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Hannelore Schmatz

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Native name  Hannelore Schmatz
Occupation  mountaineer
Citizenship  Germany

Nationality  Germany
Cause of death  Cold, Exhaustion
Name  Hannelore Schmatz

Hannelore Schmatz wearing a pink hat, sunglasses, gloves, and a red and yellow jacket.

Born
  16 February 1940 (age 39) (1940-02-16) , Regensburg , Germany
Spouse  Gerhard Schmatz (m. ?–1979)
Died   October 2, 1979 (aged 39), Mount Everest

Similar  Francys Arsentiev, Ray Genet, Green Boots

Hannelore schmatz top 11 facts


Hannelore Schmatz (16 February 1940 – 2 October 1979) was a German mountaineer. She collapsed and died on October 2, 1979 as she was returning from summiting Mount Everest via the southern route, the first woman and first German citizen to die on the upper slopes of Everest.

Contents

Summit of Mount Everest

Schmatz was on an expedition via the South East Ridge route with her husband when she died at 8,300 metres (27,200 ft). Gerhard Schmatz was the expedition leader, 50 years of age at the time and the oldest man to summit Everest. On the same expedition was the American Ray Genet, who also died while descending from the summit. Exhausted from the climb, they had stopped to bivouac as the night approached, despite the fact that their Sherpa guides had urged them not to. Sungdare Sherpa, one of her Sherpa companions, remained with her after she died, and as a result, lost most of his fingers and toes.

On the left, Hannelore Schmatz wearing a red checkered shirt, and Gerhard Schmatz wearing a red hat while cooking at Mount Everest. On the right, the dead body found at Mount Everest.

Genet's body ultimately disappeared under the snow, but Schmatz's body was swept further down the mountain.

Hannelore Schmatz wearing a red checkered shirt.

For years, Schmatz's remains could be seen by anyone attempting to summit Everest by the southern route. Her body was frozen in a sitting position, leaning against her pack with her eyes open and her hair blowing in the wind, about 100 metres above Camp IV.

Hannelore Schmatz | Gerhard Schmatz & Ray Genet's Mount Everest Quest

Hannelore, her husband, Gerhard and Ray Genet were experienced climbers and after trying their luck at conquering the world’s tallest mountain they all headed back towards base camp with their group. 

Ray genet was often referred to by the nickname Pirate and was a Swiss-born American mountaineer.He was the first guide on North America's highest mountain, Alaska's Denali (Mount McKinley). Famous  actress Q'Orianka Kilcher is Genet’s granddaughter.

Gerhard Schmatz wearing a cap and a red jacket with a backpack.

Gerhard was the expedition leader, 50 years of age at the time and the oldest man to summit Everest.

Gerhard and his wife Hannelore applied to the Nepal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for permission to climb Mt. Everest  in May 1973 after returning from Manaslu expedition. At that time they were not expecting to receive the requested permit because there were too many other  influential climbers as well at that time.over the next three years they climbed most of the high mountains of earth  to expand their experience in high altitude mountaineering.

After they returned in June 1977 from a successful Lhotse expedition, they were  granted permission to climb Mount Everest for the post-monsoon season of 1979.

They Immediately began their preparatory work for the Mount Everest Quest. Hannelore was a genius when it came to sourcing and transporting expedition material. At that time, everything that  they and the Sherpas needed during the expedition lasting about 3 months had to be purchased in Europe and transported to Nepal, because at that time it was not possible to get suitable food or equipment in Kathmandu.

To get all this, Hannelore wrote hundreds of letters and made it possible using a sponsored truck. For months, taking outside help, she packed in a warehouse the material weighing several tons, each weighing 30 kg, which could be directly taken over by the carriers.

The group consisted of 8 climbers and 5 Sherpas during their Mount Everest Quest in 1979.

Climbers

1 Nick Banks (Aged 27 mountaineering instructor and guide from New Zealand )

2 Hans von Känel (Aged  38 businessman  from Switzerland)

3 Tilman Fischbach (Aged 30 analytical chemist and medical student  from West Germany)

4 Günter fights (Aged 46  mechanical engineer from West Germany)

5 Dr Hermann Warth (Aged  38 lecturer from West Germany)

6 Ray Genet (Aged 48 American  mountaineering and hunting guide)

7 Hannelore Schmatz (Aged  39  Mountaineer and wife of Dr Gerhard  from West Germany)

8 Dr Gerhard Schmatz (Aged 50  lawyer and expedition leader from West Germany)

Sherpas

1 Ang Jangbu

2 Sundare 

3 Pertemba

4 Lhakpa

5 Unkown Sherpa

Among them 6 of the climbers and all of the Sherpas made it safely down, Hannelore and Ray Genet did not.

Despite being an experienced climber, Hannelore and Genet were too tired to keep going and, despite warnings from a Sherpa about the dangers of remaining in the mountain’s “Death Zone” overnight, set up a bivouac camp. One Sherpa remained with them in a bivouac at 28,000 feet. The chilling snowstorm that occurred that night was too much for Genet, who died from hypothermia before morning.

Hannelore and the Sherpa survived the night and continued down the mountain.At 27,200 feet, she sat down to take a nap against her backpack. There she fell asleep and never woke up. Her Sherpa companion stayed with her body, costing him most of his fingers and toes

Genet's body ultimately disappeared under the snow, but Hannelore s body was swept further down the mountain.

