Famed French Mountaineer Dies at 93

December 17, 2012

Maurice Herzog, a Frenchman who was the first Westerner to summit an 8,000-meter peak, died Friday at the age of 93. In 1950, he climbed Annapurna I (26,545 ft) and shortly thereafter became a household name as an alpinist and adventurer.

Herzog was a pioneer. A man undeterred by extreme physical hardship.On the Annapurna climb, he lost everyone of his fingers and toes to frostbite.

His book “Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak” is considered by many to be the best mountaineering book ever written. National Geographic Adventure magazine called it the most influential mountaineering book of all time, and National Geographic named it #6 of the 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time.

Herzog was also a smart man. He required both his climbing companions on Annapurna to agree not to publish anything about the ascent for five years. That move alone may have entrenched Herzog into mountaineering and adventure history. It was later revealed that Herzog edited his companions’ stories to jive with his own version of the climb.

He was also a natural leader, and later in life was a man of politics. He served as the mayor of Chamonix, France–the beautiful birthplace of extreme skiing in the French Alps–from 1968 to 1977.

Via: The New York Times

–Will Grant

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