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with Stefan Nestler

Edi Koblmueller is dead

Edi Koblmüller (1946-2015) (© Bergspechte/Uli Seidel)

Edi Koblmüller (1946-2015) (© Bergspechte/Uli Seidel)

Edi Koblmueller, one of the most famous Austrian mountaineers froze to death a few days after his 69th birthday at a ski tour at the 5047-meter-high Mount Kazbek in Georgia. The guide had led an eight-member group of the operator “Bergspechte”. A 59-year woman from Austrian also died. According to media reports, she had been slower than the other members of the group and Edi had remained with her. “The local group told us that Edi Koblmueller and the woman ran into a blizzard,” it says on the website of “Bergspechte”. The other members of the group were able to escape from the snow storm into a shelter. The bodies of the two victims were later found and recovered by helicopter.

Edi’s milestone on Cho Oyu

Edi on top of Cho Oyu in 1978 (© Bergspechte/Alois Furtner)

Edi on top of Cho Oyu in 1978 (© Bergspechte/Alois Furtner)

Since 1968, Edi Koblmueller took part in many expeditions in the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindu Kush and the Andes. He summited five eight-thousanders: Cho Oyu (in 1978), Nanga Parbat (1983), Dhaulagiri (1996, together with his son Michael), Shishapangma (1998) and Broad Peak (1999, with his son Richard).
In 1970, Koblmueller was one of the climbers who succeeded the first ascent of the 7282-meter-high mountain K 6 in Karakorum. A true milestone of high altitude mountaineering was his first climb through the extremely difficult and dangerous Southeast Face of Cho Oyu, which Edi succeeded in Alpine style together with this compatriot Alois Furtner in 1978. Because they had climbed without a permit of the Nepalese government, the five members of the expedition were forbidden to enter the country for five years. “At that time extreme mountaineering was something for outsiders, far away from normality”, Edi once said about that time in an interview.

Wife and son died

In 1978, Koblmueller gave up his former job as a forestry official of the provincial government of Upper Austria and founded “Bergspechte”. In 2014, he sold the company to the German operator “Hauser Exkursionen”. Edi lost two family members by mountain sports accidents: His son Michael died in an avalanche on the seven-thousander Diran in Pakistan in 1999. Koblmuellers wife Elizabeth, with whom he was married for more than 30 years, died after a fall out of a climbing wall in 2003. “Not one day goes past when I do not think of it. After such a blow, you have two options: Either you give yourself up, start to drink and lose yourself or you learn to live with it and accept your fate”, Edi later recalled.
He barely escaped with his life several times, for instance in 2005, when he was buried in an avalanche in Abruzzo and his friends were able to locate and dig him out quickly. Now he had no more luck. Austrian alpinism has lost one of its greatest high altitude climbers. Edi Koblmueller, R.I.P.


17. April 2015 | 16:30


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