Veteran 8,000m Skier Luis Stitzinger Missing on Kangchenjunga

On May 24, a group of mostly seasoned and self-sufficient climbers summited Kangchenjunga. Some of them reached the top without supplementary oxygen.

Among them was German alpine guide and 8,000m skier Luis Stitzniger. Two days later, news broke that he went missing shortly after starting his descent.

Stitzinger planned to summit without oxygen and ski back down to Base Camp. It is not clear exactly what happened or if he was on skis when he disappeared. His outfitter, Seven Summit Treks, told The Himalayan Times that he “was last seen descending at around 8,500m.”

A search and rescue operation is ongoing.

Selfie showing Stitzinger's face with a helmet, and a wooden cross behind, with an edelweiss flower at its middle.

Luis Stitzinger beside a summit cross in the Otztahler Alps. Photo: Luis Stitzinger/Facebook


Stitzinger is a certified mountain and ski-touring guide, and an expert in high-altitude skiing. He has summited nine 8,000’ers, all without oxygen except for Everest, where he guided teams to the summit in 2019 and 2022.

He has also skied (completely or partially) Gasherbrum II, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, K2, Manaslu, and Shishapangma, as well as the north face of Peak Lenin (7,134m). Stitzinger usually climbs and skis with his wife, Alli von Melle, but this time she is at home, waiting for news.

The couple on a flat summit (Broad Peak?) on a sunny day, both wearing high altitude gear, no O2.

Alix von Melle (left) and Luis Stitzinger on an 8,000’er. Photo: Lowa/Go Climb a Mountain

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.