08. 09. 10. - 12:00
'Skyrunner' faked successful K2 bid
A controversial Austrian climber has admitted lying about reaching the summit of the world’s second-highest mountain four weeks ago.
Christian Stangl has angered many extreme mountain climbers for years by boasting about his groundbreaking tactics to climb the world’s most feared peaks. The Styrian – who calls himself "Skyrunner" – said he focuses on reaching the summits in as little time as possible instead of "wasting energy" on setting up tent camps to rest.
Now Stangl has revealed he had not stood on the top of the 8,611-metre K2, considered the most difficult mountain in the world to climb, last month.
He said today (Weds): "I was in a trance-like state and thought I had reached it."
Stangl however also stressed he decided to claim he achieved his big goal to avoid disappointing his sponsors.
Willi Pichler, a spokesman for the climber, said Stangl admitted all to his girlfriend who encouraged him to make the issue public.
The "Skyrunner" explained his "picture of evidence" was taken around 1,000 metres altitude lower than the K2’s peak.
Asked whether he felt sorry about having lied to his friends and fans, Stangl said: "I mostly feel sorry for myself."
Austrian media have already branded the incident as the "lie of the decade for the international climbing scene".
Stangl, 44, remained tight-lipped about whether he will stop climbing mountains.
He said: "I’ll take a timeout now to find out where I’m supposed to be in this world. There’s barely anything left for me if the mountain factor slips away."
Stangl’s confession evokes memories of the controversies which overshadowed the bid of Oh Eun Sun. The South Korean claimed earlier this year she was the first woman to scale the world’s 14 highest mountains.
Colleagues and rivals however claimed some pictures allegedly showing Oh on the peaks of some of the most infamous mountains in the world were taken much further down from their summits.
Her operation was also tarnished by her decision to assign several climbers to accompany her and carry her equipment. Her adventures were portrayed in a South Korean TV series while political leaders declared her bid a "national mission".