Saturday, November 14, 2015

Death of an Austrian Alpinist on Nilgiri South

On October 25th Gerhard Fiegl and two Austrian friends reached the Summit of Nilgiri South, The difficult 6839m mountain in the Annapurna massif.
On the way down Garhard Fiegl took an 800m fall off the South-West Ridge.
Climbed line with bivy spots marked. © Elias Holzknecht
Photo: Hansjorg Auer
''When we started the climb, we knew that we could not come down the same line because the gully was too dangerous to descend,'' Hansjorg Auer told Alpinist Magazine in an interview. ''We knew we would have to go down the southwest ridge. In the end, we had no other choice. I was sure for the last 200 meters up to the south summit that something was wrong.''

Immediately after the incident, the team organized a search and rescue mission. Unfortunately, the terrible weather conditions kept the helicopter from flying for two days. It was too late. This shocking story has left the whole climbing community devastated!

Climbing on day one at around 6200m. © Hansj√∂rg Auer
Photo: Hansjorg Auer

Gerhard Fiegl was born in 1988. His love for climbing came from his parents who were both avid mountaineers. He came from a little village of around 2000 people. Hansjorg Auer was a close friend who grew up in the same village. As a close friend of the family it must have been very painful for him.

The helicopters were not able to recover the body until this date. Auer told Alpinist: ''When we were coming back in the helicopter, I started to actually realize how amazing the line was that we climbed, that Gerry climbed. With all the blank ice and mixed climbing, we were really on the edge of our possibilities. Gerry stood on the summit of his biggest and most difficult climb and I'm thankful for that. I will never forget his shining eyes.''

The team rated their climb M5, 90 degrees. Auer said they tried to give it an honest rating regards of the incident and the bad weather.

Author : Vincent Kneeshaw

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