Annapurna: The First Conquest Of An 8,000-Meter Peak

by Maurice Herzog

Hardcover, 1952

Call number




E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc. (1952), Edition: First Edition, 208 pages


Annapurna is the unforgettable account of this heroic climb and of its harrowing aftermath, including a nightmare descent of frostbite, snow blindness, and near death.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Daniel.Estes
The tale of the first ascent of Annapurna in the Himalayan mountains is as classic as it is fraught with problems. The journey took place in mid-1950 by a team of skilled Frenchmen led by Maurice Herzog who was the expedition leader, and climbing Annapurna would be the first 8,000 meter summit in history and therefore the highest peak reached to date. (Note: Mount Everest would not be summited until 1953 - three years later.)

The account is told from the perspective of the leader and the book's author, Herzog, and details the often routine and dangerous life of mountaineering pioneers in the mid-20th century. Their first objective was to scout out and attempt to scale another eight-thousander, Dhaulagiri, which stood at 8,167 meters. When that mountain proved too difficult and their time running out ahead of the monsoon season, they chose Annapurna, which stood equally formidable at 8,091 meters. Once the team located the best path up the mountain they hurriedly set about establishing the camps and making progress. The summit would be theirs, but not without considerable cost to their health and parts of their bodies succumbing to frostbite. The journey down would be agonizing for those in dire need and most affected by the elements.

My first problem with this book is the writing. Part of that is probably because it's been translated from French fifty years ago and part is probably because I am not a mountaineer and Annapurna was written by one. This story is for those who understand the heart of a climber; others will find it particularly self-absorbed. Another problem with this account, according to other reviewers, is that it is somewhat propaganda and not a true telling of what really happened. Herzog and Lachenal did reach the summit, but not necessarily in the heroic manner depicted in this book.

Annapurna is classic reading in the mountaineering genre, but that's probably because it was one of the first of its kind. It's status represents what it stands for and not what it says.
… (more)
LibraryThing member ianw
A well told story of Herzog's epic ascent of Annapurna (and his even more epic descent).
LibraryThing member RoaldEuller
Utterly riveted, I stayed up until the wee hours reading this when I was about 15 years old. It sparked a lifelong interest in mountaineering books.
LibraryThing member cwflatt
One of the greatest early mountaineering adventures. Wonderful to story of brave and accomplishment at the top of the world
LibraryThing member TinaKady
Illustrations in color and monochrome-gravure; foldout map at end
LibraryThing member encephalical
Coming down was a more interesting story than going up.
LibraryThing member krazy4katz
Although not terribly well-written (or translated?), this is an absorbing account of trying to climb an 8,000 meter mountain with poor maps and uncertain provisions. First they had to decide which mountain to climb! Eventually, after much scouting, they selected Annapurna, but they really had no idea what would happen once they came nearer to their goal. They could only guess. Herzog makes it sound like they had a very well organized group with different skills (including a physician), which probably saved them from death. The rapid approach of monsoon season was also a great concern. Overall, an exciting account of an amazing adventure.… (more)


Page: 0.5353 seconds