While we’ve all been focused on Everest, and rightfully so, a remarkable climb unfolded on Nuptse last week as well. That’s where Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, along with climbing partner David Gottler, have been turning in one of the purest climbs of the season, as they went up the mountain in alpine style, with no Sherpa support, no fixed ropes and no oxygen, successfully topping out last Thursday.
The 7861 meter (25,791 ft) Nuptse is located just to the southwest of Everest and climbers on the peak actually use part of the same route when going to the top. Gerlinde and David began their climb by first going up the South Col route to Camp 2, before they traversed over to Nuptse’s North Face, passing under a group of precariously hanging seracs in the process.
Once they crossed over to the mountain itself, they started their ascent, climbing into position for their final push. The pair ended up bivouacking in a very small tent at 7250 meters (23,786 ft) before they started for the summit the next day at 6:15AM. It took them seven hours to reach the top, and they were exhausted and dehydrated when they got there, but in the end they were successful in their summit bid. Gerlinde says that on that final approach she simply kept hoping that it wasn’t a false summit and they had finally reached the top at last.
But as all mountaineers know, the summit is only halfway, and they still had to get back down. That was no easy feat either, and they ended up spending yet another night at 7250 meters, this time without food, water or even gas for their stove. To top it all off, it was snowing heavily as well, which didn’t aid in making them feel comfortable. Fortunately, they made it through the night without incident and the following day they descended all the way back to Base Camp, where they rested up over the weekend and got plenty to eat and drink.
Sounds like an awesome climb by two excellent mountaineers. Congratulations to Gerlinde and David for this fantastic effort.
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