They all were few among billions who tried their luck, but unfortunate to handle it.

Hannelore Schmatz wearing a red checkered shirt and Gerhard Schmatz  wearing a red hat while cooking at Mount Everest.

How did Hannelore Schmatz Died ?

She aspired to ink her name with golden words, and yes indeed she succeeded but it cost her life to be immortal. Hannelore Schmatz  Received the Dicey Honour of Being The First Woman To Die On Mount Everest.

Hannelore Schmatz and her husband, Gerhard were experienced German climbers when they decided to try their luck at conquering the world’s tallest mountain via the southern route in the fall of 1979. The pair celebrated after efficaciously reaching the summit , then headed back toward base camp with their group. 

Many frolicsome people attempt to peak Mount Everest, and most of them make it to the top. Unfortunately, due to the myriad hazards of the journey – fatigue, confusion, inadequacy of oxygen, avalanches, falls, cold – there are more than a few who never make it off the mountain.

While climbing down, Hannelore and Ray Genet, her teammate, stopped out of exhaustion. The weariness she experienced is a prevailing cause of demise on Everest, where the air is so thin that the lack of oxygen can cause poor coordination, confusion, and incoherence that can make even an experienced climber like Hannelore make decisions that they not ever would have then. Despite Sherpa’s (teammate) pleading to climb down to Camp IV, they determined to spend the night within the Death Zone. They put out their sleeping bags without cover and slept.

But in Night, an intense brutal snowstorm developed which left Ray Genet to die because of hypothermia. Only 330 feet away from camp, Hannelore succumbed to exhaustion. She sat down to rest against her backpack and fell asleep and never woke up. Her Sherpa companion stayed with her body, costing him most of his fingers and toes due to frostbite. Hannelore Schmatz’s ending words were, “Water… Water.”

On the left, the rescue team searching for Hannelore Schmatz and Gerhard Schmatz with a yellow tent. On the left, the rescue team searching for Hannelore Schmatz and Gerhard Schmatz with ladders at Mt. Everest.

Where is Hannelore Schmatz's Body ?

Dead body wearing a jacket, pants, and boots found at Mount Everest.

Ray Genet's body ultimately disappeared under the snow, but Schmatz's body was swept further down the mountain.

For years, Schmatz's remains could be seen by anyone attempting to summit Everest by the southern route.

In 1984, police inspector Yogendra Bahadur Thapa and Sherpa Ang Dorje fell to their deaths due to the extreme winds on the southern slope while trying to recover Schmatz’s body on a Nepalese police expedition. For years to come, climbers at Camp IV came upon Hannelore’s body. She is still propped against her deteriorated backpack,  wearing her climbing gear and clothing her hair blowing in the wind and her eyes wide open. Over time she simply became known as “The German Woman.”

Dead body wearing a jacket, pants, and boots found at Mount Everest.

Chris Bonington spotted Schmatz from a distance in 1985, and initially mistook her body for a tent until he got a closer look.

Eventually, Hannelore’s body was swept down to the Kangshung Face by the high winds and it was lost forever. Hannelore Schmatz was the first woman and the first German to decease on the upper slopes of Everest.

A fitting burial, perhaps, for a brave, talented woman who tackled one of the world’s biggest obstacles before succumbing to her humanity mere feet from safety.


A statement about Hannelore Schmatz and Ray Genet's dead bodies.

Lene Gammelgaard, the first Scandinavian woman to reach the peak of Everest, quotes the Norwegian mountaineer and expedition leader Arne Næss, Jr. describing his encounter with Schmatz's remains, in her book Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy (1999), which recounts her own 1996 expedition.

Rainbow Valley and Death Zone in Mount Everest

Dead bodies found in Mount Everest.

Every year around 800 people attempt to climb Mt. Everest, traversing the treacherous landscape to make it to the top of the world. Due to the harsh conditions of the world’s highest peak, some climbers don’t make it. 

At around 26,000 ft up at the significant peak lies The Danger Zone. Why is it called The Danger Zone? Since oxygen levels at that altitude are so low the human body simply cannot survive unaided. Most climbers are aware of the harsh conditions in The Danger Zone which is why carrying an ample supply of oxygen tanks is an absolute must. Sadly, when climbers don’t have enough supplementary oxygen they will slowly suffocate and die. As a result, Mt. Everest is littered with the mummified remains of climbers that did not complete the trek to the top of the mountain or faced challenges on their way back down. This exact region has gained the nickname “The Rainbow Valley” in context to the brightly rainbow colored clothing worn by the unfortunate climbers.

On the left, two hikers and a dead body lying in the snow. On the right, a dead body lying in the snow wearing a red and black jacket.

Rainbow Valley is sited at the Northeast Ridge Route where mountaineers are hailed the ghastly site of over 200 frozen cadavers. Many companies involved in the facilitation of these epic climbs charge a disheartening $30,000 to recover the remains of an individual. It is rumored that climbers have to sign a waiver agreeing to leave their bodies behind if they perish along the perilous path, or pay the amount mentioned before.

Rainbow Valley seems like to give warning to other climbers that Everest is not kind and be cautious and be prepared.

Hannelore on the South Face

References

Hannelore Schmatz Wikipedia


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