Monday, January 15, 2007

Annapurna


Maurice Herzog was born on this day in 1919 in Lyon, France.

Herzog led the first successful expedition on Annapurna in the Nepal Himalayas (June 3, 1950), at that time the first peak above 26,000 feet ever to be climbed successfully. Herzog paid dearly for his effort, however: as a storm approached, Herzog lingered on the summit, taking his gloves off to remove something from his pack, and watching in horror as the gloves blew away down the mountain -- a lifetime of manual dexterity suddenly observed as two distant, tiny dark specks hurtling down an unfriendly glacier. Herzog survived the snowstorm, but lost all his fingers to frostbite. He later served as France's minister of sport.

"Annapurna to which we had gone empty handed, was a treasure on which we should live for the rest of our days. With this realisation we turn a new page: a new life begins. There are other Annapurnas in the lives of men." -- M. Herzog.

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