National Geographic : 1961 Jul
Handy in case of a shower, if you aren't actually climbing." Dr. Schmidt-Wellenburg wrote to Alois Auer, manager of the Adolf Pichler Hut-ten miles southwest of Innsbruck, 6,430 feet high. When Auer came to town for supplies, he took me back with him in his Jeep. And that's how I found myself among 26 men in the annual training course of the Austrian Alpine Rescue Service, all proven climbers of rock and ice, among the world's best. The man in charge was Ernst Senn of Innsbruck, who had been in the Himalayas three times and was in the seventh party to conquer the north wall of the Matterhorn. At dawn we were off - to the Three Needles atop the Kalkkogel, the Chalk Peaks, 8,500 feet high and rosily aglow in the early sun. We hiked in serpen tines over a sloping field of gravel. Where the cliffs began, we passed a bronze plaque bolted to the rock. Here Hannes Schmidhuber, Mountain Guide, Gave His Life on October 16, 1953, in Selfless Exertion to Rescue Others "A heart attack," said Ernst Senn. "Anyone can run into trouble on a mountain, but so often it's a tourist in shorts and low-cut shoes who says to Mountain-climbing author claws his way to an edelweiss high above a glacier. Though local law allowed him five flowers, he plucked but one and immediately regretted that. Revisiting his boyhood homeland, Vienna-born Peter White scaled peaks and poked into castle dungeons in quest of the essence of Tirol.