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It is the 8. May 1978, against 13 p.m.: Two men, wrapped in thick down suits, crawling on all fours the last few meters to the summit of Mount Everest. You get life – time contrary to expectation. The two are Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler. As the first people they have done it without supplementary oxygen on the highest mountain of the earth.

Doctors had advised against it, they would definitely get permanent damage from the lack of oxygen: It was, your brain and tissue cells would die due to the low partial pressure at high altitudes. An ascent of Mount Everest without oxygen tanks is for the human body impossible. However, curiosity and ambition drove the two climbers. Your summit success went down in the history books.

40 years ago now, back then they were the only Expedition on the mountain. Meanwhile, hundreds climb a year the Everest. Peter Habeler remembers the Moment when he stood at the highest point of the earth, and tells how the mountain sports have changed since then.

To the Person archive P. Habeler / Tyrolia-Verlag, Peter Habeler , 75, was born in the Zillertal in Austria. The first ascent of Mount Everest without additional oxygen together with mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner, he was famous. He climbed four eight-thousanders and climbed some of the hardest routes in the world. Shortly before his 75. Birthday, he rose in 2017, the North wall of the Eiger in the Alps.

MIRROR ONLINE: Mr Habeler, you have to tell every year of their ascent of Mount Everest without additional oxygen. That’s not you on the nerves?

Peter Habeler: As we have the 1978 had done, we never thought it would be a long-lasting Hype. But this is nothing Negative – it often makes the access to people. If it was me on the topic of Everest to be able to other for mountain climbing, motivate you, makes me fun.

MIRROR ONLINE: you really thought that there would be a Hype, if you climb to the first to people without oxygen bottles, the highest mountain in the world?

Habeler: We are not heroes. Reinhold and I are both grew up in the Alps and have done before many tours together. We were well prepared, we were fast, and we had a lot of luck. Also, I had the best partner, there was at the time, and we wanted to find out together if that is possible. Without Reinhold, I couldn’t have done the Everest probably.

In the Video: death in the Himalaya – The Mount Everest Problem

Video dbate

MIRROR ONLINE: Now you are talking in the highest tones of Reinhold Messner. But after the ascension they both had a lot of contact.

Habeler: Because I don’t want to go on it. The conflicts, the seals in there, are ridiculous. Also in a marriage there’s not even armed, this is a scandal. I’m sticking to it: Reinhold was the best Partner I could imagine.

Reinhold Messner (left) and Peter Habeler in 1975

MIRROR ONLINE: Because he was so good was that?

Habeler: In a Roped party are not always both the same. Sometimes Messner was the Stronger, sometimes I do. It is a Give and Take. If Reinhold went ahead, I knew that he makes no mistakes. It calmed me down. And when I’m gone knew Reinhold, I’m not making a mistake.

MIRROR ONLINE: In the past year they have increased with the 27-year-old professional climber David Lama, the Eiger North wall – with 74 years. How was that?

Habeler: David is one of the Best in the world. With him, it was like Reinhold: I knew the flies down. Therefore, I had no fear. I needed someone, the advance goes to the difficult Places of the North wall of the Eiger and make me secure, because I no longer have, of course, these youthful lightness and the technical skills.


MIRROR ONLINE: to do With the mid 70 such tours because you have to be physically very fit.

Habeler: I’m one of the few of the then-Everest-group of my Generation, the climb is still active. Reinhold no longer makes much, because his toes were amputated. But I’m lucky: My knees are still okay, and I still have the same weight as at the age of 17. I train a lot and always have a new goal in mind. Then everything is easier and lighter.

DISPLAY Peter Habeler:
the goal of the summit

published by Tyrolia Verlag; 208 pages; 24,90 Euro

MIRROR ONLINE: you have a book written with the title “The summit is the goal”. She has accompanied this thought, in 1978, on the last meters to the summit of Everest?

Habeler: of Course, the summit is the goal. The closer you get, the more you want to create it.

MIRROR ONLINE: And if you manage it then?

Habeler: this Is an indescribable feeling. Effort coupled with good luck. It’s simply a question of emotions. At 8850 meters, takes over the subconscious. But the happiness didn’t last long. I could only think that we must also all the way down again, and wanted to descend as quickly as possible.

The highest mountain in the world is for many a popular destination

MIRROR ONLINE: you had a newborn son and we were freshly married. They were afraid, more alive to the family to come back?

Habeler: thoughts of home come only when one is passive – as well as fear. When I sit in the tent and outside is storming and raging it, then I think that I want to come back home. In the Moment of climbing every thought is but the next step focused: Hopefully the snow breaks away, hopefully the weather holds. Since I don’t have any capacity to think at home.

MIRROR ONLINE: Nowadays, there are almost always the ability to at home call. Even in the Everest base camp at 5350 meters.

Habeler: but This is funny. In the meantime, much has been commercialised. Currently about 1300 people in the base camp. If there is a weather window, to break all at the same time. Anyone who is fit and 40,000 to 100,000 for the Expedition lying down, can make it on the Everest with oxygen bottles and more deaths of course. We were the only Expedition, and were able to work for three months on the mountain.

Long queues on Everest: hundreds try it a year


Habeler: in Order to acclimate us. Otherwise, the climb without supplementary oxygen would not have been possible. There are not many climbers who acclimatize properly. Today, people in three weeks want to eight-thousanders. This is madness.

MIRROR ONLINE: Has changed the mountain rise so?

Habeler: With us, there were still white spots on the map, since ascents were possible. Today there is, because it is more difficult to gain attention. Now professional climbers try other extremes to be noticed, climbing particularly fast or unsecured. This is a different risk awareness. And many also want to stand just once at the highest point of the earth. Where this is going, I can’t say. I know only The mountains do not tolerate so many people.

Video: Reinhold Messner – A life between highs and Lows


On Tuesday at 20.15 clock in the transmitter “ transmits” the documentary “mountain – Mount Everest – The last step”. The Film documents the ascent of 1978, including original film footage of the time. Reinhold Messner was the Director and played by his son Simon. Habeler is played by his friend Philipp Brugger.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.