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Eiger North Face Team Eiger North Face   75 years jubilee

Eiger North Face team

The Eiger north face, was first climbed on July 24, 1938 by the Austrians Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek and the Germans Anderl Heckmair and Ludwig Vörg. The two groups started separately but arrived at the summit together three days later, braving several falls and avalanches.

Standing at 1 800m high, the Eiger North Face has always fascinated alpinists and was long considered an impossible feat by the inhabitants of the valley. Dramatic and often tragic attempts to scale the Eiger North Face have made it world famous.

Although Tricouni nails were used during the ascent, this climb marks the introduction of 12 point crampons which greatly facilitated the climb of steep icy slopes.

Eiger Nordwand Tricouni ad 819x1024 Eiger North Face   75 years jubilee

Eiger North face Tricouni ad

Everest team Kloten Interview with Hunt, Hillary, Tenzing & Lambert

Everest team at Kloten

The successful team were met at Zurich airport by the Swiss press during a stop-over en route to the UK.

Sir Edmund Hillary describes the view from the top, Tenzing describes his plans for the future while John Hunt pays respect to the Swiss expedition whose steps they followed. Swiss guide Raymond Lambert offers his congratulations and is happy to reunite with his friend Tenzing. A year earlier, the two had reached within 200 meters of the summit of Everest without using oxygen. The Swiss attempt was partially sponsored by Tricouni.

Transcription of Interview (in French, English & Nepali):

Date: July 3, 1953

Source. Swiss Radio

Listen to the interview here

Jean-Pierre Goretta: (in French) We are reporting from Kloten Airport, dear listeners. Although last night we were expecting the plane with the victorious team from Mount Everest on their way to England, it has only landed here in Kloten this morning for a brief stopover of a few minutes. A crowd of reporters, photographers, fans and friends (friends among whom we recognize the Doctor Chevalley and the guide Lambert from the old Everest expedition) have come to greet the victors of the highest peak in the world. They are descending from the plane as I speak. I think they are going to the tearoom in the airport. We will try to approach them for a few questions…

…Well my dear listeners, we managed to get close to Colonel Hunt to whom we will ask a few questions.

Sir, can I ask you first of all what were the conditions under which you reached the summit of Everest ?

Colonel Hunt: (answers in French) Well, I would like to start off by emphasizing that we owe a lot to your team from last year for our success. We learned much before our departure and they gave us very precious information. And especially we followed the traces, followed the route, from your team of last year.

Jean-Pierre Goretta: Did you find some traces, camps or material that our expedition had abandoned ?

Colonel Hunt: Yes, certainly yes, besides camp three, we found some food and certain articles of equipment. And later, higher up, in the Lhotse face and on the south col, we found some oxygen bottles that we were able to use to our benefit.

Jean-Pierre Goretta:And I think that you also benefited from favourable weather and atmospheric conditions of course

Colonel Hunt:Yes, in the second half of the month of May, we were ready for the assault, the attack. During this whole time I admit that the weather was favorable – except for the wind. We didn’t know if the wind would allow us to go up there.

Jean-Pierre Goretta : Did you give several assaults before reaching the summit or did you reach it, so to speak, on the first try?

Colonel Hunt: No, we planned for two tries, rather two teams who would go up one after the other. The first team reached the south summit and the second team went strait up.

Jean-Pierre Goretta: Is it a coincidence that Hillary reached the summit or did you designate him in advance?

Colonel Hunt: No, I designated him in advance.

Jean-Pierre Goretta: It was him who was to launch the second attempt?

Colonel Hunt: Yes that’s right. The second assault, given that there were three. We could have launched a third assault had it been necessary.

Jean-Pierre Goretta:What really surprised us Swiss was the speed at which you sent out the news. How come the news arrived so quickly ? I think you had some …

Colonel Hunt: Well there we had a lot of luck because there was a radio post at Nanchi Bazaar, which belonged to the Indians. Thanks to that, we could send our last message via the airwaves.

Jean-Pierre Goretta: And everything went well. I think that the morale of the sherpas, well of everybody, was excellent. In the end, it contributed to the victory on Everest, as I think that from a psychological point of view, this is very important when reaching the summit of a mountain like Everest, isn’t it ?

Colonel Hunt: Yes, that’s completely true. We vanquished, we succeeded, especially since we were a team…

Jean-Pierre Goretta: very homogeneous and tight.

Colonel Hunt: …exactly, between the sherpas and the Europeans.

Jean-Pierre Goretta: I am now going to, dear listeners, give my microphone to the highest man in the world. Or rather one of the highest men in the world since there is Tenzing and Hillary. Unfortunately Hillary doesn’t speak French so I am going to rely on my excellent colleague, the English short wave radio reporter Anderson. Anderson, I would like you to ask the following question to Mister Hillary. How did the summit the summit of Everest present itself ?

