DR. G. A. J. TEASDALE
Memories of Masherbrum, 1938
THE Editor has asked to contribute an obituary on Dr.- G. A. J. Teasdale, who died in 1973. This I am not qualified to do as I have little or no knowledge of his life before or after^ the Masherbrum Expedition of 1938, when we were together for a short time. However 1938 certainly marked the Himalayan, high-light of his life, so it may be appropriate to remember him in our Journal ior just this short chapter oft a long and varied career.
Dr. Teasdale #
was the step-father of James,Waller, in the thirties a subaltern in the Royal Artillery and one of the most active of mountaineers in India at that time. Waller, unlike gome of his now more celebrated contemporaries, recognized the* importance of good equipment planning and research, and of a scientific approach to the problems of rationing at high altitudes/ In this latter subject he was guided and assisted by Dr. Teasdale, who contributed a paper ''The Diet Problem for Mountaineers in the Himalaya" to H. J. Vol. XI of 1939, which also carries an account of the 1938 expedition. Dr. Teasdale's paper remains a valuable pioneer contribution to a subject which is still widely* discussed in an ineffectual sort of way, the scores of appendices on food used to pad out expedition books having done little to improve the suitability of the fare disgorged by ration pack, A.B.C. at Camp X for consumption by the present day climber.
After quite extensive climbing in Kashmir and attempts on Nun Kun and Solotoro Kangri (with John Hunt in 1935), Waller ^decided to try Masherbrum in B938. It is arousing to recall now that he was later criticised for admitting to choosing Masherbrum (at 25,660 feet a little higher than Nanda Devi climbed in 1936) because it would be a "height record" - such cheap ambitions were not mentioned in those days. Mrs. Teasdale, Waller's mother, was also a doctor, and the Teasdales joined the Masherbrum Expedition as a Base Camp medical team, one of the few strokes of good fortune enjoyed by the expedition.
Jock Harrison and Robin Hodgkin were very severely frost- 4 bitten high on jthe mountain in the course of a summit bid ajid» 224 reached a hospital only after one full month (17 June to 16 July). In 1963, a quarter of a century later, during the American Everest Expedition. Unsoeld and Bishop were in a modern hospital in Kathmandu on the fifth day following their summit climb and night out. And yet in so far as the feet were concerned (the Americans' hands were not badly affected) the end results were much the same. The devotion and skill of the Teasdales need no further embrodery than this simple record of fact.
I was assisting the Doctor one morning during a particularly distressing session with Harrison's hands and while he cut he remarked "Well Jock, you'll still be able to hold a beer mug and pick up a penny". And although much anguish and many months in hospital still lay ahead, he was right.
J. O. M. Roberts
AJEEBA AND WAN GDI
THE Serpa Community and the Himalayan mountaineering fraternity share the loss of two great Sherpas who have passed away in recent months - Ajeeba and Wangdi.
Amongst the earliest of Sherpas to be able to make an impact oil the mountaineer was Ajeeba. Born in 1911 he first became known during his expedition to Everest in 1933 with Rutledge, I hen followed a fantastic catalogue of achievements each surpassing the previous - on Kabru in 1935 C. R. Cooke, Everest again in 1936 with Rutledge, Siniolchu in 1937 and Gangotri iri 1947. Then came 1950 and Annapurna with Herzog. His contribution to the success is well detailed in the classic book that I o] lowed - especially touching is the chance that he had to u company the summitters but gracefully declined. Then follows (lie heroic part he played in the rescue that could have easily l.itided the expedition into disaster but was saved by Sherpas and members of the expedition alike. Of such stuff is the breed <>i mountaineers made of. In 1951 he was on Everest again with I .11 sen and on the same mountain twice the next year with the l>un<> and Autumn expeditions of the Swiss. It was in 1952 ih.it lie was awarded the Himalayan Club Tiger Badge - a worthy crown to his efforts. One would think of taking it easy iftn tliis, but not so with Ajeeba - Panch Chuli in 1953, Kang- . lie zonga in 1954 with Kempe and Cho Oyu the same year with I IrrlxTt Tichy, Dliaulagiri in 1955 with Meier and again in 1956 witli tlie Argentinians. Chowkliamba in 1959 with the IAF Ex- 15 pedition - Jugal Himal in 1960 with the Japanese, Mana Peak in 1961 and Nilgiri Parbat in 1962 both with expeditions from Calcutta.
