On Wednesday, September 24th, 2014, an avalanche claimed the lives of two Dynafit sponsored athletes who were attempting to climb two 8,000-meter peaks in one week via the “Dynafit Double 8” project. Sebastian Haag, Martin Maier, and Andrea Zambaldi were hit by an avalanche on Tibet’s Shisha Pangma (8,027m/26,335ft) while climbing at 25,918-feet, only 400-feet below the summit. The avalanche dragged them 2,000-vertical-feet down the mountain through very rough terrain.
Somehow, Martin Maier survived the avalanche and stumbled back into camp 3 and was greeted by Sherpas who were readying themselves for the rescue mission. Sebastian and Andrea did not return. The remaining team members were unable to recover their bodies.
The “Dynafit Double 8” project’s plan was to speed climb and ski 26,335-foot Shisha Pangma and 26,906-foot Cho Oyu via foot, ski, and bicycle in under 7 days.
This is powerfully sad news. We can just imagine all the planning and training and hard work that went into this project by the athletes, team managers, and logistics people. For it to end this way is devastating. Our condolences go out to everyone involved and their friends and families.
Dynafit Press Release:
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.”
Our deep sympathy is with the families and friends of Sebastian and Andrea.