Ski Mountaineer Tamara Lunger Interview

Tamara Lunger started competitive ski-touring in 2002 and, as a member of the Italian national team, won several major titles. These include Italian Champion in 2006 and 2008, winner of the Pierra Menta 2007 and Long Distance World Champion 2008. Following these successes Tamara has progressed onto mountaineering, becoming the youngest woman to climb Lhotse (8516m) in 2010. Now sponsored by The North Face, she is continually looking for new challenges in high alpine mountain terrain, the environment which gives her an almost indescribable feeling of happiness and contentment.

Mountaineer Tamara Lunger on Lhotse
Tamara Lunger is the youngest female mountaineer to summit Lhotse

Climbing Lhotse was one of Tamara Lunger‘s finest achievements. Starting from Camp 4 (7900m) it took Tamara and Pemba Sherpa 10 hours climbing to reach the summit, where she achieved her goal of summitting the 8000m mountain at the age of 23.

The descent was long and exhausting. After the 40 hours with only one litre of water, I was so happy to arrive at base camp. It this was the most strenuous thing I had ever experienced in my life. And yet – more than ever before, I was now convinced that what I had accomplished here was exactly what I had always wanted. This experience was very important and formative for me. In the future, I wanted to give everything and do my best in order to make my dream to become my profession. Tamara Lunger, via Google Translate.

Climbing Khan Tengri (7010m), Kazakhstan, Tamara narrowly avoided an avalanche that destroyed her team mate’s tent. Summitting in stormy conditions there was no view from the peak. Due to the cold her goggles had frozen and moving was difficult. It took all of concentration to avoid panicking and make the descent to camp 4. Arriving frozen the team were trapped for 3 days at high altitude, unable descend further due to heavy snow storms.

Tamara Lunger Camping in the snow on a mountain side
Tamara’s camp on the mountain of Muztagh Ata,
on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau

Tamara Lunger Interview

It is obvious that Tamara Lunger likes to challenge herself on the mountains! In our interview we asked her to tell us more about herself, her achievements, future plans and favourite outdoor gear!

CheapTents: What inspired you to get into Climbing?

Tamara Lunger: I live in south Tyrol, so it’s nothing unusual that I love mountains. I really want to give my best all the time. And I don´t know why, but it´s in my mind, that the mountain with all its facets gives me the best playground to do it. But the main thing I think is that particularly far away from home, where I can be alone with myself, without communication, without car, without TV, I really felt myself as never before. I learn more about me, my energy, my skills in every experience and this for me is one of the most important values in life, to be one with the inner of himself.

CheapTents: What has been your biggest sporting achievement?

Tamara Lunger: It is for sure my gold medal in a ski mountaineering world championship on the long distance in 2008 and then the summit of Lhotse in 2010. But even, if for me I had no big climbing success in the last 2 years (some 7000m peaks) every expedition taught me a lot and for sure I got good skills and a good base for my future.

CheapTents: What is you biggest weakness?

Tamara Lunger: Sometimes I think too much during climbing! Also, I’m only really focused on my own climbs. I don’t know too much about the history of climbing or about the achievements of other people.

CheapTents: When did you feel like you “made it” in your your field of outdoor sports? And do you feel like you’ve satisfied your goals?

Tamara Lunger: I’m always satisfied when I come home healthy. I sometimes give big claims to myself and I always want to realize my dreams and goals. If I could achieve what I wanted I’m really happy, but also If I cannot succeed (because of weather or other condition) on a mountain it is always a new important lesson to me for better future climbs.

Tamar Lunger celebrates on the peak of Muztagh Ata mountain
Tamar Lunger on the summit of Muztagh Ata (7546m)

CheapTents: What do you find most challenging about training?

Tamara Lunger: I love to do my training, especially when I can be out in nature and give my best on the performance with some friends.

CheapTents: What has been your worst injury (if any) from outdoors sports and how did it happen?

Tamara Lunger: Until now I was lucky and I really hope that also in future will be like this.

But I had knee Problems for 13 years and since last year I found the best pain therapy ever: LnB from Germany. And now I’m healthy again. It was also good for my mind, because to train every day with pain was very heavy for my mind and very depressing.

CheapTents: What will be your most challenging climbs for next year?

Tamara Lunger: I plan to make my first unclimbed peak and further I plan to bring some people to the summit of peak Lenin, it is for sure not the most challenging technical climb, but for me a new challenge in empathy, patience and coordination.

CheapTents: Where would you like to be in 5 years time? Main Ambitions?

Tamara Lunger: I want become better in skills and abilities and then make true for me a very important climb on 8000 meters. But my future also should be to climb lower peaks in shorter time, unclimbed peaks, making good climbing in Europe and combine high level sports on mountain.

CheapTents: For other budding outdoor sports enthusiasts, what tips can you provide to help other compete at a higher level?

Tamara Lunger: Live your dreams. Everything is possible, if you really want it. Believe in yourself!

Tamara Lunger on the mountain of Cho Oyu
Tamara Lunger on the mountain of Cho Oyu (8201m)

CheapTents: What are your favourite bits of gear, and why?

Tamara Lunger: I would say that my really best gear are my legs and my heart, who always bring me ahead and the best is my developed emotion, which brings me safe home all the time. And then I have one karabiner from Walter Nones, a friend who had a fatal accident on Cho Oyu. I helped to bring him down the mountain and his wife gave me this piece of gear from him, which is very important for me because I feel he is there with me.

The best gear for climbing is of course the Himalayan Parka and the Redpoint pants (very warm!!!) with a Goretex trousers from The North Face. It is very reassuring for me to know that I can trust 100% in my equipment.

CheapTents: Any people or sponsors that you’d like to thank?

Tamara Lunger: First of all to my family, who were supporting me since the beginning, then to my boyfriend, who understands my dreams of life and is a wonderful training partner.

But without my sponsors I would never have had the possibility to live my dreams. First of all The North Face followed by my region South Tyrol, La Sportiva, Garmin, Hotel Posta Zirm, Mountainspirit, Ploner, Elan, Toko, Leki, Dr. Zipe, Rohner.

And, last but not least, you wouldn’t know about me, if there wasn’t LnB Pain therapy which gave me the skills and therapy to heal my knees again and allows me to go on with climbing.

CheapTents: Anything else you would like to say?

Tamara Lunger: I believe in God and I know He is always there with me. A great support during my climbs, which makes me feel confident in what I do.

CheapTents: Thank you, Tamara, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

Tamara Lunger Career Highlights

Ski Mountaineering

  • 1st position Pierra Menta “espoirs” class, 2008. (with Elisa Fleischmann)
  • 3rd position Sellaronda ski marathon, 2008. (with Elisa Fleischmann)
  • 9th position World Championship, 2008. (with Silvia Cuminetti)
  • 5th position European Championship, 2009. (with Corinne Clos)


  • Muztagh Ata (7546m), 2012, China.
  • Khan Tengri (7010m), 2011, Krygyzstan.
  • Cho Oyu to 7750m, 2010, Nepal.
  • Lhotse (8516m), 2010, Nepal. Youngest female ascent.

Career highlights listed on The North Face website.

More Exciting Mountaineering Interviews

If you enjoyed this interview, why not read some of our interviews with other mountaineers and climbers?


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