Aufschnaiter and I were together for almost 14 years: from
the beginning of the Nanga Parbat expedition, through our
five years in the British prisoner-of-war camp, and then
our seven years in Tibet. During this entire time, I could
not have hoped for a better partner — neither of us could
have survived alone on the arduous trip to Lhasa. When
we reached Lhasa, the Tibetan Government recognized Aufschnaiter's
and my skills and employed us in engineering projects.
Our most interesting work together was drawing up a map
of Lhasa based on our survey.
After I was forced to
leave Lhasa in advance of the oncoming Chinese army in
1950, Aufschnaiter stayed on as long as he could, finally
leaving only after the Dalai Lama had fled. Aufschnaiter
spent most of his remaining years in Nepal, working as
an agricultural engineer, first for Swiss Technical Aid
and later for the Food and Agricultural Organization
of the United Nations. Every three years he came on leave
to Europe, where we went mountaineering together.
Peter Aufschnaiter died
in Innsbruck in 1973 at the age of 73. He was the best partner I could have imagined on our grand
adventure in Tibet.