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with Stefan Nestler

Climber as victim of terrorism

Herve-GourdelClimbers are no couch potatoes. We are travelling worldwide to pursue our hobby. Or should I say our passion? Sadly, some get caught in the crossfire. Yesterday, there was the shocking news that Algerian jihadists affiliated with the IS group had beheaded the French mountain guide Hervé Gourdel. The 55-year-old lived in the mountain village of Saint-Martin-Vesubie in the French Maritime Alps. He was spending his holidays in the 2,000-meter-high Djurdjura range in northern Algeria, when he was kidnapped last Sunday.

Not a no man’s land

It is the second time within 15 months that a terror attack against climbers made headlines worldwide. In June 2013, radical Islamists killed eleven climbers at the base camp on the Diamir Side of Nanga Parbat in northern Pakistan Islamists. Like Hervé, they died because they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Meanwhile some climbers avoid to travel to areas of conflict. Thus, the Huber brothers cancelled their Karakorum expedition scheduled for last summer, because “the risk was no more calculable”, as Alexander said.  A month ago, the German Foreign Office warned not to travel to remote areas in  North Africa saying that there was a danger of hostage- taking. Algeria was explicitly mentioned. Mountains are just not an always peaceful no man’s land.

My thoughts are with Gourdel’s wife and thier two children. Hervé, R.I.P.!


25. September 2014 | 16:18


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