Annapurna: The First Conquest Of An 8,000-Meter Peak Paperback – May 18 2010
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"Outdoor Classic" Winner of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Awards “The most influential mountaineering book of all time.”―National Geographic Adventure “Those who have never seen the Himalayas, those who never care to risk an assault, will know when they finish this book that they have been a companion of greatness.”―New York Times Book Review “Before Everest, there was Annapurna. Frenchman Herzog led the first summitting of an 8,000-meter peak, dictating his story because he had lost all his fingers to frostbite.”―Sports Illustrated“While the ascent is thrilling enough, the harrowing descent . . . truly boggles the mind.”―The Week
From the Back Cover
One of Sports Illustrated's top 100 sports books of all time In 1950, when no mountain taller than 8,000 meters had ever been climbed, Maurice Herzog led an expedition of French climbers to the summit of an 8,075-meter (26,493-foot) Himalayan peak called Annapurna. The route up Annapurna had never been charted, and Herzog and his team had to locate the mountain using crude maps, pick out a possible line of ascent, and go for the summit. Annapurna is the unforgettable account of this heroic climb and its harrowing aftermath, including a nightmare descent while suffering from frostbite and snow blindness. Herzog's masterful narrative is one of the great mountain-adventure stories of all time. This new edition―which commemorates the sixtieth anniversary of the Annapurna ascent on June 3, 1950―features a new foreword by Conrad Anker.See all Product Description
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Annapurna is 278 pages of great adventure and lots of action. No boring parts. I read it in 3 days.
Here's a tidbit of the book to wet your appetite.
A group of some of the greatest mountain climbers is assembled with a great doctor/surgeon Oudot, and support people for the expedition. Local loyal helpers/guides called Sherpas and Coolies to help carry the heavy loads are hired. The leaders Sahibs have as their expedition leader Maurice Herzog. Herzog is seen as brave but sensibly cautious and uses lots of scouting of different routes. A higher mountain was originally thought OK to climb but it is found too dangerous at this time. Scouting more through glaciers around impassable ridges , a hidden valley a route to Annapurna is found. Already they are experiencing bad weather and are in a race with time as Monsoon rains are coming soon. Some routes are found to be no good. Lots of dangers, crevasses, and avalanches. Five ascending camps are set up. The expedition is rapidly breaking down due to health problems.
Herzog and Louise Lachenal make it to the top. All expedition members helped and team work was great. A lot of unselfish people. However Herzog loses his gloves and develops frostbite of the fingers and toes. Lachenal has frostbite of the toes and heal. Some of the others have snow blindness and injuries. The expedition physically is a mess They must hurry to a lower camp for the doctor Oudot to try to save them. Gangrene has set in. Toes and fingers must be amputated.
There is a great chapter of the expedition's passage from Nepal to India and meeting the Maharajah in his palace.
I won't say too much more and ruin the book for you.
Anyone loving true adventure stories and human endurance against incredible obstacles will love this book. This book was the one that many great climbers got their inspiration from. 5 stars and proudly added to our family library.
Herzog's books make the events exciting, and are clear and it is also easy to follow technical action (how bodies and equipment are twisting and moving on the mountains. And Herzog especially is very epic.
Annapurna is a really incredible book. A good place to start if you want: a good read, to be introduced to mountain climbing, to be introduced to mountain climbing history (Herzog was an important early climber), to know more about climbing.
Herzog's reputation has become somewhat tarnished in recent years. He apparently forced all the other expedition members to sign a contract that granted him full leadership of the expedition, along with rights to publish any and all accounts of the trip for five years following their return. Moreover his iron handed leadership caused near crippling discord within the team.
Nonetheless, Annapurna remains one of the most gripping and inspiring accounts of Himalayan climbing, and is an essential addition to the library of any fan of mountaineering.
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