Billi Bierling was born in the Bavarian Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
During her teenage years, she had no interest in the mountains whatsoever; in fact she almost felt slightly oppressed by the snowy peaks surrounding her hometown. However, after a first trip to Nepal in 1998, she learnt to love the mountains and started high altitude climbing. Since then she has scaled six of the 14 8,000m-peaks, namely Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Manaslu (fore summit) and Broad Peak – the latter three she summited without the help of supplemental oxygen. In 2004, Billi started assisting the late Elizabeth Hawley with her work documenting expeditions to the Nepal Himalayas. Together with a team, Billi continues to interview expedition leaders for Liz Hawley’s archive, which is now called ‘The Himalayan Database’.
When she is not gallivanting around the high Himalayas or chasing expeditions in Kathmandu, Billi works for Swiss Humanitarian Aid as a communications expert, writes mountaineering articles for German and English-speaking magazines, translates or writes books and leads mountain treks and expeditions in Nepal and around the world.
Credit: Julie Hunt/SWI swissinfo.ch