After a Pakistani military helicopter plucked stranded Slovenian super-alpinist Tomaz Humar from Nanga Parbat in 2005, detractors lambasted him for milking the rescue as a reality drama to draw millions of visitors to his Web site. But in November, Humar, 38, returned to the Himalayas and nabbed an astounding solo of the 26,040-foot east summit of Annapurna—with no media feed.
OUTSIDE: Were you unfairly criticized after Nanga Parbat?
HUMAR: Talk on the flat is cheap. In other words, when you're warm, at home.
So now you're back in a big way.
I haven't gone anywhere. The way other people look at it is not my problem.
How was Annapurna?
The hardest part was traversing the ridge on the descent. When night came, my headlamp batteries stopped working, so I waited on the ridge for moonlight. During intervals of strong wind, I was lying on the ground and moving only in the lulls. I had only a bivy sack, a small sleeping bag, two gas canisters, and food for a few days. I slept in a snow hole.
Why go solo?
I did it for my soul.