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TOPIC: Benedikt Böhm becomes the fastest man to climb and ski Mount Manaslu in 23 hrs 30 min.

Benedikt Böhm becomes the fastest man to climb and ski Mount Manaslu in 23 hrs 30 min. 6 years ago #217

Read about this inspiring story on nytimes.com

After 15 ½ hours of climbing, the ski-mountaineer Benedikt Böhm reached the summit of Nepal’s 26,759-foot Mount Manaslu, the world’s eighth-highest peak. Atop the mountain on Sept. 30, he did not celebrate. No ice axes held above his head in triumph, or summit pictures with his buddies. Instead, he solemnly dug a hole in the snow, and buried a scarf blessed by a Tibetan lama and a carabiner.

Then, after his tribute to the 11 people who died in an avalanche on the mountain a week earlier, Böhm clicked into his skis and skied down the mountain.

“I really honored my summit to the avalanche victims,” Böhm, 35, said in a telephone interview from his home in Munich.
When he arrived back at base camp eight hours later, Böhm became the fastest man to climb and ski Mount Manaslu, clocking in at 23 hours 30 minutes. He was also the first to do it without supplemental oxygen.

Böhm, who also holds speed ski-mountaineering records on Gasherbrum II and Muztagata in China, was not the only one hoping to snag the first oxygen-free ascent and ski descent of Manaslu. The American extreme skier Glen Plake, along with his teammates Greg Costa and Remy Lecluse, had come to Manaslu in late August with the same goal in mind. But around 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 23, an avalanche barreled down the slopes of Manaslu, killing 11 people.

Read in detail about the Manaslu tragedy here.

Böhm and his six-member team sponsored by Dynafit and Gore-Tex were situated at a lower camp. All six survived and were the first responders on the scene of the accident.

The Chinese government had denied expeditions permits to climb Cho Oyu or Shishapangma, two 8,000-meter peaks popular among mountaineers. Many teams, including Böhm’s, re-routed to Manaslu.

Two days after the avalanche, the Dynafit-Gore-Tex team gathered to assess its expedition. Three men opted to go home; three decided to stay.

“I didn’t want to turn my back on this mountain,” said Böhm, who attempted Manaslu in 2007 but was forced to turn around at 23,950 feet because of a snowstorm. “Climbing up this mountain and skiing down, it has been such a tremendous goal that I’ve been working towards for the past eight years. Training every day. Training every night. Training after work. At 2 o’clock in the morning. Training next to my family. There was tremendous motivation, a lot of inner drive. “But what was a big motivation for me, when I really decided to continue is when I heard that all of the people we were fighting for on the 23rd, they had all survived. That was a big inner push for me.”

On Sept. 29 at 6 p.m., Böhm set out for the summit, reaching it about 9 a.m. on the 30th. He stood on top of Manaslu without his teammates, who did not make it to the summit because of altitude sickness, fatigue and frostbite. Böhm paid homage to the avalanche victims, then he skied down. After eight hours of what he described as heinous skiing, Böhm arrived back at base camp. Two days later, he was home.

“This was a way for me to finish, though we will never be finished, this business on Manaslu,” Böhm said.
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