Fourteen 8000 Meter Quest: An Expert’s History Rewritten

Only three out of 44 climbers have actually climbed the fourteen mountains over 8,000 meters to the top, claims an expert. The others would have stopped on pre-summits, sometimes more than 100 meters away from the main summit.

They would have turned around before the highest point, said mountain specialist Eberhard Jurgalski in an interview broadcast Thursday by the German-speaking newspapers of the Tamedia press group. This 69-year-old German analyzed with a team photographs of summits, descriptions of routes of the protagonists and correspondence.

According to his findings, Reinhold Messner, who says he was the first to have reached all fourteen peaks, only climbed thirteen. The same goes for other well-known mountaineers, such as Erhard Loretan from Fribourg. Worse, no woman has ever reached all 8000 meters, according to Mr. Jurgalski. So far, four women have said so.

Create ‘tolerance zones’

The mountain expert had already published part of his conclusions three years ago. In 2021 and more recently in 2022, he presented with his team more detailed files on the summit areas prone to errors of judgment. The research was published on the website

Mr. Jurgalski, who has never exceeded 2000 meters in altitude and lives in the plain, does not want ‘harm to anyone’. ‘We just discovered the mistakes,’ he adds. If you check known climbs and find that they are not correct, you have to be able to say so as a columnist, he explains. ‘We all make mistakes’.

He considers that, despite this, the performance of the climbers is ‘sensational’. “And no one intentionally cheated,” he notes.


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