News

Remembering Hari Berger — 1972-2006

Hari Berger was killed on Dec. 20, 2006, when an ice cave he was training in collapsed not far from his home in Salzburg, Austria. While Berger was known by most for his ice and rock climbing exploits -- three-time world ice climbing champion, hard ice climbing first ascents and cutting-edge, multi-pitch free climbs in the Austrian Alps -- he will also be remembered for his genuine warmth and enthusiasm.


Hari Berger was killed on Dec. 20, 2006, when an ice cave he was training in collapsed not far from his home in Salzburg, Austria. While Berger was known by most for his ice and rock climbing exploits — three-time world ice climbing champion, hard ice climbing first ascents and cutting-edge, multi-pitch free climbs in the Austrian Alps — he will also be remembered for his genuine warmth and enthusiasm.

He always approached things with a positive attitude that was infectious to all those around him, whether he was learning to play Texas Hold’em or competing at the Ouray Ice Festival. Berger’s calm, almost gentle demeanor balanced his intense personality and limitless energy to explore his passion for life and his gift for climbing. His friends will always remember his great cooking, his honesty, his million-dollar smile and his big heart. He leaves behind longtime girlfriend Kirsten Buchmann and their newborn daughter, Zoe (born only hours after he died). Our hearts and prayers go out to them.

As Will Gadd said in an email to industry friends shortly after learning of Berger’s death, “It’s beyond sad, but it’s also the start of a new life that will need support without Hari’s physical presence.”

Ouray Ice Park has agreed to donate the door take from the Petzl/Arc’Teryx party which last year raised close to $2,000.

In addition, employees from Petzl, one of Berger’s main sponsors, are working to put together an auction site on eBay that will honor Hari’s legacy and provide a source of financial support for his family. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to help Berger’s family. To access the auction site, which will soon be set up to start making sales and taking money, click here.

John Evans of Petzl said in a recent email, “The outdoor community has been super generous to date, though there is still a lot of work to be done in this area. We have items/commitments from Arc’Teryx, The North Face, Trango, Black Diamond, Petzl, Lynn Hill, Osprey, Cloudveil, Prana, Outdoor Research, Rock and Ice, Climbing, Rob Owens, and signed books from Ed Viesters, Eric Weihenmayer, Pete Takeda, Sean Isaac and Jack Roberts.”

Questions regarding this site or the legacy fund should be sent to hari.berger.legacy@petzl.com.