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Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak
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Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  3,597 ratings  ·  141 reviews
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.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 18th 2010 by Lyons Press (first published 1951)
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Well written but pretty self-aggrandizing account of the 1st summit of 8,000 m peak.

On the one hand it's cool to read about how they did things 60 years ago - starting with finding the actual mountain! Since no 8,000 m peak had ever been climbed (this was 3 yrs before Hillary/Tenzing on Everest) nothing was a given including what face to assault and how to actually get there in the first place!

Later learned Herzog forced all other members of his party to sign waivers to NOT write personal accoun
I love mountaineering and this is the king of mountaineering books. The story of the first 8000 meter mountain to be climbed. The first to be climbed on the first try. Yet, Annapurna still remains the most difficult mountain on Earth to climb. Maurice Herzog's team of French mountaineers suffered greatly for claiming Annapurna's summit, but in the end all I could say is, "They just don't build men like they used to." This crew of post-colonialism adventurers bit off more than they could handled, ...more
Ann Carpenter
This was one of the first adult books I read as a child about 60 yrs ago. I still remember how much I loved it. I have recommended it to a couple of my grandchildren as a reminder that there will be many challenges in life, most conquerable with determination.
I'm torn between one star and five. Five star for the high adventure, one star for how the the expedition team treated the locals. This book gives account of 1950 French expedition to Annapurna, where they have to actually locate the mountain first before climbing it. The book itself is a page turner, I practically finished the last half or more in one sitting. While all these are fine and dandy, what is NOT okay is to force, yes, literally force the villagers to work as porters, take the load o ...more
At long last I've read the "granddaddy" of mountaineering first-person accounts, and it is still a nerve-wracking adventure story more than sixty years later. From being "lost" between two of the iconic 14 peaks of the Himalaya with totally mistaken maps, to the intuitions and skills that would plot a route, to the supreme efforts to haul supplies, to the beauty and glory of the summit achievement, to the excruciating details of the descent and retreat from the mountains, this book has it all. T ...more
I'm not a climber -- I'm a tea shop trekker. I've trekked - walked - in approx 50 of Nepal's 75 districts. I love any trek where I know there's a tea shop at least every couple of hours, and some place for a hot meal and a dry bed at the end of the day. Ice picks and crampons are not my thing. That being said, I enjoyed this book immensely. Even if your interest is more about Nepal more than the climbing, I'd recommend this book. It provides a pretty rare look into the Nepal of 1950, that is to ...more
Recently, I ordered a book from Flipkart "Annapurna, The first conquest of an 8000-meter peak". It was first written in French by Maurice Herzog, and then later it was translated into English.

Maurice Herzog, was a French mountaineer who became the first man to climb an 8000-meter mountain, Annapurna, which is the 10th highest mountain in the world.

I ordered the book on the same day that Maurice Herzog had died.

This is my first attempt at writing a book-review and I hope I don't give away the b
Annapurna is subtitled First Conquest of an 8000-Meter Peak and is the account of the 1950 French Himalayan Expedition. The first two-thirds of the book alternated between interesting information and slow going as the expedition was organized and arrived at the base camp. But the final third of the book was so gripping that I read it at one sitting.
This story is of a true heroic mountaineering expedition. The conquest of Annapurna, while shadowed by that of the Everest, doesn't command much lower respect, given the harsh treatment meted out to the heroic mountaineers.

Starting from the immaculate arrangements of a large scale expedition, to the strategic moves of exploration within a given time limit, the book initially talks only about how Maurice and his gang slowly discovered and decided the routes and plans. It seemed to take ages, but
Took about half the book to get into it but then it became interesting

I found Annapurna to be a bit of a slog to read for a classic adventure novel. The main reason for this was because the first half of the novel, involving the logistics and how they got to the base of Annapurna, were somewhat uninteresting for me. A lot of the route planning, described by Herzog uses jargon that non-climbers like myself may find difficult to comprehend.

Having said this, once the team does get to Annapurna and
Jun 08, 2012 Andy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: travel
I read this a few years back and thought I had reviewed it here but it seems not. I don't recall reading it before I went to Nepal in 2005 but maybe I did. Anyway.

