I can still remember, when I saw the first light of the day on the East side of Annapurna. We were shivering from the cold breeze but we were miles away horizontally and vertically from this graceful mountain…
Maurice Herzog who was a French mountaineer led an expedition that first climbed a peak over 8000m, Annapurna, in 1950, and reached the summit with Louis Lachenal. Upon his return, he wrote a best-selling book about the expedition. Trough his book we can understand the force of elements and how catered we are.
“The pair duly marched on, Herzog almost in a hypnotic trance, carried by religious visions until the moment came when they stood on the summit and the euphoria was complete. “Never had I felt happiness like this — so intense and yet so pure,” Herzog wrote. He pulled out the “sweat-soaked” tricolor and posed for the photograph that would guarantee his fame – a photo that would later be credited to Herzog, as if he had reached the summit and set up the camera alone.
”If I go back,” he asked Herzog, ”what will you do?”
”I should go on by myself,” Herzog replied.
Lachenal, aware of their need to retreat, fought to snap Herzog from his stupor. The pair then made an epic descent that included a bivouac in a crevasse. Having lost his gloves, Herzog returned with hands as white and solid as wood. Their team-mates Gaston Rébuffat and Lionel Terray whipped his hands with rope ends in a futile attempt to restore circulation; they would later be amputated in the field by the expedition doctor, Jacques Oudot. Herzog did not spare his readers: “Beyond my wrists and ankles I could feel nothing,” he recounted. “My hands were in a terrible state. There was hardly any skin, and what was left was black…”
David Klein reached the summit of Annapurna (8091) as a first Hungarian mountaineer on May 01, 2016. – Congratulations David!
“there are other Annapurnas in the lives of men” – Maurice Herzog