Whilst I have never really been that interested in being the first in anything (what could I possibly be first in?) I could not resist having a look into how many German women have summited Mount Everest so far. I was surprised to find out that only two German women have actually made it up and down alive until now. Helge Hengge reached the top of the world via the North Col route in 1999, and Claudia Bäumler conquered Everest via the same route in 2002. But of course, there was Hannelore Schmatz, who was the first German woman to reach the top of the world in 1979, but sadly she perished of exhaustion on her way down at 8,300 meters. She was climbing the mountain via the South East Ridge route together with her husband.
According to tales I have heard from returning Everest climbers, Hannelore’s mortal remains could be seen by anyone attempting to summit Everest via its southern route. She was sitting about 100 metres above Camp IV, leaning against her pack with her eyes open and her hair blowing in the wind. However, high winds eventually pushed her remains over the edge and she is now resting in peace somewhere down the Kangchung Face.
Anyway, after checking the facts more closely, I had to find out that, if successful, I could not even become the first Bavarian woman to reach the top of the world as Helga Hengge, who also has US citizenship, was originally from Munich. I suppose the only claim to fame I could have is being the first woman from that internationally known, thriving Bavarian village of Garmisch-Partenkirchen! And I guess I could be the first German woman to go up AND come back down via the South Col route on the Nepali side.
However, it honestly does not really matter to me whether I am the first or the last – what really matters is that I come back down fit and healthy with all my toes and fingers still in place!
I will try and update this site regularly before I go to base camp at the beginning of April, however, as we are being faced with power cuts of up to 16 hours a day, finding electricity to update the site can be quite tricky. The power cuts stem from a huge water shortage in the country and the fact that some of the hydropower plants near Kathmandu have major faults that have not been repaired yet. I guess, there will probably be more electricity once I get to base camp!