Expedition News round-up

As climbers start arriving for the Himalayan spring season, the Eiger witnesses a significant female ascent.

While there were winter attempts on five of the 14 8000m peaks, the season has ended without any summits. Jost Kobusch who attempting on Everest’s West Ridge solo and without oxygen managed to reach 6450m and establish Camp 3. Kobusch had hoped to reach 8000m, but bad weather meant that this will have to wait until next year (hopefully!). He feels the expedition was a success, however, and that the knowledge of the route gained in his previous attempt helped him to reach 6450m much quicker than would have been possible last year. 

Climbers are now arriving back to the Himalayas for the spring season. 83-year-old Carlos Soria Fontán is back at Dhaulagiri for his 13th attempt. He is attempting to climb all 14 8000m peaks and has just two remaining – Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma. Kenton Cool is heading to Nepal in an attempt to summit Everest. If successful, this will be his 16th time on the summit of the world’s highest mountain. Cool gave this update in an Instagram post:

“The 2022 Himalayan season is officially underway. “The outstanding team of ‘Ice Fall Doctors’ left Kathmandu last week and have already made their first trip into the Khumbu Glacier to find the route to Camp 1. The main expedition teams will start to arrive in Nepal early next month. My bespoke style of guiding on Everest means that we don’t arrive until mid-April, but we’ll make sure that we’re up front for the summit!”  – Kenton Cool

Adrian Ballinger will be heading to Makalu and hopes to climb without supplementary oxygen and plans to ski down.

25-year-old Laura Tiefenthaler from Austria has soloed the North Face of the Eiger via the Heckmair route. This is believed to be only the second female solo ascent of the North Face; Catherine Destivelle was the first female, having completed a solo ascent in March 1992 (although Alison Hargreaves soloed the northeast face in 1988). In an Instagram post Tiefenthaler said:

“Dare to dream big.

Another trip to the Eiger – this time on my own. Seeing the promising forecast at the end of my guides course last week, I toyed with ideas for what to do, when @rolo_garibotti came up with the idea to go back to the Heckmair, by myself.

For him it seemed like an obvious choice, after climbing it with Jana had felt so good two weeks earlier. For me it was not even a possibility, but when he mentioned it, desire immediately grew. Doubts about my abilities and too many people on the wall were on my mind. However, the dream was born so I drove there to have a look.

On the 24th my mind game was not the best, and I managed to take the wrong turn, losing two hours, so I bailed, to eventually go back the next day.

On the 25th, I set off at 1am. I felt good. Doubts were magically gone. With curiosity as my main motivation, and knowing that up to a point, I could get down, it felt safe to go explore.

As I progressed, confidence grew. I rope-soloed all the hard pitches and some short sections. Reaching the Traverse of the Gods at 10am, I knew that time was on my side. I slowed down, prioritising safety over speed, and topped out at 4pm, exceeding my expectations.”  – Laura Tiefenthaler.

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