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 Miss Helga Hengge                                 Last Updated 2/3/2001

Reached the summit of Everest on May 27th, 1999.
Never will I forget the night when we climbed to the summit of the world, that almost full-moon night in which the stars danced so gloriously into the heavens. Carefully I leaned over the ridge, pressing my down dress into the frozen snow. Then I slowly inched forward. The mountain seemed to emit a pure white light illuming the night. Vast snow fields fell away slowly into unknown depths. Millions of snow crystals glistened through the air. It was completely quiet, the whole world seemed to be sleeping under the thick silver clouds blanketing the valleys below. Never will I forget the night in which the moon danced on the snow fields. This was the home of the Gods in the land of the snows - the great Himalaya. Special thanks to Russell Brice and his team of Sherpas and Tibetans for taking me so close to heaven.
Climbing resume: I started rock climbing in the summer of 1996 in the Shawangunks cliffs upstate New York. My first mountaineering expedition was to Aconcagua in Argentina. I went with a small international expedition from Boulder, Colorado and reached the summit on the 10th of January 1997. In May 1997 I went to Peru with a Swiss expedition and climbed Chopicalqui and Huascaran. On a British winter trekking expedition through the Khumbu I climbed Island
Peak in December 1997. In May 1998 I climbed Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador with Czech climbing friends from New York. 

My first try at an 8000 meter peak came in September 1998. With the British outfit OTT I reached camp 3 at 7400 meters and then turned around in a snow storm. Still fully acclimatized I went on to Nepal with Henry Todd's group and climbed Ama Dablam in the middle of October. Then in April 1999 I joined Russell Brice's Himalayan Experience expedition to the North Side of Mount Everest. Loppsang and me stepped up to the summit on the 27th of May with oxygen on the finest Himalayan morning. (I found out later, from Liz Hawley back in Kathmandu, that I was the first German woman to climb Mount Everest successfully* and also the first American woman to be successful* on the North Side - for I have dual citizenship) In the fall of 1999 I joined an expedition to climb Pumori in Nepal but due to heavy snow fall we never got out of Base Camp.

An ambitious plan in Pakistan - to climb two 8000 meter peaks back to back - Gasherbrum 1 and 2 - failed miserably. Continuous snow fall and unseasonably bad weather kept us from even reaching proper Camp 2 on Gasherbrum 2. 

My book "Nur der Himmel ist Hoeher" (Only Heaven is Higher) came out in Germany in September 1999 with Droemer publishing house, available on amazon.com - describing our adventures on Mount Everest, an English version is in the works. I grew up in Munich, Germany and have been living in New York for the past ten years - working as a fashion stylist. 

* A successful Summit is defined as making the top, the true Summit of a  Peak. However, in both cases here, Miss Helga Hengge is the first to make it to the top and back down

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