Annapurna is a fantastic account by Herzog of the first 8000m mountain climbed, perfectly encapsulating the experience of high altitude climbing and the mindset of those who do. It starts off a little dry and boring as they plan and wander through the foothills though having spent a fair time in Nepal, particularly around the Annapurna
Miss GP
Annapurna reminded me of Three Cups of Tea, in that it was a great story that could have been better written. Herzog's recount of his ordeal in Nepal is remarkable for being a first-hand account of an amazing adventure that he and his party barely survived, but I found it lacking somehow. I'm not sure if it was missing the dramatic tension I expected, or perhaps the level of emotion Herzog had to have been experiencing wasn't relayed to the extent expected... I'm not quite sure. I was glad I rea ...more
This is a fabulous book and thrilling read. For some reason I always want to read high altitude mountaineering books in July! Herzog is admirable in many ways, but I can't help but notice the macho arrogance and patriarchy of the men who speak of "conquering" and "attacking" this magnificent natural geleologic wonder with"assaults" on this mountain whose name means"Goddess of the Harvest". They continuously gravelly risked the lives of many many others to bring them down from the mountain after ...more
Historic Account of the First Successful Summit of Annapurna

The French climbing team led by Maurice Herzog that successfully submitted Annapurna, the second highest peak in the world, in 1952 paid a price for reaching their goal. This highly readable account written by Herzog provides an in-depth look at the team, the mountain and the tremendous effort required to accomplish something no one else had done at that point. I could almost feel the biting wind and the unimaginable cold and lack of ox
This was not Into Thin Air but it was a pretty amazing book. These days there are ropes fixed in place, ladders over crevasses, professional guides and satellite phones, and of course bottled oxygen. When Herzog explored the Himalayas his team had no idea if they could even find a way up the mountains. The first third of the book is a bit tedious, and in places it is offensive (they literally kidnap natives to haul their gear out but then describe them as grateful after they were paid) but the a ...more
Marsha Altman
A classic of Alpine climbing literature that hasn't aged well. It was written in 1950 by the first person to climb Annapurna in a first-person narrative, almost novel quality, with a lot of reconstructed dialogue. The racism and xenophobia of the times comes out a lot in the text, and the actual climbing segment of it is confusing in its orientation. The beginning and end are much better than the middle, when they're not even sure which mountain to climb. Still, the notes on life in Nepal and Ti ...more
There is a certain matter-of-factness that accompanies these sorts of accounts. Like, no completely sane person would choose to literally risk life and limb for the right to say, "I did that!" The ones who do, and succeed, are inevitably a very specific mix of skilled, ambitious, and very, very lucky. Or maybe not so lucky, hard to say. The pacing in this and the magnitude of what needed to be done to summit Annapurna really speak to the amount of preparation and technical skill that the team ha ...more
Feb 25, 2013 Bookguide rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mountaineers, walkers, lovers of adventure stories
I'm a walker rather than a climber, but I enjoy reading mountaineering books and my husband collects them, not particularly actively, but it means we have a couple of shelves of mountaineering books at home. One of the oldest we have is 'Annapurna', and that's what makes it so interesting. Modern professional mountaineers climb with high-tech equipment and clothing, and the world has been extensively mapped by satellite, and GPS and satellite phones take out some of the guesswork and reduce the ...more
Moving slowly at first, it shows how in 1950, the kingdom of Nepal was rather unknown by western cultures. Three months of scouting and preparations had to be done for the success of the expedition. The anecdotes of the porters, sherpas, and coolies are enjoyable. The final few chapters are the most captivating with tragic thrill.
Favorite passages include: starting on the bottom of pg. 34 through the middle of 35, an account of pure cultural festivity is detailed. On pg 276: "I looked death str
A well-written and detailed account of the first ever successful summit of an 8,000 meter mountain. Herzog writes quite well, and the immensity of their accomplishment is fascinating. Herzog’s enthusiasm for climbing and his spiritual fascination with the mountains really shine through in his account, as well as his deep reliance on and respect for the other members of his team and the sherpas and coolies who accompanied them. It is a good read for anyone who is interested in mountain adventure ...more
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Mar 08, 2012 josh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mountaineers, climbers, trekkers, adventurers, outdoors people, etc.
Recommended to josh by: via ed viesturs's annapurna book
how very different from the mountaineering accounts of ed viesturs i've recently read. although i had some idea of what to expect based on viesturs's telling of his research on the french expedition in his Annapurna book, i felt more than a little bit of shock throughout portions of the book.

