• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

German killed in Himalayan avalanche

AFP · 28 Sep 2014, 08:55

Published: 28 Sep 2014 08:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A European team of elite mountaineers were 100 metres shy of summiting the world's 14th-highest peak -- China's 8,027-metre (26,335-foot) Shisha Pangma peak -- when Wednesday's avalanche hit.

"Two climbers -- one German, the other Italian -- were swept away in an avalanche on Shisha Pangma," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

Mountaineering equipment company Dynafit, which sponsored the team, named the two dead men as Italian Andrea Zambaldi, 32, and German Sebastian Haag, 35.

In a separate accident, Japanese climber Yoshimasa Sasaki fell to his death on Friday when he slipped during an ascent of Mount Manaslu, the world's eighth-highest peak, located in northwest Nepal, according to a tourism ministry statement.

The 59-year-old, an experienced mountaineer, lost his footing at 7,300 metres after summiting the 8,156-metre (26,759-foot) peak.

"Rescuers are working to recover the body... (which) will be brought to Kathmandu as soon as possible," the tourism ministry said.

Dynafit said the force of the Shisha Pangma avalanche threw the two victims, along with German team-mate Martin Maier, across steep glaciers, dragging them down for around 600 metres before landing them in an inaccessible section of the mountain.

Their teammates attempted a rescue but were forced to turn around because they could not reach the victims, the company said.

"Sebastian and Andrea disappeared with the avalanche and their bodies could not be found."

Maier, who miraculously survived the accident, was receiving medical attention.

Haag, a former veterinary surgeon, had accomplished several speed climbs and high-altitude ski challenges during his mountaineering career. Zambaldi worked in the sales and marketing division of Dynafit.

Switzerland's Ueli Steck, the most experienced mountaineer in the team, made headlines last year when he and two other Western climbers traded blows
with a group of furious Nepalese guides over a climbing dispute on Mount Everest.

The Dynafit team had planned to speed-climb and ski down Shisha Pangma and the 8,201-metre (26,906 foot) Cho Oyu peak, located on the Nepal-China border,
via foot, ski, and bicycle in under a week.

Haag and Zambaldi had been forced to turn back during their first attempt ten days ago due to heavy snowfall and the threat of an avalanche, according to the official expedition blog.

As they neared the summit last Tuesday night, Zambaldi blogged: "The snow makes progress really tough. In steep sections we sometimes sink in up to the hip or chest."

"Let's hope the mountain gives us a chance."

By early Wednesday the weather was worsening, with team-mate Benedikt Boehm writing: "We are so close, but... the avalanche situation is still a bit tense and the deep, windblown snow is killing us."

Shrouded in mystery and closed to westerners until 1978, Shisha Pangma is considered a relatively accessible peak to summit with many expeditioners recommending that climbers attempt it as part of their training before turning their attention to higher mountains.

At least two dozen climbers have died on Shisha Pangma, including US mountaineering legend Alex Lowe, who was killed in a massive snow and ice avalanche in October 1999 while attempting the first American ski descent of an 8,000-metre peak.

Sixteen Nepalese guides were killed last April in an ice avalanche on the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, in the worst disaster to strike the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak.
 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany arrests Marxist militant 'leader'
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / DPA / AFP file picture

A radical Marxist suspected of belonging to a left-wing extremist group accused of terrorism by Turkey has been arrested in Germany, judicial sources said on Saturday.

Afghan teen arrested over German murder-rape
Photo: Hendrik Schmidt / DPA / AFP file picture

A teenage Afghan asylum seeker has been arrested on suspicion of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old female student in Germany, police and prosecutors said Saturday.

Nazi POW leaves estate to 'kind' Scottish village
The former German soldier stayed on to work in the Perthshire village for a time after the war. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP file picture

A former Nazi prisoner of war has left his entire estate in his will to a small village in Scotland to show his appreciation for the kindness he received there during his captivity.

US tries to block Chinese purchase of Aixtron
Photo: Oliver Berg / DPA / AFP

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls.

Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,591
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd