Most climbers think of Everest and scaling its perilous 8,848 m but I wanted to combine my two passions of trail running and peak climbing on the most iconic mountain on earth.

map with the Route for climbing everest

I set about making my own creative route to one of Everest’s most famous peaks and memories that would last me a lifetime.

The peak of Lobuche East was my goal and my plan on paper looked something like this:

  • Sat: Flight to Lukla and run to Namze Bazar
  • Sun: Run to Pheriche
  • Mon: Run to Lobuche
  • Tues: Run to Everest Base Camp, Khumbu Ice Fall, Khala Patthar and down to Lobuche
  • Wed: Reserve day
  • Thurs: Reserve day
  • Fri: Meet mountain guide in Lobuche to climb Zhongla
  • Sat: Climb Lobuche East (6,119m) and run down to Zhongla
  • Sun: Run back 1
  • Mon: Run back 2
  • Tues: Flight to Kathmandu

11 days dedicated to trail running and peak climbing in the Himalayas using only ‘fair means’ and ‘alpine style’. No Sherpa support, just local infrastructure and a meticulous plan I had been working on in the months running up to this adventure.

You can never be too well prepared

Others like altitude are not to be joked about. If you don’t acclimatize correctly you risk your health and even your life.

Selfie of Marcel in his oxygen tent at home which he set up in his garden to get acclimatized for climbing Everest

I had a limited amount of time to acclimatize and planned to move very quickly up to the summit to achieve the alpine style ascent I had challenged myself to.

My creative solution was to get used to the thin air at home in Germany rather than Nepal.

It was HORRIBLE – the humid air, the humming of the generator and tightness of the tent – but so worth it as I was able to literally hit the ground running when I arrived.

Having my body in the right shape wasn’t the only thing I had to spend time sorting out on home soil. It took me months of phone calls and e-mails with agencies and government officials to get a safe and legal trip up and running. I had to concede to using a Sherpa, or mountain guide, and after an enormous effort I thought my plan was bulletproof. On landing in Lukla however, I realized the guides on the mountains rarely talk with their agency partners. They are basically on climbs 99% of the time.

Negotiating my way to the top

When I eventually met my guide, Domi, I faced a whole new and unexpected challenge. He didn’t believe I could achieve my plan and it was up to me to convince him I wasn’t a tourist climber putting both my life and his in danger.

Reeling off my running and climbing CV fell on deaf ears; Mount Elbrus, Mont Blanc, German U23 6h running champion…he didn’t want to hear about it, he wanted to see it.

Marcel in his orange Terrex jacket is smiling into the camera. In the background you can see the mountains.
Time to put all my training into action and show both myself and my guide what I could do.
Marcel and his guide are walking over a snow field to climbing Everest.
My love and respect of the mountains helped get me safely to the top.
Marcel posing for a picture in the snow. | Climbing Everest
Enjoying the mini-moments on the ascent and descent of Lobuche.
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The result of getting him on board and trusting in my capabilities meant I reached the top of Lobuche on my terms.

The payoff for my passion

My descent from Lobuche was filled with mini-moments that made all my hard work and preparation worth it. I hadn’t suffered altitude sickness at the top and instead felt so very peaceful and calm. The soup at the hut stop from which we had left the night before at 3am to start the ascent tasted amazing. We had changed out of crampons to lighter shoes to scramble and fast-hike back in 2hrs – what we needed 5hrs for on the way up!

I’m well aware that so much can go wrong during such a climb but for us it didn’t. My preparation, my determination, and passion got me to the top my way and it’s a day I will keep in my mind forever, or at least until I climb my first 7,000m!


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