NILGIRI SOUTH FACE
Tragedy follows joy on Nilgiri South for Hansjörg Auer
Nilgiri, South Face
From October 22 to October 26 Hansjörg Auer, Alex Blümel and Gerry Fiegl successfully made the first ascent of the South Face of Nilgiri South (6839m). This is certainly one of the finest ascents of the season in the Himalayas and a long waited project has finally been realised.
Nilgiri is located in the Annapurna massif in Nepal. Comprised of the North, Central and South Summit, the South Face rises directly from the glacier starting from 5400m up to 6839m. The Expedition started on October 5 and following a tricky and steep approach to Basecamp, the team immediately started the process of acclimatization. After spending two nights up in advanced basecamp at a height around 5300m, the conditions allowed for an immediate first attempt of the peak.
“Out of his eyes shined the brightest light when we all reached
the summit together. What happened next was one of the darkest
moments in my life.”
– Hansjörg Auer
Hansjörg, Alex and Gerry climbed a line on the right side of the face, via the previous unclimbed Nilgiri Spire (6780m) and then by traversing up and down on the spectacular and exposed ridge, they reached the summit of Nilgiri South at 11am on October 25. It was the first ascent of this face and only the second ascent of the South Summit itself since the Japanese FA in 1978.
The team’s descent via the previously unclimbed Southwest Ridge was more technical and difficult than they had expected and at approximately 2pm on the 26th of October Gerry Fiegl sadly took a fall from which he did not survive.
The team are devastated by their loss but wish to celebrate the successes of their friend and fellow alpinist.
Nilgiri South, Southface
Hansjörg Auer, Alex Blümel, Gerry Fiegl
October 22 to October 26, 2015
Route rating: M5, ice 90°
From left to right: Gerry, Alex, Hansjörg
Photos: Elias Holzknecht