On May 10, 1978 Reinhard Karl was the
first German to stand atop the worlds tallest mountain.
It is a bit ironic that he set out for Everest to
chronicle a record not to perform one himself.
was about to attempt his famous oxygenless ascent of Everest and a German
magazine wanted someone along to take photos of the historic event. Being both
a climber and a photographer Reinhard Karl was quick to accept the job. After
Messner and his climbing partner Peter Habeler failed their attempt at the
summit (they would later summit without oxygen successfully) Karl and
expedition physician Dr. Oswald Oelz made for the summit (with oxygen)
following a week after expedition leader Wolfgang Nairz and his group
Karl grew up in
the German town of Heidelberg, and though he was apprenticed as a mechanic his
heart belonged to the mountains. He joined the local chapter of the German
Alps Association in his teens and at 17 went on his first mountain tour. He
would go on to publish both writing and photographs of his mountaineering
died in an avalanche while climbing Cho Oyu an 8,201-meter peak on the border
of Tibet and Nepal on May 19, 1982. He was 35 years old.