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EverestHistory.com: Jürg Marmet


Jürg Marmet was a member of the 1956 Swiss Mount Everest and Lhotse Expedition which made the second and third ascents of Everest and the first ascent of Lhotse. He climbed Mt. Everest on the 23rd of May 1956 together with Ernst Schmied (2nd ascent).

Jürg Marmet, for those without a German Keyboard, his name is often spelled Juerg. The French frequently write Jurg. His US-friends sometimes call him George, which is the equivalent to the German name Jürg (u-Umlaut).

Juerg Marmet: His CV

Born 14 September 1927 in Bern, Switzerland. Married with Elsbeth Knoerr, 3 children.

Chemical engineer (1952), PhD in human toxicology (1957). Management positions in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food, vitamins & fine chemicals. CEO of an intercontinental research and business group. Retired 1992. 

Licensed Swiss Mountain Guide and Ski Instructor (1949), pioneered Swiss Air Rescue (parachutist, plane and helicopter rescue 1952 - 1959), pioneered high altitude oxygen equipment for Everest (autumn 1952 - 1956), Oxygen consultant for subsequent expeditions (1956 - 1962).

Expeditions:

Baffin Island: Cumberland Peninsula (Pangnirtung), physiologist, surveyor and mountain guide. First climbed (lead) Asgard (Swiss route), the Queen, Tête Blanche, etc. (1953).

Everest: Second ascent (South East Ridge, 1956), First European on Everest, Nr 3 on official summiteers’ list, first Swiss Mountain Guide on a 8000 m peak.

Axel Heiberg: First Traverse of the Swiss Range (Foundation peak, Midnight peak etc.) and the White Crown (1960).

Member AAC, AC, SAC, AMC

The short story by Hans Rudolf von Gunten, himself is below:

About the expedition. The expedition was led by Albert Eggler. The team consisted of 10 climbers, a glaciologist and a geographer.

We went by ship from Genova (Italy) to Bombay (India) and then by train to Jainagar in the Ganges plaines (a few meters of altitude!). From there we hiked about four weeks to the Base Camp. We had 10 tons of material which were carried by 350 porters. From the Base Camp up 30 Sherpas helped to carry the material. At the monastery of Thiangboche Fritz Luchsinger had an acute appendicitis but was cured by a massive doses of antibiotic.

For the acclimatisation we climbed several peaks of 5000 to 6000 m altitude, most of them were climbed for the first time.

The Icefall was quite an obstacle. We used explosives to blow-up the most dangerous seracs. Two ladders and several wooden beams helped in crossing crevasses. At the most difficult locations fixed ropes were installed. We had always to lead teams of Sherpas up the glacier; at that time most of the Sherpas had not much experience. We climbed always roped together.

We installed 7 camps. Camp 3 as advanced Base in the Western Cwm, camp 5 in the Lhotse Face, camp 6 on South Col, camp 7 at about 8400 m on the ridge of Everest.

Starting from a tent higher up in the Lhotse Face Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger made the first ascent of Lhotse on May 18, 1956, on a very windy day.

A week later Ernst Schmied and Juerg Marmet climbed Everest (2nd ascent, 23 May). One day later Everest was climbed a second time by Dolf Reist and Hans-Rudolf von Gunten (3rd ascent). The latter team used 4 hours from camp 7 to the top, remained for two hours on the summit, one hour without oxygen, and descendet in two hours to the south col. There was no wind on top.

We were about two months at the mountain climbing up and down every day. The expedition had no accidents.

We then hiked two weeks back to Kathmandu.

Only Juerg Marmet, Ernst Reiss and Hans R. von Gunten are still living.

H.R. von Gunten

Literature: Albert Eggler, "Gipfel über den Wolken", Verlag Hallwag Bern, Switzerland 1956.

Albert Eggler, "The Everest-Lhotse Adventure", Harper New York






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