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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 January 2006, 21:27 GMT
Austrian mountaineer Harrer dies
Heinrich Harrer, pictured in 2003, copyright Roger Croston
Heinrich Harrer also wrote about his mountaineering feat
Renowned Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer - whose life was portrayed in the book and film Seven Years in Tibet - has died at the age of 93.

Harrer was the first person to climb the north face of Switzerland's famous Eiger mountain in 1938.

He also became well known for his 1953 memoir - the film version of which starred actor Brad Pitt.

It told of his time in the Himalayas and befriending the Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in World War II.

Harrer's family gave no details of the cause of death, but said Harrer would be buried on 14 January in the town of Huettenberg.

Classic

Harrer had escaped to Tibet in 1944 from a British prisoner of war camp in India, where he had been captured while on an expedition in the Himalayas.

Heinrich Harrer and the  Dalai Lama
Heinrich Harrer was reunited with the Dalai Lama in 2005

In Tibet he met the Dalai Lama, whom he later tutored. He fled from the capital Lhasa when Chinese soldiers invaded the Himalayan region in 1951.

He also wrote about the dramatic first ascent of the Eiger with two Germans and a fellow Austrian.

The book, entitled the White Spider after the distinctive ice field near the summit, has become a mountaineering classic.

Harrer was decorated with numerous high awards and honours during his career, including Austria's Golden Humboldt medal and the Light Of Truth award bestowed by Tibet's government-in-exile in India.

Following media reports, Harrer admitted in the 1990s he had been a member of the Nazi party. Harrer also joined the SS, the party's police wing, but was never linked to any atrocities committed by the Nazis.




SEE ALSO
Dalai Lama marks 70th birthday
06 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Clemency call for Tibetan monk
02 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Regions and territories: Tibet
27 Oct 05 |  Country profiles
Eiger's grim reputation
03 Sep 01 |  Europe

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