Anne's Tribute

First of all I want to thank everybody for being here. We especially appreciate Gottlieb's two brothers, Rudi and Lorenz, and his sister, Jutta, coming all the way from Germany and the parents of Elke's husband, Keith, coming from Australia. The love and respect being shown here today for Gottlieb is heartening and will give us courage to face our loss.

A huge thank you to Helen Clark, Peter Davis, their niece, Rosie, and Damien O'Connor, David Parker and René Aukens for your valiant efforts to try and bring Gottlieb back to life. Thank you also to Tony Delaney of the Heliline who tried to reach Rex Simpson Hut ahead of the approaching snowstorm. To everyone else involved with the rescue our sincere thanks. Since the tragic news came out we have been inundated with gifts of food, flowers and offers of help. It is wonderful to know we live in such a caring community.

Elke and Carla have said I should tell you the story of how I came to meet and marry Gottlieb. In 1977 when I was planning my first big overseas trip I heard from my brother, John, that he had climbed Footstool with a nice German mountain guide. My goal was to spend at least 6 months in Germany to become fluent in German, so I thought there's no harm in writing to this guy, telling him my plans and maybe when i get to Germany we can meet up. Gottlieb, being a man of action, put an ad in the local paper and found me a job as an au pair, so I flew straight to Munich and 6 months in Germany turned into 18 months, with Gottlieb wooing me by taking me on many trips into the Bavarian, Austrian and Swiss Alps. After a climb of Mt Blanc via the Brenva Spur (he didn't tell me it wasn't the standard route) he must have thought I'd passed the test and proposed. We were married in Germany within 9 months of meeting each other for the first time.

We spent another 9 months in Germany, before Gottlieb came back with me to NZ in November 1978. During that time in Germany I very much valued getting to know and becoming a part of Gottlieb's family. This has been a source of considerable cultural enrichment for me over the years and has provided some wonderful opportunities for Elke and Carla. We benefitted greatly from Gottlieb's German side - his thoroughness, attention to detail, total reliability and high standards.

Gottlieb, it is such a privilege to have you as part of our lives and to have been a part of yours. We are so fortunate to have shared so many wonderful adventures with you. Whenever I expressed doubt about my ability or fitness to do a certain trip, you simply said, "You'll love it," and you were right. You were always at ease in the outdoors, even in the midst of a white-out on a glacier. You knew where you were going and we always felt safe with you. Even the trips I didn't go on I could enjoy through your camera lense. I was honoured to be asked my opinion about which was the best image, when you'd taken several shots of the same thing.

Like your father you had an amazing depth of knowledge across a broad range and we often drew on this resource. Your intellect meant you were always stimulating company. You alerted us to things in our environment we took for granted and showed us how to stand up for what we believe is right. You stuck your neck out on controversial issues and risked being alienated, because you were not prepared to compromise certain principles.

You've had to bear some hard knocks in your life, the hardest being the loss of Erica. But you soldiered on and carried out your own safety research and recently it was gratifying to see two of your articles, one on short-roping and one on snow anchors, published in a reputable climbing magazine in Europe, BergundSteigen.

You have been a fantastic companion and mentor and I will always be grateful for the 30 plus years we had together. You have been a tower of strength for us all, our anchor rock, our point of reference and our guide in more ways than one. You are going to leave a huge gaping hole and I can't start to imagine how we are going to manage without you; but you have shown us how to be strong, to lift our eyes to the light on the hills, to see beauty in small things and to strive for the best even when the going gets tough.

You have given us so much and we thank you. Auf Wiedersehen, mein Lieber, und alles Gute.


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