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Peter Aufschnaiter

Peter Aufschnaiter and I were together for almost 14 years: from the beginning of the Nanga Parbat expedition, through our five years in the British prisoner-of-war camp, and then our seven years in Tibet. During this entire time, I could not have hoped for a better partner — neither of us could have survived alone on the arduous trip to Lhasa. When we reached Lhasa, the Tibetan Government recognized Aufschnaiter's and my skills and employed us in engineering projects. Our most interesting work together was drawing up a map of Lhasa based on our survey.

After I was forced to leave Lhasa in advance of the oncoming Chinese army in 1950, Aufschnaiter stayed on as long as he could, finally leaving only after the Dalai Lama had fled. Aufschnaiter spent most of his remaining years in Nepal, working as an agricultural engineer, first for Swiss Technical Aid and later for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Every three years he came on leave to Europe, where we went mountaineering together.

Peter Aufschnaiter died in Innsbruck in 1973 at the age of 73. He was the best partner I could have imagined on our grand adventure in Tibet.

—Heinrich Harrer

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