Latvia does not really have high mountains or steep hills. Our highest peek is 311 meters above the sea level – a hill called Gaiziņš. However we are great mountain climbers. Today we would like to mention Teodors Ķirsis. He is the Latvian mountaineering legend. He has climbed highest peeks of all continents, including Mount Everest. In regards of Riga his mountaineering skills found their use when he participated in assembling and dismantling of weathercocks on churches of the city.
It was on the 14th of May in 1995 when he spoke from the top of the Everest:” That`
s it. That`s the way it is. Say, it is fifteen hours and fifteen minutes.” After a brief pause he went on: ” No higher point to climb” Technically and practically, he reached the highest summit simultaneously with his partner Imants Zauls. Short video interview with Imants – Latvian language.
It is not like today and during 45 min of their time right on the top there were no other climbers they met and nobody to ask for their photo taken so on all photos they are separate.
Teodors Ķirsis was born on November 25, 1942 in Jelgava. Mountaineer, Scientist.
Graduated from Jaunpils Secondary School and Riga Polytechnic Institute (1970). During his studies, he was drafted into the army, served in the Murmansk region beyond the Arctic Circle.
After his studies, he worked at the Polytechnic Institute as the head and assistant of the laboratory of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Equipment, assistant professor, head of the department and director of the Institute of Industrial Business Systems.
He has published more than 50 scientific and methodological works. He wrote the book “On Climbers” (1993).
T.Kirsis has led about 50 expeditions, conquered all the peaks in the territory of the USSR, which are higher than 7,000 meters for which he received the title of “Snow Leopard”. By January 2001, he had reached the highest peaks of all continents.
In 1996 he was awarded the Order of the Three Stars. The Order is the highest state badge of recognition awarded for special merits for the benefit of the Republic of Latvia.
On December 9, 2003, he and the other three participants of the expedition (Ilmārs Bernāns, Theodore’s daughter – Evija Ķirse and Aivars Prošenkovs) died while climbing Cook Hill (3754 m, New Zealand) as part of the “7 peaks for Latvia” program.
He would have celebrated 78th birthday this year. This is a person Latvians can be and are so very proud of!