If Hillary comes in, she can win

Sir Edmund Hillary

On the 100th birthday of Sir Edmund Hillary

Did you know that Bad Wiessee should be mentioned in the same breath as Mount Everest and the Queen? Would you have thought that Sir Edmund Hillary was wearing a mountain costume hat made by the hat maker Schätz in Tegernsee? And already visited the Freihaus Brenner in 1991? Or that a new hospital was built in Nepal after the devastating earthquake in 2015, with substantial help from the Tegernsee valley? Because the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation Germany is at home here?

This year Sir Edmund Hillary would celebrate his 100th birthday. This year he will be remembered all over the world. Together with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, he is included in the list of the most influential personalities of the 20th century. Together they were the first to stand on the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Proven. Whether other expeditions made it to the summit is a mystery to this day. It was important, Hillary once laconically said, not only to come up, but above all to come back down alive. He came back down.

That was three days before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1953 the secret code was wired from Kathmandu to London: Deep fog touches the ground. Ingrid Versen knows such passages from mountaineering history. The Wiesseerin is the chairperson of the foundation, whose name is now on the new hospital in Phaplu. Decades ago she founded the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation Germany together with Wiesseer dignitaries. Since May 2018 she and her deputy, Manfred Häupl, became honorary members of the Himalayan Trust. This was founded by Edmund Hillary in the 1960s to help the Sherpas lead a better life.

Edmund Hillary's Legacy: Humanity

If you sit with Ingrid Versen at her large dining table and chat about the mountaineering legend, you will soon get the impression that you are actually still sitting at the table. She vividly portrays a calm man, modest, who finds the excitement about his person exaggerated. The ascent to the summit was a shared success with Tenzing Norgay. He maintained this friendship all his life. "And now the men's children and grandchildren are friends," says Ingrid Versen. The world never heard of anger or resentment on or after expeditions from the Hillary / Tenzing duo. Old newspaper clippings are piled on the table, as well as books, souvenirs, signed NZ $ 5 bills, badges, plaques, photos, photos. Which in the picture frame that Hillary show here at Tegernsee. Which in albums showing Sherpas at pujas and ceremonies, in front of schools or in hospitals. Photos of the Queen's coronation, photos of the Queen's reception.

Elizabeth II named Edmund Hillary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire when he was still in Nepal. At first he couldn't believe his success himself, even though the BBC reported it. He later said, “When I heard that, I thought: We really did it. If the BBC reports it, it must be true. ”Later he was accepted into the Order of the Garter. It is the highest honor that the United Kingdom can bestow. In 2003 he received the high distinction "Honorary Citizen of Nepal" from the last King of Nepal. Never before has a foreigner received this honor. “I was there at the ceremony and I know how happy Ed was about it,” says Ingrid Versen. In general: Hillary has received countless awards. He has also undertaken many expeditions. Edmund Hillary was also the first to climb some six and seven thousand meter peaks, led the Antarctic expedition and reached the South Pole overland with a tractor, penetrated to the headwaters of the Ganges and traveled by plane to the North Pole. And then, as funny as it may sound in this series, he was always at the Tegernsee.

Edmund Hillary always enjoyed coming to Tegernsee

“I have my Hillary room upstairs,” smiles Ingrid Versen. It is her guest room where the mountaineering legend stayed. In 1990 Ingrid Versen first met the mountaineer on a trip to Nepal. From then on they stayed in close contact until his death in 2008, and to this day she is friends with the children Peter and Sarah Hillary. “Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, is the new Honorary Patron of the Himalayan Trust. She wants to meet us in Nepal in the early summer of 2019 to talk about future projects in the Khumbu area, ”says Ingrid Versen. She rates the fact that the New Zealander took over the chairmanship as “six in the lottery. Helen Clark will be a great engine for a good cause ”. Of course, the members travel to Nepal for this. “But we always travel at our own expense. We also bear all administrative costs, we've been doing it since our foundation. "

Be active to organize help

In the long term, the Hillary Foundation has to come in donations so that the doctors, the teachers and the clinics in Nepal can be paid. Help is more needed than ever after the earthquake in Nepal in 2015. The earthquake set the Nepalese economy back and severely damaged the country's infrastructure. Complicated bureaucracy, corruption and high trade deficits due to a lack of raw materials do the rest. In short: Nepal is still one of the very poor countries in the world. Since it is no longer a kingdom, the fight has been tough to ensure that the young democracy between the great powers China and India asserts itself. And although the profitable expedition business has existed in the country for more than 60 years, little of it sticks with the population. Help like that of the Edmund Hillary Foundation Germany is necessary - in the truest sense of the word. It turns the need.

Mount Everest

The highest peak in the world is 8,848 meters high and the highest of the 14 eight-thousanders. The mountain was named after the British surveyor George Everest (1790-1866). Mount Everest is called SAGARMATHA in Nepali and QOMOLANGMA in Tibetan. Both names mean something like "Holy Mother of the Earth" or "Forehead of the Earth". It took 101 years from the first survey to the first ascent.

By the end of 2017, a total of 8306 summit successes had been counted, 288 people died; 181 on the Nepalese and 107 on the Tibetan side. Most mountaineers have accidents above 8000 meters during the descent, the Nepalese route is - according to statistics - more dangerous than the route over the Tibetan side. This can be found in the "Himalayan Database" (www.himalayandatabase.com), which is created every two years.

The Tegernsee Valley has a long and varied relationship with the mountains of the Himalayas. The treasure of the explorers Schlagintweit brothers, contemporaries of Alexander von Humboldt, was guarded by the descendants of the family here in Bad Wiessee. For some Tegernsee, the eight-thousander became a personal challenge. Toni Kinshofer from Bad Wiessee, together with Anderl Mannhardt from Rottach-Egern, achieved the first ascent of Nanga Parbat over the Diamir flank in 1962. The Toni-Kinshofer-Gedächtnisweg begins directly at the Freihaus Brenner. The first German and the next after Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler, who reached the summit of Mount Everest without additional oxygen, is the Waakirchner Hans Engl. The speed mountaineer Benedikt Böhm conquered the Gasherbrum and Manaslu within 24 hours and went back to the base camp on skis back. During an expedition to the Ama Dablam, Christoph von Preysing from Kreuth lost his life five years ago. The mountains on the roof of the world also took their toll in the Tegernsee valley.

More information at www.hillary-stiftung.de


Source - Sonja Still, from BRENNER-MAGAZIN TEGERNSEE 04/2019