Climbing: German extreme athlete (30) explains Mount Everest photo – news abroad

Single file up the highest mountain in the world!

This season (ending soon) 408 foreign summiteers got a permit to climb Mount Everest. And from year to year it looks more like the ascent to 8,848 meters in the Himalayas has become a popular sport. Despite temperatures of up to minus 50 degrees Celsius, despite wind speeds that can reach 80 meters per second.

Is climbing the summit still something special? Or are you now being pulled up the mountain with a lot of help from Sherpas?

BILD reached out to extreme athlete Anja Karen Blacha (30). The Bielefeld woman was the youngest German woman to climb Mount Everest in 2017 – and she was also now in the “single file”.

BILD: How much strength do you really need to reach the top of the mountain, Ms. Blacha?

Anja Blacha: “It all depends on the style in which and with how much support you climb the mountain. At what level do I use bottled oxygen? How much bottled oxygen do I use (total volume and flow rate in liters / minute)? Do I use the support of Sherpas, and if so, from how many Sherpas? Do I set up my high camps on the mountain myself or do I have Sherpas set them up? Do I walk along fixed ropes and on the normal route or do I climb the mountain in alpine style on a different route? Do I use helicopter support to get up and down the high camp?

Foto: Anja Karen Blacha

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Anja Karen Blacha made it and climbed Mount Everest for the second time in her lifeFoto: Anja Karen Blacha

And it also depends on what the conditions are, which can vary greatly within a season, as well as between the years. What about snow, wind, air pressure, temperature, etc.? How have the route conditions been changed by other mountaineers? For example, have there been tracks in deep snow? How am I doing myself healthily? With Covid, the question has certainly taken on a new meaning again this year. “

Okay, so there are a lot of factors that will affect advancement. But can you practically let yourself be pulled up, as it already looks in the photo?

Anja Blacha: “On the one hand – yes. This year, for example, the Khumbu Icefall, which separates the base camp from the high camps, was relatively long and challenging to traverse and some mountaineers decided to fly up or down between base camp and camp 2 with a helicopter. This of course saves a lot of strength, but it also means that officially it no longer counts as a complete mountain climb. That is ‘pulling up’ in the most drastic measure.

Ein Foto von Anja Blacha. Solche Anblicke sind die Belohnung für die BergbesteigungFoto: Anja Karen Blacha

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A photo by Anja Blacha. Such sights are the reward for climbing the mountainFoto: Anja Karen Blacha

The Sherpa-mountaineering ratio also appears to have increased. So more mountaineers have decided to start the summit day together with two personal Sherpas, for example, and thus have more support for carrying oxygen bottles or other things.

Especially with the high-end expeditions, more and more bottled oxygen and a higher oxygen flow rate are made available, which means that the “perceived altitude” (apart from the air pressure) remains lower for the body and an ascent is possible with less pre-acclimatization time and thus less effort becomes.

On the other hand – no. There are still numerous mountaineers who climb the summit with the same or less support than has been the norm for many years. Each step must continue to be taken by each person. Especially on the high stages to the summit, it is hardly possible for someone to help someone up or down.

Conversely, traffic jams from queues can make the ascent more difficult, as there are longer periods of stress on the stages.

The exertions of an expedition like weeks of living at high altitudes (even the base camp is far higher than the highest peak in the Alps), in tents, wind and weather (two cyclones this season, an avalanche that hit Camp 2) wear you down Body, as well as the inevitable dangers of the route such as crevasses and the ice break. “

In einem solchen Zelt wird Rast gemachtFoto: Anja Karen Blacha

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Rest is made in such a tentFoto: Anja Karen Blacha

BILD: Despite all the help that is available today, is it still something special to climb this mountain?

Anja Blacha: “Everyone has to answer the question individually and in my opinion it depends a lot on the prerequisites and conditions under which one climbs this mountain. It is still very rare that people manage to climb Everest without bottled oxygen, for example, because it is a great challenge, and even top mountaineers like David Göttler and Kilian Jornet have abandoned their attempts this season.

From the 408 permits for international mountaineers, only an estimated 195 successful ascents result this year (plus the ascents of the Sherpas). Most of the queues consist of Sherpas who bring oxygen, tents, etc. to the high camps, accompany mountaineers on their ascent or set off for themselves / with a team to the summit. “

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