Mount Kailash is a 6,638 m (21,778 ft) peak situated in today’s Tibet. It raises up into the sky, in the center area of the source of Asia’s 3 major rivers: Indus river, Brahmanputra river and the Ganges river.
“All mountains are sacred”… quote Mrs Oh Eun Sun, disputed first woman on the 14 8000, the Kailash is by far the most sacred mountain in Asia, to Hindus it’s considered to be the eternal home to the Lord Shiva, and Tantric Buddhist believe that Mount Kailash is the home to the Buddah Demchok.
Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists. Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32 mi) long.
Climbing the Kailash is not advisable, and it has never been done, as it’s told that it will put a curse upon the climbers, who will start to grow old very fast. Prospected in 1926 by Hugh Ruttledge and later by Herbert Tichy who was in the area in 1936, attempting to climb Gurla Mandhata. When he asked one of the Garpons of Ngari whether Kailash was climbable, the Garpon replied, “Only a man entirely free of sin could climb Kailas. And he wouldn’t have to actually scale the sheer walls of ice to do it – he’d just turn himself into a bird and fly to the summit.”
Reinhold Messner was given the opportunity by the Chinese government to climb the mountain in the 1980s but he declined. In 2001 the Chinese gave permission for a Spanish team led by Jesus Martinez Novas to climb the peak, but in the face of international disapproval the Chinese decided to ban all attempts to climb the mountain. Messner, referring to the Spanish plans, said, “If we conquer this mountain, then we conquer something in people’s souls … I would suggest they go and climb something a little harder. Kailas is not so high and not so hard“
You are right Reinhold….better stay away from this one!
K2 is, as we all know, a mountain that has haunted climbers since the first expedition attempts. “The savage mountain”, has always resisted as if no man was allowed to enter it’s domain. Human tragedy is deeply rooted in it’s image, forcing climbers to take every little event into serious consideration: You just do not fool around with the BIG SCARY BROWNIE.
In the April issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 2012, a brilliant article describes the International Amical Alpin climb of this big pile of rock and ice. Rightly they based the assent from the North side (North pillar), properly offering more stable conditions.
Naturally one could look at this climb, as the last in the line of Gerlindes 14 non ox climbs. It is, but it’s also a bit more: This climb represent a human manifestation of outmost will, determination, faith and profound trust. Confronted by this, K2 opened up the closed door and offered 15min to Gerlinde alone on top. No wind, Sun down light from a clear blue sky and surrounded below by all the 8000 she had formerly climbed in the area. An alpine blessing on her final 8000.
READ THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC K2 ARTICLE HERE
Once again K2 has spoken……but this time using a sweet language.
The red dots show our route and what we are up to 7 July cameBild 21 von 21
2nd Newsletter of the International K2 Expedition to the North Pillar of K2
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner & Ralf Dujmovits
On Friday afternoon, 08th July, After four exciting, beautiful but also exhausting days, we returned to our advanced base camp (ABC) at the lower part of the K2 north pillar on Friday afternoon (8th July). We are now planning to rest at this camp, which is also called ‘Italy Base Camp’ (4,650m), for a few days and are hoping to get a break in this extremely changeable weather here. Since we arrived at the Chinese Base Camp (3,900m), a lot has happened.
Continue reading “2nd Report – Int. K2 expedition to the North Pillar of K2 | Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner & Ralf Dujmovits” »
Only 14 peaks in the world raise up over 8000m into what today is known as “the dead zone”. All are situated in the Himalaya range spread over countries like: Nepal, India, Pakistan and Tibet.
The first expedition to set foot on a 8000m peak was achieved by a French expedition in June 3th 1950, when the guide Louis Lachenal from Annecy together with Maurice Herzog from Lyon, set foot on the summit of Annapurna. As a first time ever achievement, Lachenal and Herzog climbed the dangerous peak of 8091m without the use of supplemental oxygen. A big French success, as just the logistic problems transporting the gear and equipment from France to Nepal in 1950, was a major and expensive obstacle, to what you can add climbing up into unknown conditions. Maurice Herzog was the first to reach the summit, followed closely by Louis Lachenal, though reaching the summit, and especially without the use of supplemental oxygen, they were forced to pay the price: Herzog’s decision to opt for lighter boots, and the loss of his gloves near the summit allowed frostbite to set in quickly, resulting in extensive amputations on both hands and both feet.
What makes the French expedition to Annapurna special is not only the fact that it was the first 8000+ meter peak climbed, it was also the first that was scouted and climbed entirely in one climbing season, a feat not easily repeated, especially in the golden era of mountaineering.
Since Annapurna in 1950, Climbers have learned from the experiences made, and what was in the beginning heavy National expeditions, are now light international “low budget” expeditions. At the end of 2011, only 24 people have climbed all 14 8000, and the latest to join “the club” is Japanese climber Hirotaka Takeushi, who summited his last 8000m peak: Dhaulagiri May 26th at 05:30PM local time.
Alpinism is often infused with the fundamental question of puritanism. In this spirit, climbs being made without the use of supplemental oxygen, nor porters and hence in alpine style, are regarded as the ultimate human engagement confronted with a 8000. And in this game, there are only a small club left of 13 climbers in the world, having completed this achievement.
Continue reading “The 14 peaks over 8000 meters” »
North Ridge - The north side of K2
K2 the second-highest mountain
To the mountaineer, K2 can be regarded as the ‘mountain of mountains’. Its allure arises from the combination of its isolation, extremes of weather, great altitude and technical climbing demands; K2 is a very serious and compelling objective. Our challenging route takes us onto the well documented Abruzzi Spur. This is one of six fine ridges that form a classical summit pyramid of rock and ice.
Continue reading “K2 Expedition | The second-highest mountain” »