There follows then a stint with the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. I well remember him accompanying us on our Advance Course in November 1963. What a towering personality he was and how unassumingly he wore his honours. He spoke little but did much. Although a sensitive person, he displayed little emotion. His son Karma Wanchoo who was my rope mate during the Basic Course in 1962 died on Leo Pargial with Capt. P. S. Bakshi and I well remember Ajeeba, when I commiserated with his loss at our next meeting, accepting fate without bitterness or grudge. His sense of service was always at the highest level and he would do even the most menial jobs (that were his lot during his declining years) with the same spirit as he had done when he was the Sirdar of an expedition.
Sirdar Wangdi was a much younger man - born in 1932 he first broke in on the Himalayan mountaineering scene with Raymond Lambert on Cho Oyu in 1954. Since then Wangdi has mostly been associated with the French mountaineers. Makalu with Franco in 1955, Trisul in 1956 with Franco again and Jannu in 1959, yet again with Franco. He was one of the survi- wors of the fatal avalanche on Cho Oyu in 1959 when Madame Kogan (the leader) and another lady climber along with Wang di were swept down. In 1962 he was with the French again on Jannu - this time with Lionnel Terray - which achieved such a remarkable success and for which he was awarded the Himalayan Club Tiger Badge - meanwhile he had already become an Instructor at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. In all my meetings with Wangdi he was the same quiet, gentle, self, looking rather frail, but terribly wiry and tenacious in purpose. He was more intellectual than other Sherpas and his independent spirit burnt fiercely inside him. In the late 60s he resigned from the HMI and started a School for Sherpa Guides in Manali, Kulu - his Sherpas were the backbone of several expeditions in Kulu and Lahul and were a constant source of inspiration to trekkers and holidaymakers alike. I shall never forget the tremendous part he played in the operations that followed the fatal snow slide that enveloped Suresh Kumar, Geoffrey Hill and Pemba on the October night in 1967 - a part that not only received no thanks but an additional burden of financial loss and mud-slinging attacks on his reputation and no small bullying from beaurocracy that should have been better informed. In later years he himself accompanied a few expeditions in the Kulu area, organised and built a Ski Hut on the slopes of Khanpari Tibba but was uniformly unfortunate in his com mercial ventures. Once tuberculosis attacked him, he was unable to cope with the problem which needed expensive treatment and care. He was a Sherpa with a difference - helping others he would do without any sense of the consequence; and all those who came under his spell will remember him for his admirable qualities of leadership and dedication to the spirit of mountaineering.
May the souls of Ajeeba and Wangdi rest in peace.
Soli S. Mehta
I met Peter Aufschnaiter for the first time in a Munich Hospital during a common examination. I had just done the first ascent of the Eiger North Wall and belonged to the group of those mountain climbers who were to explore a new route on Nanga Parbat under his leadership.
Lean, serious and laconic he stood before us and we young ones could not at first believe that such an "old" man of 40 years was to lead us. But this surprise did not last long, for during the approach march through the Kaghan valley and the Babusar pass we recognised that he was superior to us not only mentally but also in tenacity. Peter Aufschnaiter came from Kitzbuhel in Tirol, a famous winter sport resort at the feet of the "wild Kaiser", where his father was a distinguished carpen- ter. Diligence and reliability were two of the many virtues which lie inherited from his parents. Attending a grammar school in Kufstein and training in Munich as Agricultural Engineer formed the basis of his activity. In Munich he joined the Academical Alps Association. In spite of his serious foot injury which he suffered during a fall in the Kaiser and with which he lived during his whole life, he became a member of the Kangchen- junga Expedition under the leadership of Paul Bauer. Those i wo expeditions were to go into history, because they demonstrated courage, tenacity and comradeship in a very exemplary way. These qualities are the secret of good leadership.
