks some of the things we've all been wondering about, like which one of the two men is the most fit and the fastest. Both Ueli and David are known for being fleet of foot in the mountains, and they say that they are simply enjoying climbing with one another since they know the other is capable of staying with them throughout the expedition.

Stefan also asks them about their unusual acclimatization process (trail running in the Khumbu Valley), the current conditions on the mountain, details on the route they intend to climb, and about their experience in the region one year after the Nepali earthquake. As you can imagine, they have some good things to share on all of these topics. Of course, they are also eager to get started on the actual ascent, which hopefully can happen starting later this week.

Elsewhere, teams on Everest are now starting to retreat back to BC after rotations up to Camp 3 for a round of acclimatization. Despite the fact that there have been a lot of reports of avalanches on the mountain in recent days, it should be noted that there have been no injuries and the route has been repaired where ever these ice slides have occurred. In other words, the season is progressing about as smoothly and normally as it has in the past five years, with teams going about their business quickly and efficiently. If all goes according to plan, they should be ready to make summit bids – weather permitting – sometime around the middle of the month.

That's all for today. More news from the Himalaya as we get it.

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