The Last Escape

It was the adventure of their lives. An attempt to escape from East Germany - over one of the world´s highest mountains.

The story

It is one of those stories which only happen in the movies.

Summer 1989. Germany is divided and the future fate of East Germany is yet unknown. The East Germans have been under the Soviet regime for many years. Many things that are common for West Germans are prohibited in East Germany and remain but only dreams.

However, three adventurers want to realize their greatest dream: to become the first East Germans who climb an eight-thousand meter mountain in the Himalayas.

Against all odds, it begins as one of the most spectacular escape attempts in the history of East Germany.

Karsten König, Reinhardt Tauchnitz and Sabine Körbs secretly plan for many months while under the constant fear of possible discovery by the Stasi.

In the summer of 1989, all preparations have been made. They first take the train from Berlin to Moscow. For 3 days they have permission to be in the Soviet Union as a transit country while on the way to Romania. However, they switch trains and instead illegally head to Lake Baikal where they plan their escape to China and then journey to Tibet and the eight-thousand meter Shisha Pangma. However, it was not to be. While deep in Siberia they discover that Honecker has stood down.

They return to support the political protests back home. In the meantime The Wall comes down.

After the fall of The Wall they start once more on their journey and reach Beijing in April, 1990. They were informed by the East German Embassy that Tibet has been closed to foreigners and that martial law has been imposed. Nevertheless, they manage to arrive in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa but were then apprehended by the Chinese authorities and are escorted to the Nepalese border. Hours away from being expelled into Nepal. With sheer luck they manage to escape back towards the Tibetan plateau. What follows is a hard 10 day’s hike to the foot of Shisha Pangma – and a long, exhausting climb.

Will they realize their dream? And how will they manage to get to Germany?