EPISODE 5 – Billi Bierling, mountaineer – How to keep safe

December 01, 2016

In this episode I talk with Billi Bierling, an accomplished mountaineer by her own right, and recently the dedicated keeper of the Himalayan database. Billi is also a trained journalist and sometimes works at lesser altitudes. Billi has climbed five different mountains above 8000 meters, some twice, and with and without supplemental oxygen. Most recently she stood on the summit of Cho Oyu, the world´s fifth highest mountain. In the episode we talk about her work for the Himalayan database and her reflections about the growing industry that mountaineering has become with pressures for getting sponsors and pleasing them – in addition, and perhaps more importantly, how she avoids risks and keeps safe. This episode is the first of three.


  • 06.00 Keeping track of the mountaineering community – The Himalayan database
  • 08.50 Who are the typical Everest client?
  • 12.40 How not sweating it and making sure to come home without any damage differentiate successful from failing mountaineers
  • 16.10 How Billi remains focused by enjoying the activity per se, and the surprise of reaching the goal (the summit)
  • 20.40 Meeting the expectations of the sponsors as compromising the focus of the activity
  • 21.30 On the growing trend of being first and the pressure and belief in the requirement of being sponsored
  • 23.30 The main difference between a safe and a less safe expedition – On expectations and willingness to invest in resources and staff
  • 28.00 Commercial operators becoming forced to bail out non-self sufficient climbers/clients
  • 30.00 On failure and due diligence


Billi Bierling
The Himalayan Database

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