mountaineering has certainly changed over the years. the frech expedition faced a great number of both 'known-unknowns' as well as 'unknown-unknowns', many due to poor maps, unexplored remote locales, langu
This book is considered a mountaineering classic. Long before modern high-tech took over issues related to climbing and its fears, mountaineers used to climb as Herzog and his team did in climbing to the top of Mt.Annapurna. This was 1950 and Annapurna was the highest mountain to be climbed then. The route was not known and so Herzog and his team not only had to climb to the top but had to find the route on the way as well. It is a gripping account of success, team work, avalanches, frost-bites ...more
Stan McCown
Jun 22, 2013 Stan McCown rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain in the world. In 1950, although Everest had been attempted several times without success, climbers from outside Europe were only beginning to explore other Himalayan ranges and individual mountains for the purpose of climbing them. A group of veteran French climbers under the leadership of Alpine guide Maurice Herzog approached the Himalayas east of Everest with the intention of climbing one of the less well known, but potentially more difficult peaks in t
The story is remarkable, but unfortunately Maurice Herzog was not a particularly good story teller. The excruciating detail with which up to the most insignificant act is described, specially in the first part of the book, could have been avoided.

Things improve as the story approaches the moment the summit is reached, and when the early hours of the tragic descent are described. But shortly after, the narration starts to fall apart again.

Everything is written in a factual, almost mechanical styl
Sundeep Supertramp

The expedition of 8 French people, started to conquer 2 "Eight THousander" - Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.

The first half of the book deals with the ridges and reconnaissance in search for the route to summit of DHAULAGIRI. After a lot of effort and time, they will learn that DHAULAGIRI is inaccesible...

Now the quest to the summit of ANNAPURNA starts. 3 ridges (routes) to the summit are proved fatal and dangerous. But at last one ridge is discovered b
First person account of the French Expedition's leader Maurice Herzog. I'm not going to get into the Herzog controversy as it's not all that relevant to the read itself.

This was the first successful ascent of an 8,000 meter peak. Remarkable feat going against stacked odds: Lack of time with the monsoon season approaching, lack of accurate maps of nearby regions as well as landmarks, and lack of communication technology as well as high-tech clothing and protection. Annapurna is considered one of
Just downloaded the epub version for my Nook. This will add to the list of titles I have read which have been set in the highest places of the world. A little obsessed? Yes, probably...

Wow, this has got to be one of my favorite mountaineering story; amazing! First of all, it took weeks to even find the mountain; the maps for the region were inaccurate. Annapurna is considered one of the most difficult of the 8000 meter peaks. The success rate is low, and the death rate high. Thousands have summi
Gunjan Juyal
An amazing account of the expedition that starts with its planning in France and takes us through its innocuous start from India, the essential although occasionally frustration exploration, the assault, a glimpse of the ultimate end and the subsequent painful retreat. The last bit is filled with a graphic account of the surgeries that were performed on field that would have been much more disturbing but for the upbeat mood brought by success and the realization of returning from the edge.

Kelty Walker
Beautifully written and dangerously gripping. Whilst reading on the metro, I often caught myself breathless and shaky, as if hanging by rope and metal spikes driven into walls of ice over a forbiddingly beautiful abyss. This sharpness of imagery continued throughout the book, including accounts of frostbite and non-anesthesia amputations, for a well-balanced taste of the extreme lifestyle of mountaineering.

"For us the mountains had been a natural field of activity where, playing on the frontiers
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Herzog was a French alpinist most famously associated with the conquest of Annapurna in June 1950. This was the first 8000 metre peak to be climbed, a feat made more remarkable by the climbers' decision not to use supplemental oxygen during the climb. Although the climb was successful the descent became a two-week epic, from which Herzog narrowly escaped with his life.

Herzog's book of the expediti
More about Maurice Herzog...
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“Annapurna, to which we had gone emptyhanded, was a treasure on which we should live the rest of our days. With this realization we turn the page: a new life begins.

There are other Annapurnas in the lives of men.”
“I felt as though I were plunging into something new and quite abnormal. I had the strangest and most vivid impressions, such as I had never before known in the mountains. There was something unnatural in the way I saw Lachenal and everything around us. I smiled to myself at the paltriness of our efforts, for I could stand apart and watch myself making these efforts. But all sense of exertion was gone, as though there were no longer any gravity. This diaphanous landscape, this quintessence of purity--these were not the mountains I knew: they were the mountains of my dreams (pp.206-207).” 3 likes
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