Kaltenbrunner interview on Sports Studio

There has been a translation into English of the interview that Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits gave to Sports Studio. It’s a YouTube video and if you click the cc button near the bottom then the English subtitles will appear.

The highlights of the interview are below.

  • Gerlinde says  that she was tired after coming back from K2. She will rest for a time.
  • Ralf said that in 1992 he climbed Everest with oxygen. His dream is to climb it without
  • Gerlinde said that when she started climbing the 8000m mountains she realised she wanted to do it without oxygen or porters
  • She said climbing an 8000m mountain with oxygen is like climbing a 6500m mountain without oxygen. It’s a big difference but an important one for her
  • Ralf said that without oxygen your body gets colder and are more susceptible to frostbite.
  • They had temperatures between -25 and -35 on K2. When windy its much colder
  • At their bivouac at 8300m it was -28 inside the tent. They did not sleep in the tent that night, but rather relaxed before the final summit push. There were 4 of them in a 2 man tent.
  • Oxygen at 8000m is about a third of what it is at sea level. Ralf said that at 8000m every part of your body is screaming and wants to go down. Need huge mental strength to keep going up at this height.
  • They travelled 10km along a glacier to reach camp 1 at the base of K2’s North Ridge
  • The North Ridge was steep
  • They spent 2 nights at camp 4 at 8000m fixing ropes
  • They had to bivouac at 8300m after going through deep snow
  • To prove they made the summit each climber took pictures of each other.
  • They had perfect weather. There was no higher that they could go.
  • Ralf turned back early on the last time they left for the summit. Ralf said that in 1994 he made the summit of K2 and also it had snowed a lot which influenced his risk assessment. He felt that Gerlinde really wanted to make the summit and knew what was the best decision for her. It was his decision to go back down but others may have a different risk assessment than his. Her decision worked out fine. They had talked beforehand about if one of them wanted to turn around. It was important to talk about these things before they left so not to talk about them in stressful situations.
  • In terms of helping each other if one’s life was in danger, Ralf said that if one of them was ill then they would do anything to rescue them. Ralf knew she was with other strong climbers so would be ok without him.
  • Gerlinde was hoping that Ralf would come with them, but she respects his decision. They were in constant radio contact so that made Gerlinde feel like they were climbing together.
  • Ralf was able to pass on the weather forecast from Charlie Gabl in Innsbruck. He also watched them as they climbed K2 and gave advice. In the end , Ralf thought it was not a bad thing he stayed behind.
  • Erick Tischler congratulated Gerlinde on her achievement. He was a priest who took Gerlinde and others after church service to the mountains. She first gained an appreciation of nature from this. He also married Gerlinde and Ralf.
  • Some of the foods that they showed that they took up K2 included pasta bolognas, baby porridge and dried fruit.
  • Gerlinde showed the down suit that she wore on K2. It was very warm she said. It provided great protection against frostbite.
  • Her luxury item she takes with her is a toothbrush when climbing. Other climbers don’t take one often.
  • The medical kit included medicine for cerebral or pulmonary oedema. Also a strong pain killer.
  • Gerlinde said that her training as a nurse helped her on occasions when climbing to help others. This time though it was not needed.
  • The 2 man tent weighed about 1.2kg. This was the one they spent the night at 8300m.
  • They try and drink 5lt of water a day when climbing.

Source: Sports Studio on YouTube

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