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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?


23. December 2015 | 14:27



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