Interview with Peter Hamor: Lhotse and the ‘Mecca‘ of high altitude mountaineering

Posted: Jun 05, 2013 03:35 pm EDT

(By Nick Boudreau and Denisa Sulcova contributor) Returning this week to his native Slovakia after a successful summit of Lhotse, ExplorersWeb caught up with climber Peter Hamor to get his take on his 11th successful 8000 meter peak. He climbed this year with four other European climbers including Italian Marco Confortola, Basque climber Alex Txikon, Romainian Horia Colibasanu and Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga, all of whom summited without supplemental oxygen. Aside from the thrill of summit success, Peter also offers a dose of candid perspective regarding the new world order of Himalayan climbing.


ExplorersWeb: We heard reports that the route was rockier and icier than usually this year. What was your experience with the terrain above Camp 4?


Peter: You  are right, the route was rockier and icier above C4 this year. It wasn’t too bad, even though there were some rocks hitting us. Marco Confortola ended up with broken skull and Jorge Egocheaga with broken thumb. The rest of us were  happy to survive without any injury. I would say it’s quite dangerous there now - the summit gully as well as the spot for C4  - you just have to be lucky.


ExplorersWeb: How would you rank this climb in comparison to the other successful climbs – Everest, K2 and many other 8,000 meter peaks – you have checked off the list?


Peter: Technically it was almost easy ascent, but it does have dangerous beginning and finish –Khumbu Ice Fall and Summit Gully. I tried Lhotse in 1996, without success. It was my first Himalaya expedition with many beginner’s mistakes, so I’m glad to succeed  after many years. Lhotse is and always will be in the shadow of Everest and people do underestimate it, even though the ascent isn’t easy at all.


ExplorersWeb: Anything unexpected about the climb this year?


Peter: There are many unexpected things happening during the expeditions. I cannot think about one, where something didn’t go wrong. This time the biggest turn was Alexei Bolotov’s death. In comparison to this, all the other complications were just trivial and negligible.


ExplorersWeb: After Lhotse, what’s the next peak on your bucket list?


Peter: I’ve got many plans, of course, but nothing specific. It might be Manaslu, Shisha Pangma, Nuptse, or Everest – I don’t really know right now. I would like to stay in our home mountains “High Tatras” for a while. I’m not a professional mountaineer, so I will have to work and look for sponsors for my next expedition. My wife Maria organizes the International Festival of Mountain Films in Poprad, Slovakia in October, so I will help her with it and more likely I will stay home during the fall, then, we will see.


ExplorersWeb: Anything else you’d like to add?


Peter: Nepal is still a Mecca of high altitude mountaineering. Even though it’s been changing during the last years and the Nepalese are not the same either. I’m always eager to come back. There are still many things to explore. You can stay weeks underneath big abandoned, forgotten walls, or be a part of a large mountaineering group, just like at the Everest Base Camp. Both are magic and it’s only up to us which alternative we pick.


The worst thing is to blame everyone and everything for being wet, after all those warnings that you are not supposed to piss against the wind.


Nepal has changed many people. Let’s not try to change Nepal. If we are not able to accept it, we should stay in US or Europe. Climbing in Himalaya is not only about breaking records and difficulties, it is just like one of us said: “La Pura Vida”.




Lhotse Wrap Up: Spring 2013


Alexey Bolotov, Lhotse, Nuptse and Shishapangma


Summits on Everest, Lhotse and Shishapangma Central


Lhotse Summit Push and Update on Other Teams


Interview: The Pre-Acclimatized Ballinger, Baranov Lhotse Couloir Ski Attempt


#Himalaya #PeterHamor #Lhotse

Hamor: "Nepal has changed many people. Let us not try to change Nepal. If we are not able to accept it, we should stay in US or Europe."
courtesy Peter Hamor, SOURCE
Peter Hamor self-portrait at Camp 3 on Lhotse.
courtesy Peter Hamor, SOURCE
"the route was rockier and icier above C4 this year."
courtesy Peter Hamor, SOURCE
Lhotse summit view.
courtesy Peter Hamor, SOURCE