The North Face climbers David Lama, Jess Roskelley and Hansjörg Auer are presumed dead after an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies.
On 09 March, the news was official. We had lost Tom Ballard on Nanga Parbat. In the days that followed, the world seemed just a little smaller. Worldwide, we had to come to terms with the idea that the growth, of what we expected to be, one of the greatest mountaineers was permanently stunted.
This month, the star of the end of our September month is Wendy Ong, a Spinal Cord Injury survivor who has defeated the odds and continued to pursue her passions of climbing and skiing some of the most difficult passes.
“Certain that Bob had me, I unclipped from the anchors, leaned back – and then free-fell nearly 200 feet to the ground.” I kept telling myself, “Don’t close your eyes Wendy, don’t close your eyes.”
Beloved Spanish alpinist Alberto Zerain died in a tragic avalanche on Nanga Parbat this week. Though he was not able to return from the mountain in this life, his memory has found a new home in the hearts among those who appreciated his attitude toward the dare of a summit and those who admired his accomplishments.
Zerain was climbing Nanga Parbat as part of the 2x14x8000 project, which aimed to see 14 of the world’s 8,000 m. peaks climbed twice. While on the Mazeno Ridge, Zerain gave his last update to the Base Camp team on 24, June. Shortly after, his team lost contact with him and would announce on 27, June, that they believed he and Mariano Galvan had lost power on their radio communicators.
On 01, July 2x14x8000 announced that a helicopter search of the Mazeno Ridge revealed signs of a massive avalanche and they did not believe there was a possibility of survivors. On this day, the search for Zerain and Galvan was ended and the mountaineering world began to mourn, finally letting go of the hope they had so desperately tried to cling to in belief that he would be found alive.
Known Spanish climber Alberto Zerain and his climbing partner, Mariano Galvan from Argentina, have been reported as missing on Nanga Parbat.
Zerain’s team announced on 27, June, that communication with the climber had been lost on 24, June. According to a statement on their Twitter account, the team believes that because of the number of days the climbers have spent on the Mazeno route, they believe their radio equipment has lost battery.
Fredrik Sträng is our K2 2017 Watch Pick, and we will be following his expedition on K2 this year through his Dispatches from the mountain. But who is Fredrik Sträng and why does it matter? I felt that in order to really give readers a sense of what Fredrik Sträng is like as a climber and person, we needed some input from Cass Légér, the editor of BCM and Sträng’s point of contact for Dispatches. During my latest meeting with Cass, I lobbied for the quote bits below.
Here’s a glimpse into the life of this incredible climber, with some quotes from Cass Légér, with whom I spoke with this week while trying to get to know Sträng a bit better for this piece.
Ueli Steck, one of the most revered mountaineers of his time, died on 30, April 2017 while on a Himalayan expedition on Mount Nuptse. He was 40 years old.
On 04, May 2017, Ueli Steck was given a ceremonious burial service in Khumjung, Nepal. The mountaineer was cremated, and in attendance were only close family and friends who mourned his death for over three hours. The ceremony took place in Tengboche Monastery in true Nepalese tradition. It was reported that some of his ashes were spread in Nepal, and the rest, taken to Switzerland to be dispersed by his family.