Anderson: (translates question in English) How was it from the top of Everest?

Edmund Hillary: Well, the view from the top? Well the view was not spectacular because we were so high that everything below us seemed so flat.

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Jean-Pierre Goretta: And what were Hillary’s feeling when he reached the top ?

Anderson: How did you feel when you got to the top ?

Edmund Hillary: Oh, we felt very well indeed actually. We were probably feeling a little tired but breathing oxygen as we were, we both felt reasonably rational and quite fit.

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Jean-Pierre Goretta: Well it was a triumph for him. He was overjoyed I imagine ?

Anderson: (in French) I don’t know if the New Zealander shows it that much (In English) Were you joyously leaping about or anything ?

Edmund Hillary: No, no, we weren’t leaping about. We didn’t have enough energy for that. But we did thump each other on the back, I remember, and I certainly felt alright to take photographs and things like that.

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Jean-Pierre Goretta: I have next to me, dear listeners, the guide Lambert, who until recently, was the highest person in the world. Otherwise said, we have around this microphone, the three highest people in the world. There is Tenzing, there is Mister Hillary and there is Lambert. Lambert, I think that you have some questions, or one question, for Mister Hillary?

Raymond Lambert : Well what interests me, in particular, is how was the last bit. What kind of terrain did they find between the south summit and the principal summit of Everest?

Anderson: What kind of, what was the terrain up there exactly in the way of ice and snow and so on ?

Edmund Hillary: Well the approach to the south peak, we found was composed of very steep and rather dangerous snow, we felt. We went up this alright. From the south summit to the top , the snow was in extremely good condition.

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Jean-Pierre Goretta: How long did they stay at the summit?

Anderson: How long did you stay on top ?

Edmund Hillary: We only spent there fifteen minutes

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Raymond Lambert: Yes that’s very good. I have seen the pictures of the summit which is rather narrow, rather fine. Wasn’t it? Its not a big rounded arrête but rather narrow with cornices on the Tibetan side. Isn’t that right?

Anderson: The final arrête seems to Mister Lambert to have been rather narrow. Not a nice rounded one, a comfortable one to get onto but a very thin one?

Edmund Hillary: Yes the ridge from the south summit to the top was corniched very much on the right and dropped down fairly steep on the left.

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Raymond Lambert: Ah yes, on the Western Cwm

Jean-Pierre Goretta: There is a question I am repugnant to ask, my dear listeners, which I loathe as its a stupid question. Nevertheless I have it on the tip of my tongue and will ask it. Its the following: Who was the first to reach the summit of Everest ? Note that if you don’t want to answer it, I can not oblige you to, of course.

Anderson: Sir Edmund, my colleague is rather interested to have this rather unpleasant story cleaned up a little, about the question as to who was the first on the summit, you or Tenzing?

Edmund Hillary: Well, we got there more or less together. Leading up to the south summit, we were leading alternatively. I actually led from the south summit along but we reached there almost together.

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Jean-Pierre Goretta: My infinite thanks. I was saying that it was a stupid question. Lambert please explain why it is a stupid question.

Raymond Lambert: No, its absolutely ridiculous in an expedition of this magnitude, if front of a challenge of this nature one cannot say if one or the other was the first. Its all a team effort, complete, from the beginning, in the organization, until the summit. Each member of the team makes a decisive contribution to reaching the summit. Here is the result and the only result that counts is that Everest has been vanquished and well vanquished.

Jean-Pierre Goretta: Thank you infinitely for having concluded this interview in such a nice way and for having brought your sporting spirit in paying homage to these men who, after your experience, reached the summit of Everest.

And here, in Koten, among the victors of Everest, is the guide Tenzing who has come with his family, his wife and three small girls dressed in the native costumes of their land – purple and red dresses and Tenzing is dressed in a long shirt of raw linen and a grey trouser. Evidently the guide Tenzing speaks only Nepali and I will depend on Mister Anderson and Mister how ?….

Major Wiley: Major Wiley

Jean-Pierre Goretta: …to ensure the translation. I would like to ask a single question to Tenzing and its this one: what are your projects, as his colleagues have already answered the questions related to the atmospheric conditions and difficulties of this success.

Anderson: Mister Wiley, My colleague would like to know what are the plans for Tenzing’s future? What does he intend to do

Major Wiley: (Translates in Nepali)

Sherpa Tenzing: (Answers in Nepali)

Major Wiley: When he gets back to Darjeeling, he’s going to have two months rest and then make a decision.

Anderson: (translates answer into French)

Jean-Pierre Goretta: Well, my infinite thanks. From Koten, my dear listeners, after a brief stop-over, the plane will now leave for England. You have just heard, in order, interviews with the head of the expedition Colonel Hunt, Mister Hillary and the guide Tenzing. Also participating in these interviews was our fellow guide Lambert.

