Everest News.com Interview with Everest Climber Waldemar
Waldemar Niclevicz's interview is below. Waldemar was the first
Brazilian to climb Everest. For those that are new to Everest News, we followed him on K2
this year. Check the daily reports ! The questions were from the readers of Everest News !
For those that don't know Waldemar, is considered a great HA climber.
Part 1: The Interview Part One:
Q .) Would like to ask W. Niclevicz, what makes his summit failed on
K2 this year. And, is he preparing a new climb at the Everest?
A .) NO ONE REACHED K2 SUMMIT THIS YEAR AND THE MAIN REASON IS
THE WEATHER. IT WAS REALLY BAD. IN TWO MONTHS WE HAD ONLY FOUR CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF GOOD
WEATHER, THERE WAS STRONG SNOW AND A LOT OF WIND. EVEN LIKE THAT WE MANAGED TO GET AT
APPROXIMATELY 8.000m. WE WERE THE ONLY TEAM TO REACH THIS ALTITUDE. BY NOW, I DON'T HAVE
PLANS TO CLIMB EVEREST AGAIN. I DID AN ATTEMPT BY NEPAL SIDE IN 91 AND REACHED 8.500m, AND
DID THE SUMMIT BY TIBET IN 95. I BELIEVE I KNOW THIS MOUNTAIN WELL AND IT WOULD BE MORE
GRATEFUL TO GO INTO NEW PLACES.
Q.) Which climb has brought you the most satisfaction?
A.) I'VE DONE LOTS OF CLIMBS, SO IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO ANSWER THIS
QUESTION. I HAVE A SPECIAL KINDNESS FOR THE ANDES MOUNTAINS, SPECIALLY FOR THE WHITE
RIDGE, WHERE THE HUASCARAN AND CHOPICALQUI CLIMBS ARE AMONGST THE MOST BEAUTIFUL I'VE EVER
DONE. BUT THE HIMALAYANS ARE ALSO VERY INVOLVING. I ALSO HAVE AMAZING MEMORIES FROM
EVEREST AND K2.
Q..) After spending a long time on the summit of Everest this year,
what does Waldemar think of the idea of spending the night there? What does Waldemar think
about Babu Chhiri Sherpa plans to sleep at Everest Summit?
A.) IT WOULD BE VERY INTERESTING TO SPEND THE NIGHT AT 8.848m TO
REGARD SUNSET AND SUNRISE AT THE TOP OF EVEREST, BUT I BELIEVE its TOO MUCH RISKFUL. I
SPENT 3 HOURS AND 10 MINUTES UP THERE, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THE DAY WAS SPECTACULAR, SUNNY AND
WITHOUT WIND. TO SPEND THE NIGHT AT THE TOP OF THIS BIG MOUNTAIN IS AN UNNECESSARY RISK.
Q.) Tell us about Everest 95. Was he guided by AB? what did happen
on the way to the summit? Did anyone die? I read in The Climb that Henry Todd (who's team
Waldemar was on) has never lost a client, is this true? If so, why not in his
A.) I WASN'T GUIDED BY ANATOLI BOUKREEV IN 95, BUT WE WERE AT THE
SAME EXPEDITION. WE WERE 13 CLIMBERS AND ME AND MY PARTNER FROM BRAZIL WERE THE FIRST TO
SUMMIT AT MAY 14th. ANATOLI, ANOTHER RUSSIAN CLIMBER AND AN ENGLISH WERE THE SECOND ONES,
AT MAY 17th. FORTUNATELY WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY TRAGEDY IN 95. NOBODY DIED. ABOUT HENRY TODD,
I DON'T KNOW HIS GUIDING CAREER ENOUGH TO ANSWER THE QUESTION.
Q.) Does Waldemar have an opinion on Everest 96 south side? What
does he feel about AB going down early? What does he feel happened wrong? Should people be
able to guide without O2? Did AB use O2 on Everest 95?