[t was Paul Bauer who remained his ideal and friend till his death. Even at that time Peter Aufschnaiter loved not only the mountains but also the study of maps and Tibetan mother tongue of the Sherpas. Thus it was logical that he became the Secretary of the German Himalaya Foundation in Munich. Just as the meeting with Paul Bauer influenced his life, similarly another happening was to mould the traits of his character. During the serious accidents in 1936 and 1937 on Nanga Parbat he lost many of the best friends and this tragedy made his even more reserved than he was before. There were perhaps not many who could open the door of his innermost thoughts, however, he had confidence only in one man, and there was no other better friend. As I met Peter Aufschnaiter in Munich in 1939 for the first time, I could not imagine then that meeting would bind us so together during the next 13 years. A few years of them, in the truest sense of the word, for better or for worse. During this period in a lonely foreign country there were no mistakes, no weaknesses which one could conceal from others. Shortly before the break out of the Second VvTorld War the expedition to Nanga Parbat came to an end. Aufschnaiter who as a young man took part in the First World War in the Dolomites did not want to believe in a new war and did not accompany me in my first escape which brought me near to the Persian border. Then came the common internment behind the barbed wire in India. Together with our Nanga Parbat group were also Schmaderer and Paider who had recently scaled Tent Peak in Sikkim. We mountaineers were the well known parole excursionists and here again Aufschnaiter did particularly well during his long marches. His talent to find out new paths and water sources was inexhaustible. It was therefore no wonder that many secured and got advice for their excursions from him. These parole excursions did not only serve the purpose of exercise but also the purpose of collecting informations for later escape, because it became soon clear that small groups were making preparations for them. Peter Aufschnaiter used his great knowledge for drawing maps and the reproduction of them. They often contained the smallest details which he collected from books, and they led from Himalaya to lake Baikal. Despite the danger to be arrested again and again it appeared to us worthwhile because these attempts enabled us to enjoy the freedom of Himalaya even if for short time. During the parole excursions we could often see Nanga Parbat and the nearby Bandarpunch from Mussoorie and we were really very eager to come to the vicinity of these mountains. It was Peter Aufschnaiter who as the spokesman for us, requested the representative of the Red Cross to allow us mountaineers to attempt the scaling of Bandarpunch. Intervention in this regard was promised, but we understandably never heard of the matter any more. After several unsuccessful attempts we succeeded in April 1944 in making the final escape. Peter Aufschnaiter was the ideal partner during the next 21 months till we reached Lhasa. Again, it was the maps and knowledge of local language as well as his interest in natural science which helped us in over coming the biggest difficulties. For so long a flight through the most lonely areas of the earth, it was not sufficient motivation that one merely wanted to return home or just simply get out of the barbed wire. To bear with the robbers and cold one had to have interest in the country and its people, plants, animals and weather. Aufschnaiter was obsessed with the urge to discover new things, to acquire new knowledges and indulge in research work.
During this period I learnt much from him which was of great use to me in my later life. He made notes daily and demanded of me also to make sketches of unknown mountains or monasteries. He was an example to me in his decisive tenacity, patience and precision for research work. As we reached Lhasa thereafter, it was the knowledge of Peter Aufschnaiter as Agri- nil tural Engineer which helped us to settle down. Till today, Tibetan refugees speak of river dams and canals which we build at that time under his direction. My most beautiful and interesting task together with him was without doubt the first accurate city plan of the holy city of Lhasa which we made with measuring tapes and a theodolite. As I left Lhasa and went south just after the first days of the invasion of the Chinese in the east of the country, Aufschnaiter hesitated from one day to the other as to whether he should leave his newly acquired home and his work. He never left them totally. Without any family connections in Europe, he continued his stay in Asia alter his departure from Tibet (1951). After a short time in New Delhi he lived till his death in Nepal as an Agricultural I'\pert of the FAO. His thirst for knowledge was so great that Ik acquired Nepalese nationality in order to carry out research in the Himalayan valley which was closed to foreigners.
