French Mountaineer Maurice Herzog Dies

2224343822_c8528c15d7_bAnnapurna. Photo: BrewBooks/Flickr

French mountaineer Maurice Herzog, who led the first documented summit of an 8,000-meter peak, died in his sleep early on Friday, December 14. He was 93.

On June 3, 1950, Herzog and countryman Louis Lachenal reached the top of 26,545-foot Annapurna. The team climbed the world's 10th highest mountain, located in Nepal, without supplemental oxygen. On the way down, things did not go well. There was an avalanche and the climbers suffered frostbite. Lachenal lost his toes. Herzog lost all of his fingers and some toes. He dictated a book which has been placed at the top of at least one major adventure book top 10 list. His story, Annapurna, became the most popular climbing book of all time, selling more than 11 million copies, though later his telling of the climb was criticized. Before the expedition, he barred his three climbing companions—two others did not make the summit—from publishing about the attempt for five years. After Lachenal's death, Herzog edited his companion's expedition journal so that it jived with his telling of the tale.

Filed To: Adventure, Climbing

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