A.) IT WAS THE WORST TRAGEDY ON EVEREST HISTORY AND THE MOST SAD IS
TO KNOW THAT MOST OF THE VICTIMS WERE CLIENTS. IT HAPPENED AN EXCESS OF TRUST OF THOSE
CLIENTS IN THEIRS GUIDES, THE EXPEDITIONS' CHIEFS UNDERESTIMATED THE MOUNTAIN AND DIDN'T
REALIZED HOW DANGEROUS THE SITUATION WAS. ANATOLI MAY HAVE BEEN THE ONLY ONE TO TAKE THE
RIGHT DECISION AND I BELIEVE HE WOULD HAVE PREFERRED THAT EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE GONE DOWN
AT THAT HOUR. I THINK A CLIMBER CAN GUIDE WITHOUT USING ARTIFICIAL OXYGEN, AS LONG AS HE
DOESN'T LOOSE THE CONTROL OF THE SITUATION. I'M NOT SURE IF ANATOLI USED OR NOT OXYGEN IN
95, I GUESS NO.
Q.) Was he on K2 with Alison Hargreaves ? If so what does he think
happened to her? Was she a great climber or just another climber?
A.) I WASN'T WITH ALISON AT K2. I MET HER IN 95 ON EVEREST. SHE DID
THE SUMMIT ONE DAY BEFORE ME. SHE WAS A VERY GOOD CLIMBER, VERY SYMPATHETIC, AND SHOWED TO
HAVE A LOT OF TRUST IN HERSELF.
Q.) The Italians said Heidi was not a very good climber on their web
site? Is this true? Was there a problem between the Italians and the Americans on K2 this
year? Were the Americans good enough to be on K2 this year?
A.) I THINK THE POINT ISN'T HEIDI'S ABILITIES , BUT THE
ITALIANS BELIEVED THEY WERE THE BEST, WHICH IS NOT UNTRUE, BECAUSE ALL OF THEM WERE
MOUNTAIN GUIDES. HEIDI SEEMED TO ME TO BE A VERY GOOD CLIMBER, ALWAYS FULL OF DISPOSAL AND
VERY ENCOURAGED. NO OTHER TEAM WAS SO WELL PREPARED TO FACE K2 AS OURS, SO THE ITALIANS
GOT DISCONTENTS WITH THE LACK OF COLLABORATION, BECAUSE ALL THE WORK OF FIXING ROPES WAS
DONE BY OURSELVES. I DIDN'T CARE ABOUT IT BECAUSE TO ME IT WAS A PLEASURE TO BREAK THE
TRAIL, EVEN IF THAT MEANT SPENDING MORE ENERGY.
Q.) How much difference does if make not having sherpas on K2?
A.) THERE IS A LOT OF DIFFERENCE. IT WOULD BE MUCH MORE EASY TO
CLIMB K2 WITH SHERPA SUPPORT. THE BALTIS ARE NOT SKILLFUL CLIMBERS AND NOT SO GOOD
PORTERS. SHERPAS ARE STRONGER AND HAVE MORE RESPECT FOR THE MOUNTAINS. THERE IS ALSO A
DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CLIMBERS WHO HIRE THEM.
Q.) What does he think about someone snowboarding or skiing down
A.) I THINK THE IDEA IS GREAT AND A BIG CHALLENGE.
Q.) How did he begin climbing? What does he think is important for
someone wanting to start climbing?
A.) I STARTED CLIMBING NATURALLY AFTER KNOWING MY FIRST MOUNTAIN
(MARUMBI PEAK, AT 1.547m, NEAR MY TOWN) AND BECOMING FRIEND WITH CLIMBERS. ITS VERY
IMPORTANT TO START CLIMBING IN THE RIGHT WAY, TO AVOID VICIOUSNESS AND UNNECESSARY RISKS.