I do believe without exaggeration that Peter Aufschnaiter was the most important expert on Himalaya with his 50 years of experience. Large and multifarious are the materials of his diaries, writings, calculations and sketches which he has left behind. As he did not publish these works for the general public during his life time owing to his craving for perfection, I would wish that this heritage falls in the right hands so that his research results can be preserved for posterity.
As I visited Peter Aufschnaiter a few days before his death in a hospital in Innsbruck he could not guess the seriousness of his illness for he was worrying that he would lose one to two months for his research work which he had already started in a valley in the Himalaya.
Truly a creative genius to his last day.
LADY LOUISE HILLARY
LADY Louise Hillary was one of life's special people. More than anyone else it was she who helped her husband. Sir Edmund Hillary, to build an incredible scatter of schools for Sherpa children in the sweep of mountains and valleys below Everest: 18 schools and two hospitals in an area where only a few years ago people walked sixteen days in search of education and modern medicine. There were important sponsors, particularly in America and New Zealand, but more and more the burden of financing Sir Edmund's ever expanding projects fell upon him and Louise Hillary. It was she who organized Bazaars in New Zealand and Australia where bric-a-brac from Nepal and India that Louise collected were sold at surprising profit. Only two months ago she was in Calcutta making purchases for yet another sale.
Exuberantly cheerful, optspoken and instantly friendly Louise had friends all over the world but nowhere so many as in Sher- paland where she was called Amala (mother) to Sir Edmund's Apala (father). She'd accompanied her husband on numerous expeditions ever since 1963. Slowly the Hillary children were introduced to Sherpaland and made it their second home just as numerous Sherpas educated in the Hillary's school's made the Hillary house in Auckland their home from home. This year the entire family (their two girls Sarah and Belinda and their son Peter) was in Kathmandu. They were staying a year during which they planned to build a much needed hospital at Phaphlu in a Southern Sherpa valley. Kathmandu was their base. Sarah had returned to study in New Zealand. Peter, a ski instructor was on a visit to India; Belinda the youngest, had joined school in Kathmandu. Sir Edmund was already in Slierpaland when Louise and Belinda set out, by light plane, to join him.
Eyewitnesses say the plane was obviously in trouble as it took off. The pilot apparently radioed that he had engine trouble and was returning. As he banked to make a landing there was an explosion and the plane crashed.
Lady Hillary once described herself as "a common garden variety sort of wife; the cabbage kind, not the long suffering pioneer type". Those who knew her, certainly the Sherpas, would not agree.
