As I mentioned yesterday, the spring climbing season in the Himalaya is still a month away from truly getting started, but we’re starting to see some interesting stories emerge ahead of the climbers arriving in Kathmandu. As usual, there will be a number of fascinating climbs to follow over the course of the two months that the season runs, not the least of which will be Andy Holzer’s expedition to Everest, his third attempt in the last four years.
Andy is an Austrian mountaineer who happens to be blind. He has set a goal for himself to climb the seven summits, and has already knocked off six of those mountains, leaving just Everest yet to be climbed. He first traveled to the mountain back in 2014, when the collapse of a serac claimed the lives of 16 porters, abruptly ending that season before it ever got started. In 2015, Holzer returned to Everest, only to have the devastating earthquake that occurred that year bring an end to his efforts. After skipping 2016, he now plans to return again this year.
Recently, Holzer conducted an interview with Stefan Nestler, which as now been posted to his adventure sports blog. In that interview he talks about his return to the mountain, the reasons he’s climbing from the North Side in Tibet, his training and preparation, and a lot more. He also talks about his relationship with Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind climber to summit Everest to date. The two have been friends for awhile now, but Andy’s approach to the climb is a bit of a different one.
Everest always delivers such interesting stories and 2017 is already shaping up to be no different. I expect the mountain will be very crowded this year, with a record number of summits. Most of those men and women will go up and down the slopes with relative anonymity, But every once in awhile we get a really great, touching story. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more to share in the days ahead.
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