I RECOMMEND TO MAKE A GOOD COURSE WITH A PROFESSIONAL MOUNTAIN GUIDE BEFORE START HANGING
OVER ROPES BY YOURSELF. IT'S GOOD TO KEEP IN MIND THAT THE MOUNTAIN OFFERS DANGERS
AND IT'S NOT A PLACE FOR KIDDING. TO RESPECT ITS HUGE NATURE AND YOUR OWN LIMITS IS NEVER
Many Thanks to guta nascimento, for her assistance !!!
Part two of Waldemar Niclevicz interview is below. Waldemar was the
first Brazilian to climb Everest. The questions were from the readers of Everest News !
For those that don't know Waldemar, he is considered a great HA climber.
The Interview Part Two:
Q.) My question for you is this: What should I do to train for
climbing? I am in pretty good shape now, I work out 5 times a week, but would like to be
more specific in my training to enhance my climbing ability.
A.) The question is very generic. It depends of the style you are
going to practice. If you are talking about climbing high mountains, all your body
work must be turned into improving your aerobic capacity, which means, improve your
capacity of absorbing oxygen. Exercises of long duration are recommended: run at least 40
minutes (the ideal is to run at least 12 km in one hour), biking 70 km (non-stop), long
walks (20 to 30 km per day), exercises for the muscles (3 or 4 series with 30 to 40
repetitions each) and swim at least 2,000 meters. But to improve your ability as climber
it is necessary to climb ! Keep most of the contact with the mountain.
Q.) K2 is so much further north than Everest. Does that make
K2 on the whole a much colder mountain, with consequent problems for climbers?
A.) 2) K2 is not too much at north than Everest, but more into west
direction. Which turns that we don't have too much difference of coldness. Actually we get
warmer temperatures than at Everest because K2 climbing season is at summer. And Everest
has to be climbed on spring or autumn.
Q.) Can you tell us more detail about your summit day on Everest?
A.) In Everest I had the preoccupation of doing the final attack at
good weather because in 1991 I had done an attempt by Nepal side and suffered a lot with
snow and coldness. In 95, by Tibet side, I was glad to be in a good season and the final
attack was done in a very safe day. The weather was so good that I stayed 3 hours and 10
minutes at the top.
Q.) On Everest, I heard the weather was real bad. If so why did you
go for the summit?
A.) As I said before, the weather was very good.
Q.) Everest: Who made the decision on summit day ? What role did
Anatoli play for Henry Todd team? You were also on Henry Todd's team? Right?
A.) I was at Henry's team that had hired Anatoli as guide. He was a
great climber but his presence didn't change my strategy. Anatoli arrived at the top few
days later because he had a very strong cough attack. That delayed his climb and my
Brazilian partner and I arrived at the top before the others expedition members. The
decision of making the final attack that day was mine because I believed the full moon
would improve the weather. And it happened. It was the best day of that season.
Q.) Can you tell us arm-chair climbers a little more about why the
Italians did not like the Americans? Is it because the Americans did not pull their
A.) The Italians were very good climbers, the best that were on K2
this year. This is a point out of discussion - all of them were certified mountain guides.
When the other expeditions started to arrive we all hoped that the other climbers would
help us. Weather was very bad turning the climbing even more difficult. But, of course,
the climbers that were arriving were not acclimatized yet to help us. And the Italians
complained about the lack of collaboration. We tried to find alternative solutions and
asked each one to bring ropes up to camp 2, at 6,700m, then we could fix them. The
Americans were the first to bring their ropes up there. I personally enjoyed very much
being close to them. Several times I used theirs tents to sleep and I believe that besides
our team they were the most well prepared to help us.
Q.) From reading, it appears that K2 has successfully been climbed
primarily with very large teams. Typically, these teams had the manpower and
resources to fight against the daily storms by having significant numbers of
climbers. These climbers retrace steps, repair fixed ropes and fix campsites
multiple times through the climb. Then, with luck, a few climbers make it to the top
within a very short timeframe. This summer, there were no such large teams on the
mountain. Do you think it there were no successful climbs because the teams were
small or was the weather atypically worse than normal?