THEODORE HOWARD SOMERVELL 1890-1975
ONE of the first occasions when I met Howard Somervell was in 1919 on the Mer de Glace. With others we had both set out at dawn to "rescue" Professor Pegu, whom a returning undergraduate reported had been taken ill, and even had a "fit" on the Periades. It was somewhat amusing episode, for we were all skidding about (without crampons) on the glazed surface of the glacier in the early morning, with Somervell full of vigour and more balanced than the rest of the party, but eventually sharing our surprise, if not disgust, to see the Professor and two others of his party progressing briskly down the middle of the glacier, roped and by no means ill! This was during one of Somervell's earlier Alpine seasons, although he had been out before the First War. Some of his climbs, many of them on first class peaks, are recorded in his most interesting book, "After Everest" (1936) and others in the Alpine Journal and elsewhere. Initially he had done a considerable amount of rock-climbing in the English 1 ,ake District, leading if not pioneering some of the more severe routes. But important though many of these earlier expeditions may have been, they tend almost to in pale significance when one realises Somervell's achievements otherwise, let alone his remarkable performances on Everest in 1922 and 1924. Much has appeared in the official publications and books on these latter e xpeditions, including accounts from Somervell's own pen; but probably no greater tribute (in compressed form) has been paid than that by J. Reason in his little "Eagle Book" entitled "Heights After Everest (Howard Somervell of India)" (1957). His achievements on Everest in 1922 in reaching about 27,000 feet, and again in 1924 with Norton attaining about 28,000 feet were, of course, outstanding. But as outstanding in their way were the parts Somervell played otherwise, especially his rescue of the porters on the North Col slopes under extremely dangerous conditions, which was a superb act of skill and coolness. And what an exhibition of resolution and toughness was his personal fight for physiological survival in his struggle to overcome suffocation caused by the frozen lining of his larynx, during his descent from 28,000 feet in 1924! One can only wonder whether anyone even in the most severe Polar conditions can have survived such an ordeal. Howard Somervell must indeed have been one of the hardest mountaineers of all time.
But what are we to say of Somervell's immense range of activities and achievements otherwise in life? Following Rugby School and Caius College, Cambridge, where his musical talents early showed themselves (incidentally in the College orchestra with our later member, Sir Geoffrey Summers) and where he took a double first in the National Sciences Tripos, lie embarked on his chosen profession of medicine, and surgery in particular. Hardly had he qualified when the first Great War broke out, and he was posted out to a Casualty Clearing Station in France. There he was plunged into all the horrors of that holocaust, and was forced as a very young surgeon into undertaking skilled work on casualties that was almost beyong the capabilities of his matured and experienced fellow-officers. He has vividly described in his book "After Everest" the revulsion to his sensitive nature of the appalling carnage only relieved by the sight of thousands of uncomplaining young men severely wounded and cut off in their prime, who yet had volunteered to sacrifice their lives for their country. But it was this early experience, particularly in major surgery and in radiography, that was to stand him in such good stead in his career in India. And what a career as a pioneering medical missionary and a social benefactor that turned out to be! It is of course impossible in this brief notice to cite more than the barest facts of it.
On his return from Everest in 1922 Somervell was offered a post on the surgical staff of University College Hospital, which, in his own words, "meant that the front door to eminence in my chosen profession had been opened". But he had already paid a visit to his old friend Doctor Pugh at the Mission Hospi- tal at Neyyoor in Travancore, and had seen the urgent need for assistance for this grossly over-worked and dedicated doctor. So with prompt resolution, but not without some reluctance at having to forsake things so near to his heart as his devoted family, his home in the mountains of the Lake District, his musical opportunities and other cultural interests, Somervell decided that his future must lie in that part of India whose needs, particularly the medical ones, he had already seen were so urgent. Holding very broad and practical Christian principles, moreover, he was determined not to drive those principles down the throats of Hindu or other devotees, as he declared was so often the tendency or practice of missionaries. Indeed he has written "the old ideas of medical missions as a bait to catch the unwary and then proceed to proselytize him is obviously not merely out of date but definitely wrong and un-Christian". Moreover, he wrote amusingly of his collisions with narrow minded Christian missionaries, who on the voyage out of India were strongly critical of his dancing and card playing etc! Somervell's great advantage, too, proved to be his ability to identify himself with the Indian people, treating them as brothers and sisters, and the hospital patients not merely as cases, not even as "interesting cases", though many of them might be.