Listen to the interview here

Tenzing and Lambert in Switzerland 2 Interview with Hunt, Hillary, Tenzing & Lambert

Lambert and Tenzing in Meiringen

Patrie Suisse, Issue 27, 1941

University town and banking center, Geneva is also a city of artisans and a nest of inventors. The stroll through our national life would be incomplete if we do not talk to a representative of one or the other of these states. It is however frequent to encounter both in the same person as in the case of Mr. Felix Genecand, who is a jewel setter by trade and an inventor by nature. Jewel setter as one used to be in Geneva at the time of “la Fabrique”, where the deep knowledge of a craft of art and precision went together with a sharp critical sense and a high level of curiosity. According to Rousseau’s son, his watch-making father had a Plutarch on his workbench. Mr. Genecand whose apprenticeship began at 11 years of age remained 25 years in his post before becoming an entrepreneur. Talking with him connects us back to the happy time of Toepffer, to workshops perched high and to cabinet makers with jovial, good and choleric hearts.

Perhaps we should have revealed outright the name of our artisan whose quiet courage in the mountains made him famous in Switzerland and whose inventions spread all the way to America. The Geneva jewel setter is none other than the famous mountaineer Tricouni.

Tricouni Felix Genecand La Patrie On the occasion of the 650th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation

Felix Genecand alias Tricouni

Whoever has climbed on the Salève cliffs knows who is Tricouni. A difficult passage which he was the first to climb was baptized with these three syllables. And whoever practises mountain climbing has had the opportunity of experiencing the shoe nails which bear his name and for which a dozen of Swiss and foreign patents have been registered.
When Mr. Genecand shows us his jewelry set with microscopic gems, one wonders how he manages to have such a steady hand the day following a summit. We bow in front of the artisan as well as the athlete. The steel teeth he devised which allow climbers to hold on the smallest asperities on the granite are testament to his ingeniousness Today the inventor is working on a shoe sole with a hardened rubber sole combined with steel teeth. We also know that Mr. Genecand is the inventor of a fixation device for climbing skins on skis recommended by our army and that he also created several tools for jewelry setting.

We talk about the current state of our land. He talks with the slow verb of mountain people:
“The 650th anniversary finds our is our business in a sorry state, he confides. Although watchmaking has regained a bit of momentum with the invention of stamped watch cases as with the introduction of chain manufacturing, we have to admit that the demand for beautiful jewelry work has declined. The time of the Radjas is behind us. I hope it returns because my trade is a beautiful one. It requires good taste, a steady hand and precision which the client looks for even more today than in the past. For some strange reason, the client today prefers steel to platinum. Our suffering or our trade is suffering in consequence.
Listening to Mr. Genecand, one realizes that he gives his business the rightful spot it deserves in our country’s life.

Our Geneva craftsmen have always brought to their work a conscience and an honesty which has always been recognized abroad. The quality of our work is one of the best gems of our crown jewels.

“What I say about Geneva also applies to the other Swiss cantons as well. The workmanship of our labor force is testament to the common spirit of all the small groups which compose Switzerland. We recognize ourselves through our love of our craft. This, I think, is in itself a guarantee of our unity and our continuity.”

Tricouni poster ferrures Tricouni posters

Tricouni poster – Ferrures

Tricouni poster 2 Tricouni posters

Tricouni poster – Ferrures

Poster for Tricouni gaitor

Tricouni Ghetralp Tricouni gaitors

Tricouni – Ghetralp

A Tricouni catalog from 1973 illustrating the patented cord lock (bottom left) now ubiquitous on all outdoor clothing and packs.

1 Tricouni Cord Lock 1973 light Tricouni invented the cord lock

Tricouni catalog with cord lock – 1973

TRIGS – the new Tricouni Gripping System – is on display in rue des Eaux-Vives 20, Geneva during the months of December 2012 and February 2013. The display also includes Tricouni collector posters from the 1930s to 1960s. Please, contact Tricouni before your visit.

The valley is blue with the evening mist and the last rays of sunshine illuminate the mountaintops.

Some men clamber down to the village. The climb was tough, intoxicating – fingers bleed from the bite of granite, muscles, though tired are swelling from the effort. The splendor of the Alps glows in the soul of these men.

They go down, sometimes stopping to rest on their ice ax, they gaze at the mountains and the valley …

They continue forward, their shoes squeaking on the trail and in the approaching night, sparks flying on the stones. The nails penetrate into the grass pasture, cling to the last rocks which block their way back. The nails are Tricouni nails.

Photos of the 2002 ascent of Eiger North Face by Stefan Siegrist and Michal Pitelka taken by Thomas Ulrich (www.visualimpact.ch)

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