Maurice Herzog

Annapurna by Maurice Herzog - Annapurna First Ascent - Maurice Herzog On Annapurna Summit June 3, 1950June 3 1950 saw the first ascent of an 8000 meter peak, Annapurna in the Himalayas on an expedition lead by Maurice Herzog.

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

Reinhold Messner

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Reinhold Messner what more really needs to be said? a true icon and revolutionary in the climbing world, his feats are still something modern mountaineers seek to emulate and his philosophy changed the way man kind see the mountains.

Born on September 17 1944 Messner was introduced to climbing by his father at age five where he quickly developed a flair for the sport and being lucky enough to grow up in the Dolomite’s where he could refine his art he progressed quickly. From the age of 13 Messner was climbing difficult routes in the eastern Alps.

Messner became of the first people to climb in “Alpine Style” as opposed to the traditional method of climbing big mountain. Messner did away with the idea that climbing teams needed to stock a mountain with supplies and camps and employ Sherpa’s to carry loads up and down the mountain.

In 1970 Messner climber his first 8000m peak Nanga Parbat a peak that had already seen its fair share of tragedy and heart ache. This trip was no exception, as it was on this expedition that Messner lost his younger brother Gunther. Messner spent a considerable time looking for his brother on the mountain and as a result he suffered severe frostbite to his feet. the event has caused controversy over the years and still continues to do so. Not to be taken away is the feat of climbing Nanga Parbat’s southern wall for the first time.

On the 8th of May 1978 Messner along with long time climbing partner Peter Habeler climbed Everest without the use of oxygen canisters, the first to do so. Many people tried to convince them that it was a bad idea and that they would do themselves permanent damage if they tried.

Messner became the first person to “Close the loop” or climb all 14 mountains over 8000m in height. A feat that is still rare amongst mountaineers.

  • Everest                1978
  • K2                       1979
  • Kanchenjunga     1981
  • Lhotse                 1986
  • Makalu                1986
  • Cho Oyu              1983
  • Dhaulagiri 1         1985
  • Manaslu              1972
  • Nanga Parbat      1970
  • Annapurna 1       1985
  • Gasherbrum 1     1975
  • Broad Peak         1982
  • Gasherbrum 2     1984
  • Shishapangma    1981

Recently Messner has laid the final touches to the “Messner Mountain Museum” spread across various sites in the Alps.

In summary its fair to say that Messner is a remarkable man who has achieved more than most and continues to do so.

“After Messner, the mystery of possibility was gone;
there remained only the mystery of whether you could do it.”

– Ed Viesturs


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