Herzog who was born in the town of Lyon on the 15th of January 1919 developed a love for the mountains at his families chalet in Chamonix France. Maurice served as a rifleman during the war and as an executive post war. It wasn’t until Annapurna that Maurice Herzog became a house hold name.
The expedition in 1950 originally targeted Dhaulagiri, and a great deal of time was spent trying to find a route up the mountain. When it became apparent that this mountain would not be climbed the team switched their objective to Annapurna. The route to the base of the mountain still needed to be found, a suitable climbing route and stocking the route all needed to be done before the upcoming monsoon season.
In a testament to organisation and the skill they pulled off the climb and at around 2pm on june 3 1950 they reached the top. During the ascent and descent Herzog and Lachenal suffered frostbite to their hands and feet. Their repatriation to France took 6 weeks of painful travel.
Herzog wrote the book Annapurna after his return, which has sold over 11 million copies. Ed Viesturs, a famous American mountaineer and the first american to climb all 14 of the 8000m peaks without oxygen cites Herzog’s Annapurna as one of the reasons he got started in mountaineering.
To put the effort of the 1950 climb in perspective, Annapurna repels many climbing team each year and is known as one of the most dangerous 8000m peaks. Viesturs himself took three attempts to climb the mountain and doubted that the peak was inside his level of acceptable risk.
Herzog passed away on the 13th of December 2012 after leading a long and full life