Harrer was caught by the British in northern India in 1939 but escaped and eventually, after an epic journey, made it to Tibet and its capital Lhasa were he stayed until 1951. There he befriended the Dalai Lama where the two struck a lifelong friendship. Harrer spent much of his life helping and supporting the cause of the Tibetan people.
Harrer wrote over 20 books, including the classic, "The White Spider" about the first ascent of the north face of the Eiger and was an outspoken advocate of human rights.
Wherever I live, I shall feel homesick for Tibet. I often think I can still hear the cries of wild geese and cranes and the beating of their wings as they fly over Lhasa in the clear cold moonlight. My heartfelt wish is that my story may create some understanding for a people whose will to live in peace and freedom has won so little sympathy from an indifferent world.
- from Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer