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Hansjörg Auer succeeds first ascent on a 7000er – solo

Hansjörg Auer on top of Lupghar Sar West

This is a real milestone. The Austrian Hansjörg Auer says, he succeeded the first ascent of a big wall of a seven-thousander in the Karakoram – solo. “I climbed the West Face of Lupghar Sar West for the first time. I took a line on the left side and finished my route up the steep Northwest Ridge with very loose rock to the top at 7,157 meters,” the 34-year-old extreme climber wrote on Instagram. Hansjörg had set off to Pakistan in mid-June for his solo project. His originally planned climbing partner and friend Alexander Blümel had to call off due to health problems.

Date

9. July 2018 | 19:03

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Auer: “No large safety buffer”

Hansjoerg Auer

Hansjoerg Auer

“The ability is the measure of what you are allowed to do,” the free climbing pioneer Paul Preuss (1886-1913) wrote – freely translated – more than a hundred years ago. Hansjoerg Auer is able to do a lot and is therefore a well-deserved winner of the “Paul Preuss Award”, which is annually given to an extraordinary climber in the tradition of the legendary Austrian. “Auer belongs undoubtedly to the best climbers in the world,” said Reinhold Messner during the award ceremony at the International Mountain Summit (IMS) in Bressanone last weekend. Meanwhile, Hansjoerg Auer has set off from his native Oetztal for a new adventure. In the far east of Nepal, the Austrian, along with his countryman Alex Bluemel, wants to first climb the North Face of the almost 7,000-meter-high Gimigela Chuli East. The mountain is hidden behind the eight-thousander Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain on earth.

Hansjoerg, do you take failure into account?

Date

20. October 2016 | 10:16

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Hansjoerg Auer: “I miss Gerry”

At the summit: Fiegl, Bluemel, Auer (from l. to r.)

At the summit: Fiegl, Bluemel, Auer (from l. to r.)

For sure, it was an amazing highlight of alpinism, but a shadow falls across. At the end of October – as reported – the Austrians Hansjoerg Auer, Alexander Bluemel and Gerhard Fiegl first climbed the South Face of the 6,839-meter-high Nilgiri South in the Annapurna massif in Nepal. Five previous expeditions, top climbers from Japan, Czech Republic and Slovakia, had failed to climb the wall. However, the success of the Austrian trio turned into a tragedy: While descending, Gerry, manifestly suffering from high altitude sickness, fell to his death several hundred meters deep, three days after his 27th birthday – while his friends were looking on in horror. A few days later, the search for Fiegl was abandoned.

Hansjoerg Auer sustained frostbite on six toes. Meanwhile the feeling in his toes has returned and he can climb again, the 31-year-old tells me. Next spring, he wants to set off along with his compatriot David Lama to a “cool, very difficult destination”. He doesn’t yet reveal, where it will be. I’ve talked to Hansjoerg about what happened in late October.

Hansjörg, you succeeded in making the amazing first ascent of the South Face of Nilgiri South. But on the descent your teammate Gerry Fiegl fell to his death. Does this tragic end make everything else fade into the backround?

Date

23. December 2015 | 14:27

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Auer: “Everything else becomes unimportant”

Route of the Austrian climbers on Nilgiri South

Route of the Austrian climbers on Nilgiri South

Anyone who has ever climbed a very high mountain knows about the dangers during the descent. Not the dangers of the mountain itself, but of your own body. Suddenly all adrenaline is used up, you feel the pain that you have pushed away during the ascent, you are exhausted, only want to get down quickly and run into danger of losing your concentration. It’s not for nothing that many accidents happen on descent – like on the 6,839-meter-high Nilgiri South in Nepal, where the Austrian Gerhard Fiegl fell several hundred meters into depth on Monday of last week and has been missing since then. As reported, the search for the 27-year-old was meanwhile abandoned.
According to the other two team members, Hansjoerg Auer and Alexander Bluemel, the trio earlier had “successfully reached the summit after climbing through the more than 1,500 meter high South Face”. It was the first climb via the difficult wall where several other expeditions had failed in the past few decades. At the summit they noticed that their friend Gerry was “very exhausted”, Hansjoerg and Alex say. Was it symptoms of High Altitude Sickness? Fiegl’s rapid drop in performance might indicate this. At that altitude, oxygen is pressed into the longs with around 40 percent less pressure than at sea level.

Date

5. November 2015 | 11:05

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Search for Gerry Fiegl abandoned

Gerhard Fiegl (1988-2015)

Gerhard Fiegl (1988-2015)

The worst fears turned into sad certainty. The Austrian climber Gerhard called “Gerry” Fiegl will not return. Reiner Gerstner, company spokesman for the outdoor sporting goods manufacturer Salewa, informed me, that the search for the missing 27-year-old was abandoned: “According to information from Nepal there is no longer any hope to find Gerry still alive.” In recent days, up to one and a half meter of fresh snow had fallen in the Annapurna region, Gerstner said. Last week on Monday, on the descent from the 6,839-meter-high Nilgiri South, Fiegl had fallen several hundred meters into depth. Previously Gerry – along with his compatriots Hansjoerg Auer and Alexander Bluemel – had first climbed the difficult South Face of the mountain where several expeditions had failed in past decades. “So an until then successful expedition came to a tragic end”, said Gerstner. “We mourn the death of a friend. Gerry was one of the best.”

Date

3. November 2015 | 13:02

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