|At 14.15 on 20 December Harald Berger, the three times Ice Climbing World Champion, winner of numerous competitions and extremely talented rock climber, died beneath an immense quantity of ice which collapsed while he was climbing on the overhanging Eiskapelle cave close to Hintersee (Flachgau), Salzburg, Austria. 150 tons of ice have brought his 34 years of age and his smile to an abrupt end. This is an absolutely incredible and exceptional occurance.
Those who saw Harry climb and compete will not forget him: he was a prince of climbing, on ice and on rock. He will be sorely missed for his driving passion.
Albert Leichtfried, a great friend of Hari, informed us that on 21 December Harald and Kirsten Buchmann's daughter Zoe was born. He has launched the following appeal: "To improve the critical financial situation of Kirsten and Zoe two fund raiser are set now, from friends of Hari and from the Austrian Association of Mountain Guides. For all details click here. Please help them to improve at least one of their worries! Thank you!"
Simone Moro remembers Harry with the following words::
FOR HARALD BERGER
by Simone Moro
"My mobile phone was off, I had almost completely cut myself off from the thousands of things I need to do prior to departing for the Karakorum. I wanted to concentrate of the final things concerning comunication, internet, satellite phones. But as soon as I reconnected to the outside world, towards evening, the disasterous news hit me. It rendered me speechless, it took my breath away for a few ceaseless instances. But the giant block of ice which hit Harald Berger at 14:15 at Flachgau, close to Salzburg, left no room for escape. In a few hours time he would have become a father... It all came to an end beneath 150 tons of ice. For ever.
When a friend dies, someone you know, someone with whom you've worked together, who you had met a few days ago and had heard on the phone and by email just a few hours ago, you realise just how fragile and ephemeral the cords are on which our destiny rely. Harald had not wanted to go to Mexico two weeks ago for a sponsor we have in common so as to not leave his wife at home, he hadn't come to Chamonix for the same reason. He had almost completely quit base jumping so as to avoid unecessary risks, in other words, he had decided to steer clear of danger and he had decided to stay at home in 2007 without projects for distant travels. But seeking refuge, protection, is useless because destiny, once again, travelled on a different frequency, abiding a completely different logic.
Harald was a true athlete, a formidable man, careful. Despite his three victories in the ice climbing world cup he still wanted to learn and to listen, not just to show and demonstrate what he was capable of. Rock, ice, air - these were the elements in which he dreamed and which made him dream. We've now got to live with just these. Dreams and thoughts. Because the reality is that Harald has closed his book of life, after 34 years of pages and an immense desire and ideas to write more, exalting and full. There is no end, no moral, no explanation with which to close these thoughts, to help accept what happened in such a cruel way to Hari, his life companion and his child which will be born shortly.
Once again I ascertain that life must really be lived to the full, intensely and in every single instant, without putting our spaces and exalting, full moments too far off into the future. All I can do today is salute you and pray for you. Staying close to your companion and your future child is what we can promise in our greeting. Bye Harald."
Photo Harald Berger in action at the Daone Ice Master (ph Giulio Malfer)