It is quite impossible to record all the many aspects of Somervell's remarkable and (let it be known) honorary work in India, whether at Neyyoor for more than 22 years, or later in charge of surgery at the important Christian Medical College at Vellore. Much of this was described in his later books: "Knife and Life in India" (1940 and 1955) and "India Calling" (1947). But he had become recognised as an international authority on the duodenal ulcer, which is so rife in southern India, and his further books, "The Surgery of the Stomach and Duodenum" (1948), skilfully illustrated by himself, has been widely acclaimed. And in all these enterprises he had been wonderfully supported by his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir James Hope Simpson, whom he married in 1925, and after a honeymoon in the mountains of Norway, he took out to Neyyoor. Though not perhaps claiming to be an experienced mountaineer, she has made many climbs and mountain journeys with Howard, including some in the Himalaya. For throughout his career he had made a point of keeping himself physically fit by regular holidays and expeditions into the mountains. And what a splendid example of fitness and endurance he had shown himself to be from his early
Alpine days: e.g. 32 peaks in one season in 1923! Two sons have followed him into the medical profession, one to Veil ore Medical College.
No record of Howard Somervell can be in any way complete without a mention of his other accomplishments of landscape- painting and music. How many mountaineers, and others, have delighted in his exquisite paintings and sketches, whether in watercolours, oils or pastels, of an immense range and variety of mountain and other scenes! And I know no one, incidentally,, who has in various media so faithfully caught the moods and subtleties of the Tibetan landscape and atmosphere. To have sat down on an unstable rock at about 26,000 feet on Everest in 1922 and executed a charming little pastel sketch was one supreme achievement; and then finally in December 1974, in the Alpine Club gallery, to have exhibited (as a valete) no less than 97 of his works in his 85th year, can assuredly never be equalled!
Moreover, from the childhood's days he developed a passion for music, for him, as he declared, the highest of the arts, and he has paid a warm tribute to his mother for this inheritance. By the age of 18 his devotion to music rose to its height, and amongst composers Beethoven eventually took first place. On two occasions, when staying with his people at Rye in Sussex, he push-biked twice the 150 miles and back to the Queen's Hall, London, to hear Beethoven in the Promenade concerts. But he later admitted that he would not do it again unless it were for Brahma! His appreciation and grasp of music was such that on his return from Everest and Tibet in 1922 he wrote all the music for the Expedition's film-show, and suitably arranged for Western instruments the characteristic folk-tunes which he had collected in the Himalaya and Tibet.
During the Everest Expedition of 1922 and 1924 Somervell had found in Mallory a particularly close friend and as he has said, one with whom he could really talk freely of more serious things, and with whom he often read poetry aloud when sharing a tent: especially selections from Bridge's "Spirit of Man". He felt very deeply Mallory's death in 1924, and often thought over the manner of his and Irvine's disappearance. Last year (1974) from a friend living in Shetland I myself received a transcript of a "message" which he had received, purporting to have come from A. C. Irvine who had died with Mallory. This message described in some detail how he and Mallory had reached the sum- rnit of Everest in June 1924, and that an accident had occurred on their way down (See note in A.J. 1976). I discussed this message with Somervell, who expressed great interest in it, and he thought it to be the most likely, if not convincing, explanation of the fate of Mallory and Irvine. Nor as a sound open-minded scientist did he wish to be identified with those who are incapable of even allowing for the existence of an after-life ox a spirit- world, or who pose as superior sceptics or downright unbelievers.
"The Times" of 25 January '75 in their considerable obituary notice described Somervell as a "Visionary on Everest". But surely he was far more than that. He was one of the most gifted and accomplished men of our time, in fact I would say, almost unique. Apart from anything else, the character and extent of his work especially in southern India was unequalled: but all-the-too-slowly did the Government recognise it and tardily awarded him an 'O.B.E.' For far far less than Somervell had accomplished were others receiving knighthoods, e.g. K.G.I.E., and even K.G.S.I. His early achievement of a F.R.C.S. was inevitable, but his long Indian experience was to give him, too, unusual ability as a physician. Later of course, on his return home, the Presidency of the Alpine Club, and of the Fell 8c Rock ("limbing Club of the English Lake District, apart from the Vice-Presidency of the Himalayan Club, and office in sundry artistic groups, all came his way; but meanwhile he was lecturing widely for the cause of medical missionary work in India. It will he long before the world seen again the like of this many-sided and accomplished man: perhaps "Fortuna multis dat nimium", but as Howard Somervell himself would no doubt have added "nulli satis".
