last update: 28-3-2011


Mountaineering  Experience

- German Alpine Climbing Club -

Climbing the World's Highest Mountains since 1850

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associated with

Harvard Mountaineering Club

Deutscher Alpenverein

High Altitude Climbing in the Netherlands


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June 3, 2000:

"Quite frankly, a remarkable feat."
(Sir Edmund Hillary)


   On June 3, 2000 twelve-year-old Anna Purna from Hauenhorst and ten-year-old Moritz Herzog from Elte, members of the local Wadelheim Mountaineering Experience climbing club, finally arrived at the summit of the Waldhuegel. It was their seventeenth attempt.

   With a stunning elevation of more than 295 feet the Waldhuegel, situated south of Rheine, is one of the major mountain peaks in northwestern Germany. However, it is not part of the Teutoburger Wald, a mountain range some 20 km off to the northeast, also known as "The German Himalaya".

   The climb had started at 2 a.m. from Base Camp just above the Buehnertstrasse. From there the two young local mountaineers steadily proceeded to Advanced Base Camp, situated Am Hang, which is just below the treacherous north face. They topped out at 1.30 p.m., hugging each other and enjoying the terrific views. Both were back in Base Camp by 7.20 p.m., having lost not a single toe or finger to frostbite. Remarkably, they had insisted on climbing Alpine style, i.e. without fixed ropes or bottled oxygen.

   Asked what had helped them endure all this, Moritz Herzog said, "Well, I figure what was most important to us was Ed Viesturs' famous motto: Getting to the top is optional, getting down again is mandatory."

   Regarding their future climbing plans, Anna Purna replied only half-jokingly, "Jeez, after what we've been through on the Waldhuegel, El Capitan [Yosemite Valley, California] should be a cinch."


    NOTE: The famous though somewhat rudimentary drawing was presumably made by Khumbu Norgay, a local Sherpa from Wadelheim, on the day of the ascent.

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   This is the only photo of the ultimately successful Waldhuegel summit attempt. However, it remains a mystery who actually took it; according to Johannes Krakauer, a well-known reporter from Mesum, there was definitely no one else on the mountain at the time, let alone so close to the summit. 

   Then again, this might possibly be another example of the so-called Third Man factor or Third Man syndrome, referring to situations where an unseen presence such as a "spirit" provided comfort or support during traumatic experiences. Among those who reported such experiences were famous people such as Ernest Shackleton, Reinhold Messner, and Peter Hillary.

   (cp. also The Third Man Factor by John Geiger)

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Support the Himalayan Trust
founded by Sir Edmund Hillary

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Recommended Reading for
 Would-be Explorers

  • Edward Whymper, Scrambled Eggs Amongst the Alps
  • Ed Viesturs, K-22
  • David Niven, The Ice Master
  • Ejnar Mikkelsen, Migraine in the Arctic
  • Jon Krakauer, Thin Heir
  • Pierre Berton, The Arctic Rail
  • Edmund Hillary, Few on the Summit
  • Apple/Cherry/Garlic, The Worst Journey in the World
  • Bjoern Weizenkeim, Neues vom Pol (News from the Pole)
  • Salomon August Andree, Baloney

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World Wide Wahlbrinck

© 2010-2011 by Bernd Wahlbrinck, Home of the Wadel, Germany.
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