Monday 13 September 2010

Appropriate European Climber Names

This blog loves peculiar names and a couple of European labels caught the eye in a news story about cheating amongst mountaineers. Or was this a case of altitude sickness causing amnesia?

The names are: Austrian "skyrunner" Christian Stangl and Romanian climber Zsolt Torok.

The latter (i.e. the whistle-blower) sounds like a Romulan Praetorian from Star Trek and the former (i.e. the cheat) sounds more like a “dangler” rather than a skywalker or skyrunner.

K2 'conqueror' never even left base camp
Agence France-Presse in Vienna

Sep 11, 2010

Austrian "skyrunner" Christian Stangl, who was bidding to become the first man to conquer the two highest summits on each continent, did not in fact reach the summit of K2 in August as claimed, Austrian media reported.

Stangl, 44, never even left the base camp, let alone climb the world's second highest peak, the daily Oesterreich reported, citing Romanian climber Zsolt Torok, who was on K2 at the same time.

"The guy did not even leave base camp but just went away, camped for two days, read a book ... and then came back at 6am. He told us then that he'd reached the summit," the Austrian daily quoted Torok as saying.

On Tuesday, Stangl admitted that he had never reached the summit of K2 on August 12, as claimed.

"I was in a trance-like state and thought I had reached the summit," he confessed at a press conference.

A photo he claimed to have taken at the top of K2 was actually taken at 7,500 metres (24,600 feet) altitude, some 1,000 metres below the summit, Stangl also said.

But even that was false, according to Torok, who ascended K2 on August 13 and said he saw no traces of Stangl's climb. "It was clear that nobody could have climbed there before me," he was quoted as saying in Oesterreich.

Stangl said Tuesday that fear of failure had altered his perception and it was only after the fatigue had let up on his return to Austria that he "became more and more aware" that he had not reached the K2 summit.

The Austrian was seeking to climb the two highest peaks on each continent - Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Antarctica and Oceania. After his alleged K2 conquest, the only remaining summit on his list was the 4,852-metre Mount Tyree in Antarctica.

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