Billi Bierling was born in the Bavarian Alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. As a young girl she was not interested in the mountains and always caused a stir when she had to go hiking with her parents. When she moved to the UK to work as an assistant teacher at the age of 24, she discovered rock climbing in Scotland and Northern England. In 1998, she climbed her first 6,000m peak in Nepal and fell in love with the country, the people and high-altitude mountaineering.
From then on, Billi spent at least one climbing season in Nepal and when she was not gallivanting around the high Himalaya, she explored mountains in South America, Africa and New Zealand. In 2004, she gave up her journalism career in Switzerland and moved to Nepal where she started working for the Himalaya archivist, Miss Elizabeth Hawley who has been collecting climbing data in the Nepal Himalaya since the early 1960s. Billi has been interviewing mountaineers in Kathmandu ever since and took over the management of the Himalayan Database from Elizabeth Hawley in 2016. Together with Richard Salisbury, Jeevan Shrestha, Rodolphe Popier and Tobias Pantel she tries to continue the great work of Elizabeth Hawley, who passed away at the age of 94 in January 2018.
Billi has climbed six of the 14 8,000m peaks herself and would like to add one more to her collection.
Billi also works as freelance journalist and press officer for the United Nations and Swiss Humanitarian Aid. She has translated three books from German into English: Mountains in my heart by Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, The Fall of Heaven by Reinhold Messner My Life in Climbing by Ueli Steck.