April 22, 2024

This has nothing to do with mountaineering

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from: Nico Marius Schmitz

He was alone on top of Mount Everest: David Guttler. © Photo: David Gutler

MUNICH – Our newspaper reaches David Gutler (44) – of course – in the mountains. On Theodulhütte at 3317 meters below the Matterhorn. In the interview, the Munich alpine climber talks about the rush to Everest (8849m), his ascent to the highest point on Earth, and tourism in the mountains.

David Gutler, what is climbing to you?

This is a relatively wide area, as one moves in the mountains. For me, that includes being independent and independent in the mountains, in small teams of a maximum of four people. If we consider exploratory mountaineering without additional aids such as oxygen.

Every year at the start of the Everest season, images of a traffic jam on the world’s tallest mountain are shown again. The rush is also related to the fact that the Sherpas and oxygen make the ascent much easier.

definitely. And in any case, what we see on Mount Everest has nothing to do with mountaineering. 98 percent of those are just directed climbs. I was at the top without oxygen and Sherpas, but I wouldn’t call this a climb either. I used fixed ropes and didn’t have to put in a meter of my own track. But of course it was a completely different approach. Only 2% of the heights of Mount Everest are made without oxygen. People who are out there and out with all kinds of tools naturally look at the mountain differently. Therefore, it is not surprising that the success rate of reaching the highest point is very high.

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When you successfully climbed Everest in 2022, you didn’t have any oxygen with you, there was Haribo as a little dope.

There is no rule book for expedition mountaineering. It is up to us mountaineers to document everything honestly and transparently. Around that time I met a friend in Camp IV who offered me half a pack of Haribo.
It was really a struggle for me because I didn’t want to accept any outside help. In the end, I couldn’t resist (laughs). As cliche as that sounds, it was important to me to connect immediately as I accepted outside help. I once compared oxygen mountaineering to an e-bike. Of course you can also ride the Tour de France on an e-bike and feel the same as a senior cyclist, but it’s just something different.

what do you wish

In expedition mountaineering, we have to honestly describe how to do what. Top managers always like to climb Mount Everest in their profile. But the next question should be: Were you there with or without oxygen? The challenge that nature poses to us out there with little oxygen must be honestly accepted. Then many will also notice: oh, but now it’s over 6,000 meters high. It will not be so crowded anymore.

David Gutler
David Gutler. © Photo: Duma

In 2019 I went back 100 meters below the summit. Even then there was a traffic jam.

There were many people there. I also say very frankly. Because I find it hard to call them mountain climbers just because they wear tights. Without oxygen and a Sherpa, I can’t just stand there and wait for the traffic. But I never judged there was a lot going on in there. You just know that, you have to take that into account.

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454 people want to climb Everest this year. an unprecedented number. Naturally, agencies and Sherpas also make a living from this work and from as many successful ascents as possible.

I will never condemn Nepali tourism either. I just hope we show them how to make everything sustainable from the start. They don’t make the same mistakes we make in the Alps. We have everything installed. But to say to the poorest country in the world, “Hey, do a little less,” to tell them to do it, seems very cynical to me. At the same time we are trying to milk every last cent of the Alps.

Do you often remember the moment you stood on the highest point on earth?

The beauty of the mountain is that everyone can find it for themselves. For some, the local Munich mountain may indeed be like Mount Everest. Interacting with nature means a lot to me. I was at Makalu summit in 2013. Then I had a bout of dehydration. I’ve learned a lot on expeditions, but I’ve never been at the top. Standing on Everest on the third attempt in 2022 will carry you through many years in which you may never get up again. The moment is not what many might imagine. Don’t start chanting or singing. Because you know you have to go down again. It’s time to be there. I was fortunate enough to be on my own at the top. This is indescribable. I was in my own world.

Interview: Nico Marius Schmitz