(Courtsey: Alpine Journal)
Howard Somerwell was an original member of the Mountain Club of India, founded in 1927, which was amalgamated with i he (Jimalayan Club when it was formed in 1929. He was elected Vice President of the years 1942-43. He was a keen supporter «>l the Club and holidays in the Himalaya were an important part of his life in India. Some of these are recalled in his article "Some Minor Expeditions to the Himalaya" which appeared in Volume 13 of the Journal. I only came to know Howard Somer- vell personally after his return to England and I shall always remember one of the early Himalayan Club reunions in London a I which he acted as host. The lights failed and candles had to
be lit resulting in what Howard thought was a wonderfully
nostalgic dak bungalow atmosphere.
The Glu<b has lost one of its most outstanding members and his passing will be mourned by his many friends.
V. S. Risoe
PROF. . DR. GUNTER OSKAR DYHRENFURTH 12 November 1886-14 April 1975
GOD.-as we called him, was born in Breslau 1886; after in- • tense studies he got scientifically successful and could work as assistant professor for geology in his native town when the First World War broke out. But before 1914 he had also worked eight years in Switzerland together with his colleague Albert Spitz on "The Geological Map of Switzerland".
After World War I G.O.D. was awarded the title of Professor at the University of Breslau. But then came the disastrous German inflation-only fractions of the wealthy family's fortune could be saved, and via Salzburg G.O.D. came 1926 to Zurich and became Swiss citizen a little later. What was left of material value was now invested by G.O.D. in his first great Himalayan expedition 1930. And then he could realize his great dream of youth when he stood on the very top of Jongsang Peak (7473 in)-at that time the highest mountain on earth climbed by man. At the age of 44 years he could even alone (since his 18th year G.O.D. was always climbing guideless) late in the afternoon continue to the slightly lower summit of Domo (7442 m) where the boundaries of Nepal-Tibet-Sikkim meet. It must have been a "star-moment" of his life-to stand there, nearly in the midst of world's greatest mountains, facing the wr
hole glory of the peerless Karigdienjunga group. What did he think-or feel? Rarely G.O.D. writes about such things-he never liked to show off his personal sphere in public.
After the Himalayan expedition 1930 the name of Dyhren- furth became world-renowned. A comprehensive book was published ("Himalaya") and an expedition film produced-lectures, essays, travels followed.
G.O.D, now planned his second great Himalayan expedition: this time to the Balatoro-Karakorams-with K-2 in center, this incomparable huge pyramid which G.O.D. later in his life characterised as the "most beautiful mountain on earth".
Germany, G.O.D. did not hesitate. As a protest he resigned from his professorship in Breslau. In the "Reich of 1000 years" the economical possibilities of the financial backers deteriorated drastically. But G.O.D. fought it out with great financial sacrifice which went to the very last penny.
His Karakoram expedition could again score remarkable results: Sia Kangri main (7450 m) and east summit (7315'm)-both climbed for the first time. Also Baltoro Kangri <V (7250 m) was. a first ascent.
As appreciation for his outstanding achievements G.O.D. and his wife Hettie were awarded two golden medals as "Prix d'Aipi- nisme" by the Olympic Committee in 1936. Alfeb a new book appeared: "Damon Himalaya" and later above all "Baltoro",, G.O.D. lived until 1939 as independent scientist and author in Zurich, besides he gave numerous lectures and carried out report-tours through the whole of Europe. -
Then suddenly World War II broke out, G.O.D.' again had to build up his existence-this at an age of 53 years'and in a surrounding where one probably hardly could appraise his great qualities.
So from September 1939 on G.O.D. worked as head-teacher in Geography and other natural sciences in St. Gallen, As far as time permitted him, he also wrote essays on Himalayan themes. These were however meagre, yes sometimes even bitter years. But G.O.D. again fought his way through. But in?
