• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

German killed in Himalayan avalanche

AFP · 28 Sep 2014, 08:55

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

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.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
What we know about the Reutlingen machete attack
Police arrest the attacker. Photo: DPA

... and what we don't.

Munich shooting
Police arrest possible accomplice of Munich gunman
Mourners in Munich. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Munich believe that a friend of the teenager who murdered nine people at a Munich shopping centre may have known about his plans.

Ansbach suicide attack
What we know about the Ansbach suicide bomber
The attacker's rucksack. Photo: DPA

He had had his asylum application rejected and had twice attempted suicide, say authorities.

Ansbach suicide attack
Suicide bomber attacks bar in Bavaria
Photo: DPA

A Syrian migrant set off an explosion at a bar in southern Germany that killed himself and wounded a dozen others late Sunday, authorities said, the third attack to hit Bavaria in a week.

 'One dead and two injured' in Germany machete attack
News channel NTV said there were scenes of panic in the city centre following the attack. Photo: DPA

A 21-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker killed a woman and injured two people with a machete Sunday in the southwest German city of Reutlingen in an incident local police said did not bear the hallmarks of a "terrorist attack".

Munich gunman planned attacks for one year: officials
Vigils continue in Munich to commemorate the victims, seven of whom were teenagers. Photo: DPA

The teenage gunman who killed nine people in Munich on Friday had been planning his attack for a year, according to German authorities.

Germany grapples with enigma of Munich gunman
A debate is already underway as to whether Germany's gun laws, which are already strict, should be tightened further. Photo: AFP

Investigators were seeking clues on Sunday into the mind of gunman David Ali Sonboly, the teen author of one of Germany's bloodiest killing sprees.

Munich shooting
 Social media a blessing and a curse in Munich shooting
The Munich gunman may have hacked a Facebook account to lure some of the victims to the McDonald's fast-food outlet where the shooting began. Photo: DPA

Social networks were both a curse and a blessing in the deadly shopping mall shooting in Munich, as police sometimes found themselves chasing fictitious leads and false alarms.

Munich shooting
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Munich shooting
Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,742
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd