Christian Stangl has held a press conference today to announce that he did not make that he didn’t make the summit of K2 this year. Conversations with his girlfriend and his family encouraged him to come forward and admit that he did not make the summit. He says that he is the most damaged from the fiasco of the faked summit of K2.
Mental images misled him to believe what was not true
Stangl though maintains that he did not deliberately deceive others when he said he made the summit. Rather his visualization techniques, where he imagines that he is on the summit of mountains, contributed to him not being fully aware that he never got close to the summit.
Apparently he imagined himself on the K2 summit and actually thought that he stood on the summit. He was in a trance like state and was even aware that he could not have made it. He said that these images are dangerous because they can lead one to believe that something has happened when it did not. What he says he may have been experiencing though was burnout characteristics.
One of the oddities about his original story is that he thought he saw a big cat at 5600m after waking up. Maybe this was another hallucination that he saw.
Fear of failure caused problems
Stangl said that the stress and pressure from trying to be the first to climb the first and second 7 summits on each continent caused him problems leading up to the faked summit of K2.
He does not blame his sponsors though for what has happened. The pressure rather came from being an extreme athlete. He had set himself ambitious targets and this created the pressure that ultimately led to him to fake the summit.
Summit picture not fake
Stangl says that the summit photo was not manipulated in anyway. “The picture was not manipulated for sure,” Stangl says. Instead it was taken about 1000m below the summit of K2. Yet there were curiosities found on the photo that could not be explained. Also what he showed the world was not original and had no EXIF information in it. It had at least been saved in Photoshop 7.0.
Evidence from other sources
Stangl refused to say whether evidence on the web and testimony from other climbers who were there made a difference to whether he came out and announced he did not make the summit.
There are still questions over the entire story and where and when that photo was taken.
The evidence to prove that one has made the summit of any of these mountains is now at very high level. One has to justify their summits more and more, he said.
He said that he was not so focused on K2. Rather he was more focused on Mt Tyree in Antarctica. This is the second highest mountain on that continent.
At the moment he is going to take a break and has not considered whether to climb Mt Tyree in Antarctica or not. He is not sure whether he will complete the 14 first and second summits of the continents.
He does not know whether he will be a ‘Skyrunner’ anymore. He is going to reflect for some time before considering his future.
Stangl has claimed on both Explorersweb and Bergsteigen (in German) before this press conference that he really did make the summit. He said that he was leaving the climbing community because of the hostility from others over his claimed summit of K2. This is quite a turnaround in such a short period of time.
It is really good that Stangl has come out and admitted that he did not make the summit. It can’t have been easy and for this he deserves lots of credit. The story, however, itself is still full of holes so the whole truth does not appear to have come out and may never will.
Source: Derstandard (in German)
Source: Nachrichten (in German)
Source: Diepresse (in German)