Nachruf zum Tod von Rahel Maria Liu

Ein Nachruf :
TÜBINGEN/COURMAYEUR. Rahel Maria Liu, eine Mitinitiatorin unserer Vereinsgründung starb in der Nacht vom 24. auf den 25. August in einem Schneesturm am Mont Blanc. Die 34-jährige Tübingerin war am Sonntag den 22.August mit einem englischen Begleiter von Courmayeur gestartet um den Berg über den Innominata-Grat zu besteigen.

Nach bisherigem Kenntnisstand hatten sich Liu und der 49-jährige Brite Edward Allen über eine Annonce an einer Pinnwand in Chamonix kennen gelernt und sich für die Bergtour verabredet. Während des Aufstiegs gerieten sie am Sonntag in schlechtes Wetter. Die Temperatur sank schnell auf 20 Minusgrade, und in 4600 Meter Höhe tobten Böen mit 80 Stundenkilometern.

Rahel, die in Braunschweig groß wurde und in Tübingen an Ihrer Promotion arbeitete war eine erfahrene Bergsteigerin. Ihre besondere Liebe galt den Westalpen. Zusammen mit dem französischen Bergführer Ivano Ghirardini, der als Erster in einem Winter die drei berüchtigten Nordwände der Alpen – Eiger, Matterhorn und Grandes Jorasses – durchstiegen hatte, solo wohlgemerkt, eröffnete Liu vor zwei Jahren eine neue Route auf den 4465 Meter hohen Mont Maudit.

Rahel war niemals Mitglied unseres Vereins, aber sie hat mit Ihrer Art, Ihren Ideen und Ihrer Energie mit dazu beigetragen dass die Sektion Alpen.Net überhaupt gegründet wurde. Sie war an vielen Stellen im Internet aktiv und hat Ihre Spuren hinterlassen, die dafür sorgen werden, dass sie nicht vergessen wird.

Im folgenden ein unverändert zitierter Artikel aus dem Internetforum in dem sie bis zu Ihrer letzten Unternehmung aktiv war :

Rahel Maria Liu, a young and talented German climber, died tragically between Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th Aug. 2004 while attempting to climb the Innominata spur on the southern (Italian) face of Mont Blanc. She was 34 years old. According to the information I have (I was in Courmayeur when the accident happened), she had teamed with Edward Allen, 49, a British climber met at the Bureau Des Guides in Chamonix. On Sunday they had already encountered trouble - the upper part of the route (rated D+ on the UIAA scale, but very serious for the grade because of altitude, isolation and strenuousness) was plastered with snow, and temperature had dropped significantly. A storm front had then hit the area, with strong winds, heavy snowfall and temperatures down to -40° C because of wind-chill. On Tuesday morning, worn out by exposure and altitude and with almost no  visibility they had called for help via a cell phone. Unfortunately, weather conditions had now worsened to the point that an immediate helicopter lift was impossible. The pair was stranded at 4600m, on the steep snow ridge just below the junction between the Innominata and the upper Brouillard ridge, an extremely dangerous and exposed area. Aware of 
this, the Aosta Valley Mountain Rescue had sent them (via SMS) the coordinates of a higher but more sheltered place on the Freney side of the spur. Allen moved to that location and dug there a snow hole, but Rahel (who reportedly was completely exhausted and ill) couldn't be convinced or simply didn’t have enough strength to climb up the rope length to the shelter. And so, she bivouacked on the open on the Brouillard side of the spur, on a position far more exposed to wind-chill. Having the bad weather subsided a bit in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, at dawn (in difficult flying conditions) the Aosta Valley Mountain Rescue launched an attempt to save the trapped climbers. With a complicate manoeuvre the first flight reached Allen (who was transported to the Aosta hospital and diagnosed with hypothermia) and assessed that Rahel had died in the preceding hours. As conditions worsened again a second and even more difficult flight (done using a lighter SA315B "Lama", more manoeuvrable in strong winds) dropped two guides on the spur. They reached Rahel and recovered her body, later transferred to the Courmayeur morgue for the required formalities.

Rahel Maria Liu was a true mountain enthusiast and a skilled climber with significant Mt.Blanc experience. She had a long curriculum of repetitions all over the MB massif and the Alps. In 2002, along with Ivano Gherardini, she had opened a new route on the North West face of Mt. Maudit, dedicated to the memory of Serge Gousseault, the French climber killed in 1971 during a winter attempt to open a new route on the North Face of Grandes Jorasses. In the early part of summer 2004, she had already accomplished some interesting climbs, including the Marinelli Couloir on Monte Rosa, the Swiss Route at the Grand Capucin, and the Grandes Jorasses via the normal route and the Rochers Whymper. Her enormous drive notwithstanding, she was prudent and frowned upon the casual attitude of many others, being aware of the importance of things like acclimatization, meteo and mountain conditions. In a sad irony, on one of our mail exchanges we had discussed the dangers of Mont Blanc climbing, and the upper Brouillard ridge had been mentioned as a potential trap. And so, the circumstances of her untimely death are even more heartbreaking and puzzling, considering that the weather in the area had been unsettled for most of the July and August, and the Italian meteo had long announced a change for worse at the beginning of the week. Why she ultimately decided against her better judgement and tried 
to beat the storm on one of Europe deadlier and most remote mountain faces will probably remain a mystery.

Besides being a mountaineer, an excellent violin player and generally speaking very well learned on a wide range of subjects, Rahel was by trade a research assistant on the Philosophy Dept. at the University of Tubingen (Germany), and she was passionately dedicated to her studies on philosophy, religion and aesthetic. She was also very active on the Internet, being a contributor to several newsgroups, message boards, climbing oriented pages and with her own web site devoted to mountaineering. Rahel was a bright, positive person, who valued independence, energy and enthusiasm, and that didn’t shy away from polemic and controversy, always tempered by acute intelligence and intellectual curiosity. Her lust for climbing and life in general was infectious, and everyone who knew her, or even had just the luck to have exchanged a mail with her will sorely miss Rahel. She will be 
not forgotten.

Yak, Signorellil

Links :

Rahel Maria Liu

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