Kurt Diemberger, the legendary Austrian climber now in his eighth decade, headlines an exceptional line up of Himalayan pioneers at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London on Wednesday 20th November telling of triumphs and tragedies in their quests to be the first on the summits of the world’s highest mountains.
Diemberger is the only person alive today to have made first ascents of two of the world’s 8000m mountains. This special event is a rare opportunity to hear from one of the pioneers in the golden age in mountaineering.
In 1957 he climbed Broad Peak (8047m) with Herman Buhl and in 1960 Dhaulagiri (8172m) with a Swiss team, both without using bottled oxygen. Uniquely, Diemberger is joined by his daughter Hildegard Diemberger, a Tibetanologist at Cambridge University, who will be exploring the spiritual and sacred significance of the Himalaya.
The event organiser Doug Scott commented “I am delighted that Kurt will be speaking at this year’s event. Now in his 80s, his passion for the mountains still burns bright and the opportunity to hear from one of the Himalaya’s great pioneers is a rare treat”.
Supporting Diemberger are Robert Schauer whose celebrated route on the West Face (Shining Wall) of Gasherbrum IV in 1985 has still not been repeated and Doug Scott who made the first ascent of Shishapangma South West Face in 1984. Bringing the history of Himalayan first ascents right up to date are Sandy Allan who in 2012 made the epic 18 day first traverse of the unclimbed 13km Mazeno Ridge of Nanga Parbat and Mick Fowler awarded a Piolet d’Or for his first ascent of the Prow of Shiva in 2013.
Doug Scott added “The thrill of the uncertainty as to the outcome of a climb is something all true adventurers relish and is common to all the speakers at this celebration whether their climb was 50 years ago or this year.”
Supporting guests are long distance trekker Gerda Maria Pauler speaking of her 1700km journey across the Great Himalaya Trail and host John Porter.
The event will raise funds for the charity Community Action Nepal and features a charity auction of mountain prints signed by Reinhold Messner, Sir Chris Bonington, Tom Hornbein, Walter Bonatti and other legendary mountaineers.
Community Action Nepal (CAN) was set up by Doug Scott CBE, the first Briton to climb Everest, as a way “for climbers to give something back to the country in which they lived their mountain dreams”. It seeks to improve education, extend health and dental care, reverse the depopulation of remote villages, strengthen community based culture and improve the welfare of mountain porters. Doug Scott commented “By supporting ‘First in the Himalaya’ you will help to make a real difference to the lives of the Himalaya mountain people”.