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Eiger to Everest

Tess Burrows
May 28, 2022

In my book "Soft Courage" Yannick Penguin tells the exciting tale of how he learnt 'friendship' on the Eiger - The infamous Swiss mountain which strikes fear to hearts, having claimed so many lives.

At the UN Palais des Nations press conference before the climb - Yannick posing with his friend Footie!

It was 30 years ago and we were part of "Climb For The World on behalf of the United Nations" with representatives of every continent climbing up different sides of the Eiger for a summit meeting. Demonstrating a coming together of nations in friendship...

James Kagambi (KG) from Kenya collecting snow for water with  Birendra Shrestha from Nepal

I was representing Australasia, having an Australian passport. Yannick of course was representing Antarctica. And we climbed with the lovely African, James Kagambi (KG), who taught us to shout wild Kikuyu climbing calls across the mountain - informing us afterwards they all meant "Yo Man!"

"Yo Man"!

We came up the Eastern  Mittellegi Ridge, terrifyingly knife-edged - in some places like riding a horse with one leg dangling into space a mile down over the North face, the other dangling a mile down the South. In these conditions if your partner on the rope falls one side you have to be prepared to jump quickly down the other... I found it scary, but was able to relax when KG quietly stopped and played his harmonica.

The Mittellegi Arete

He danced that night on the summit as we spoke the message from the UN Secretary General " While the power to destroy the Earth is concentrated in a few hands, the power to save it is widely dispersed" - a reminder that we are all on this Earth together like climbers on a climbing rope... Then we slept curled up against the snow

James Kagambi (KG) amongst the Eiger summit mists

This May 2022, 30 years on, at the age of 62 and with dodgy knees, James Kagambi has been part of the first all black team to summit Everest!!

Also the first Kenyan!!!

See Full Circle Everest Expedition

KG, I salute you. And am proud to have experienced your warm friendship. Huge huge CONGRATULATIONS!!!

May your effort and achievement on Everest also spread friendship between nations

Friendship between nations...

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Tess Burrows
Dedicated to the greater good, the raising of consciousness and the healing of the Earth...

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