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Shisha Pangma (8027m), Tibet.
Photo by Double8 Expedition
Andrea Zambaldi
Photo by archivio Andrea Zambaldi
Sebastian Haag
Photo by Marc Gassert
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Avalanche on Shisha Pangma claims lives of Andrea Zambaldi and Sebastian Haag

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On 24/09/2014 an avalanche on Shisha Pangma (8027m), Tibet, claimed the lives of Italian alpinist Andrea Zambaldi and German alpinist Sebastian Haag. Martin Maier, the third alpinist caught by the avalanche that triggered shortly below the summit, managed to survive.

On 24 September, during the a second attempt to reach the summit of Shisha Pangma by the Double8 expedition - which aimed to climb two 8000ers in 7 days completing the 60km between Shisha Pangma and Cho Oyu on a mountain bike - an avalanche claimed the lives of Sebastian Haag and Andrea Zambaldi. Here is the message sent by Benedikt Böhm from Base Camp:

"In the afternoon of 23.09.2014 at 16:30, Benedikt Boehm (37) and Ueli Steck (38) started from Basecamp (5.600m) the speed ascent on Shisha Pangma 8013m. The plan was to reach the summit in the morning of the 24.09.2014, together with the team mates Sebastian Haag (36), who was starting from Camp 1 (6.300m) and Andrea Zambaldi (32) who started from Camp 2 (6.800m).

Benedikt and Ueli met Basti Haag at C1 (6.300m) as planned at 20:00 and paired up. At the same time Andrea Zambaldi left from C2 (6.800m) towards the summit. All climbers paired up below C3, at approx. 7.100m at 01:00 on 24.09.2014, reaching C3 (7.300m) at exactly 02:00.

Being the first climbers above C2, the team had to continuously break trail through rough conditions. At 06:50 the team was only one hundred vertical meters below the summit. The spirit and motivation was high, as the team was very well working together and moving at the same speed. They were sure reaching the summit at 08:00.

At 06:55 (Nepalese time) Sebastian and Andrea were caught in an avalanche at 7.900m, just 100m below the summit and were dragged for 600m vertical, over steep glaciers, into another section of the mountain.

Benedikt and Ueli immediately called basecamp for help and assistance, while descending to C3, the same route they were coming up, in order to traverse to the avalanche zone and search for the other three climbers. For over four hours they were trying to approach the avalanche zone from various sides, but turned around due to the fact that there was no access to the avalanche zone. Sebastian and Andrea disappeared with the avalanche and their bodies could not be found."

Andrea Zambaldi and Sebastian Haag were much loved and worked for the Salewa group.

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