A.) I have no doubts that nobody summited K2 this year because
weather was very bad. I'm sure if weather were good, many of the climbers that were there
would have summited. But I must admit that if there were one or more two big expeditions
chances of success would have improved.
Q.) Does the failed attempt on K2 change the plans for Cho Oyo and
future plans outlined on your website? Would you prefer to go back to K2 as soon as
possible or continue on your plan?
A.) I've climbed Cho Oyo this year, nine days after summiting also
Shisha Pangma. It was our training for K2. Me and my partner at K2 project, Italian Abele
Blanc, will go back to K2 next year. Before it we are going to try climbing Gasherbrum and
Hidden Peak in order to prepare ourselves. We already have the permission of the Pakistan
government to climb K2. The only thing that changed on K2 project was about Makalu -
that now we intend to climb after K2.
Q.) Will the Magic Line ever be climbed? You have seen
it. Could you explain why it has been impossible for legendary climbers like
Reinhold Messner to climb it? Could you describe its difficulties?
A.) I believe yes, but it will be necessary a lot of luck to have
good weather, which is difficult in a mountain as K2. I believe Magic Line has
difficulties very similar to the north face of Matterhorn. The difficulties get deeper by
thin air and very strong winds. Delicate passes and exposed rocks with vertical halls of
ice that only offer security at good weather. It is necessary a lot of patience to face
it. But, besides all these difficulties, Magic Line has a unique beauty ness. It's a
challenge transformed into a dream for many climbers as myself.
Q.) What are the primary differences between climbing in the
Karakoram and Khumbu areas of the Himalayas? For example, are the rocks better for
placing fixed anchors? Are the views better? Is the snow the same
consistency? Which do you like better and why?
A.) The main difference is not geographic or technical, but cultural
as you have differences between Nepal & Tibet's culture and Pakistan's culture. But if
you are talking about the mountains, in my opinion, Karakorum is much more beautiful than
Khumbu, more impressive and wild. Mountains are vertically impressive, with innumerous
towers. It's a paradise for climbers in search of a great adventure, far from the
mountains crowded with commercial expeditions. The "black rock" (that's the
meaning of the word Karakorum) is real weak but the white ones are more consistent and
offer the same difficulties of Khumbu rocks. The same happens to the glaciers, although
those one can be more dangerous as long as Karakorum walls are more inclined than the
Q.) Do you think every expedition should have a satellite
phone? Even though they are expensive, prices have gone down significantly in recent
years. Should it be required for emergency purposes?
A.) 11) After using the satellite phone I could understand how much
he is important for our safety ness and all expeditions should take it. A request of help
would take days to arrive until the nearest city by a porter, which can be done in a few
minutes without problems of comprehension. Besides that, it's a pleasure to be able to
speak with your family and friends being so distant.
Q.) How do you finance your climbing career? Other than your
main sponsorship from O Botocario, do you have any other forms of income?
A.) My projects are all sponsored, and I thank God for it. I earn
money with my books and videos and mainly with the lectures I make to business companies.
In these lectures I do analogies between my climbs and the routine days of the executives,
that now face an each more competitive market, with more exigent clients. In these
lectures I reinforce subjects as Strategical Planning, Risks Managements, Team Spirit,
Leadership, Decisions Making etc.
Q.) How would you recommend aspiring mountaineers get started
A.) The best way to start climbing is with friends that already have
experience or through an alpine club with good mountain guides that usually provide good
courses. Don't try to learn climbing alone, just after going into a climbing shop and
buying a lot of equipment without even knowing how to use them properly. It can be really
Q.) What is next ?
A.) First I intend to finish climbing K2. After I would like to
climb some other 8,000 peaks as Makalu, Kangchenjunga, Annapurna and Nanga Parbat. I don't
have the intention of doing yet all the fourteen 8,000 peaks. I would like very much to
climb in New Zealand and one day go back to climb in Antarctica.
Many Thanks to guta nascimento, for her assistance !!!