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Everest Supercouloir next up for climbing Super woman
image story



May 18, 2005 19: 03 EST
Previously published May 10, 2005 12: 37 EST

The summit astonished the climbing community: Gerlinde (now seven Main-8000ers), Hiro (also seven Main-8000ers) and Ralf (first to summit the Main-Peak from both sides) summited Shisha Pangma in Alpine Style by the South Face on May 7th.

In addition, they made the first traverse from the South to the North side. Gerlinde and Ralf are also the first couple to climb the South Face of Shisha Pangma.

Gerlinde was not first to climb the south wall however - Chantal Mauduit did it in 1993 and Christine Boskoff in 2000, corrects Eberhard Jurgalski.

Shared top of the list for living female high-altitude climbers

That said, Gerlinde is still emerging as the top female climber in the world today. The Shisha summit puts her at the shared top of the list for living female high-altitude climbers together with Edurne Pasaban. Only the late Wanda Rutkiewicz has more, with eight 8,000ers. But Gerlinde has climbed all her 8,000ers without O2, bagging Annapurna last May and G1 last summer.

Often choosing tough mountains and difficult routes, Gerlinde and her two male expedition partners are now heading straight for the main course of this season: The Everest Supercouloir, alpine style, no O2...

Priest first climbing guide

Gerlinde started climbing with the help of a priest in the village where she grew up - he would take her climbing every Sunday after church. At the age of 23, she climbed the fore summit of Broad Peak and was hooked. While Chantal named her expeditions after flowers - Gerlinde chooses her climbs by the shape of the mountain!

A favorite was Nanga Parbat, "the most beautiful Base Camp and a grandiose mountain," she told ExWeb. "But Makalu was great too. A big, stunning mountain. The only one I donít have a good memory of is Annapurna. Until now, itís the only peak I donít want to come back to."

"I do my own climbs"

Ralf is of course the favorite climbing partner, and since their 2002 attempt on the North Face of Kanchenjunga also Hiro, "he is a very uncomplicated and nice person and a very strong climber too."

No female has ever climbed Everest off the standard route, and in Alpine style. And with the exception of one controversial climb, if she succeeds, Edurne will be the only woman alive to have summited Everest without oxygen.

And - of course - go to the top of the list together with Wanda. But that's not what drives Gerlinde: "I never felt a pressure to brake Wanda`s record of 8000ers. I do my own climbs and I will never get into competition with anybody. What makes me truly happy, is to climb."

As for the Everest Supercouloir, she says: "I have no fear for this climb. I canít wait for the day when we start our attempt on this special, very spectacular route..."

Ace female climber, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner summited Shisha Pangma, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Manaslu, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna and Gasherbrum 1 - thus making 7, 8,000ers. All without oxygen. Gerlinde is considered one of the top female high altitude climbers and was the 6th women to ever reach Anna's summit. She also has Broad Peak foresummit.

Image of Gerlinde courtesy of Amical.de

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