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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.”

Nonstop to the top of Fitz Roy

Gerry climbing the Wendenstoecke in Switzerland

Gerry at the Wendenstoecke (last August)

Gerhard Fiegl was among the leading representatives of the young Austrian generation of climbers. In 2014, Gerry climbed along with his South Tyrolean friend Simon Gietl nonstop within just 21.5 hours to the summit of the legendary granite mountain Fitz Roy in Patagonia. After 31.5 hours, they were back at the starting point. Also with his climbing partners on Nilgiri South, Fiegl completed ambitious projects. So in 2013, along with Alex Bluemel, Gerry opened a new rock climbing route on Gargoyle in Alaska and in spring 2015, along with Hansjoerg Auer, an ambitious mixed route in his home Oetztal. Last summer, Fiegl completed his training as a mountain guide. “It may sound trite, but the most important thing in life are not mountains, climbs or levels of difficulty, but health and happiness”, Gerry wrote. “We all know that it is not self-evident to be healthy and fit and that this situation can change within a second.” R.I.P., Gerry. Or like American climbers say: Climb on.


3. November 2015 | 13:02