1946 he had a very bad accident on the Lauteraarhorn; concerning that he wrote himself: "I had already entirely completed with my life, but thanks medical skill and my very resistant constitution I got over the crises". Yes, G.O.D. was tough, actually;he had far from "completed" his life. -
And from now on the situation slowly changed. Encouraged and always supported by his second wife, G.O.D. grasped his juiti again and "Zum Dritten Pol" ("To the Third Pole") took lonn, a comprehensive Himalayan momography and ;
real source lor everyone interested in the Himalaya-in a word:, a standard work, a milestone in the Himalayan literature. f
So G.O.D. and his wife Irene now put all their eggs in one basket and moved in 1953 into a newly built chalet in Ringgem- l.crg (close to Interlaken, cantone Bern). In truth dramatic mo incut had not been missing in G.O.D's life-but in Ringgemberg Ins remained during the rest of his life.
In the meantime a new era had initiated also in Germany.
Animated by friends G.O.D. made a modest application for reparation and pension. There were no negociations about that -as he was one of the first of all who had taken a definite position.
On the same day the two positive decisions from Germany arrived in Ringgemberg. G.O.D. was now 68 years, and thanks to this late pension he at last got a solid economical base for the rest of his life. But there was no question of an inactive even ng of life. Travels in different directions followed-also to India and Nepal where G.O.D. could fly along his beloved mountains. After some smaller books on Kangchenjunga and Nanga ParLat, "Der Drittle Pol" ("The Third Pole")-an account of Himalayan conquest and exploration-was published in 1960. Again an outstanding standard work in the Himalayan literature.
G.O.D. also worked for the new Brockhaus encyclopedia, and every year he compiled his very informative and worldwide recognized "Himalayan Chronicles"-which gave him the nickname "The Himalayan Professor". But deepest in his heart he remained geologist.
As "Himalayan enthusiast" the name of Dyhrenfurth was of course since my youth a fundamental conception to me. The books of G.O.D. were always on my writing desk. But it took years before I dared to approach him. And encouraged by his openness and amiable mind I obtained a most honouring cooperation that lasted for almost twelve years. Often I could visit Ringgemberg and was welcomed as guest in "Chalet Irene"; thus I learnt to know the character and personality of G.O.D. -what I today perhaps consider as the greatest experience of these years. G.O.D. became my master-and friend. Always he kept the main lines in view, and constantly he pushes the works ahead.
Thus several lists and tables on Himalayan Peaks were compiled, and finally we were working on a complete list of all so far known 7000-ders (23.000 ft). Now I have to finish this task alone-which I wish to dedicate to G.O.D. posthumously.
When I sat next to G.O.D. at his working desk, I often compared him with the great conductor Otto Klemperer-or even with Churchill; because all the three of them had that single- m'nded doggedness and tenacity. To me he was simply "the old Lion": strong-willed and mostly of an incredible vitality. And if one by chance thought that G.O.D. although got older-then he immediately proved to be stronger than ever.
Together with G.O.D. one was never indifferent. He was the "Oldmaster"-and yet never persisting in his opinion by reasons of prestige etc. Yes, he admitted at once an error of mistake and was in addition to that also most co-operative-what is merely rare among famous persons of advanced age. Sometime G.O.D. could get hard-he did not like weakness. Because he knew that every man has to master his own life-and therefore has to mobilize all his qualities and strength. Fundamentally G.O.D. was generous. His advice, was always: "Love for mountains is the best" (Pindar).
And now-the great void is there. We are missing G.O.D. very much and first of ail we are thinking of his relatives. But mourning? No, I presume more gratitude to have met a human being like G.O.D. is dominating our feelings to-day. Indeed G.O.D. has left us, but as his epitaph a few lines by the narrator in the Icelantic Saga are coming into my mind: "One thing I know that does not die: judgment on dead man".