In two weeks’ time, Ralf and I will leave for our next expedition. This year, we will try to climb the North Face of Mount Everest. We are planning to follow the Japanese Couloirs on the lower part and then move to the Hornbein Couloirs further up.
The combination of these two couloirs on the North Face of Mount Everest is one of the most direct routes on any of the 14 8,000ers. The Japanese Couloirs, which is on the lower part of the North Face, was first climbed in 1980; the Hornbein Couloirs on the upper part was first climbed by an American expedition in 1963. The Swede Lars Cronlund together with the two Sherpas Mingma Norbu and Gyalbu were the last mountaineers, who successfully climbed the 3,000m-high ‘Supercouloirs’ (it was only climbed seven times) on 15th May 1991. All three of them used supplementary oxygen, just like the climbers of the couloirs’ first ascent. The only two climbers to successfully complete this direct route on the North Face without supplementary oxygen were Erhard Loretan and Jean Troillet from Switzerland. They achieved this feat in the post monsoon season in 1986 with only two bivouacs.
Ralf and I have trained for this difficult feat intensively in the past few months and we are excited and curious what we will expect us there.
At the moment, the Chinese authorities are not issuing permits for Tibet and will not do so until the end of March. Ralf and I will leave Frankfurt on 30th March and if it is still impossible to go to Tibet we will probably acclimatise in the Everest Region in Nepal.
We are currently busy with our last preparations for this trip and we are very happy to take off again soon. Once on the expedition, I will be update my website regularly, so the next time you will hear from us will be from Kathmandu.
For now, take care and enjoy the first days of spring.