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

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4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  5,201 Ratings  ·  202 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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Jonathan Ashleigh
Aug 16, 2016 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent
The writer or the translator described the events in this book in a way that made it not worth my time. I was astoundingly impressed with what was accomplished considering the technology they had, while smoking, but found myself scanning through pages that left a lot to be desired.
Steve
Apr 08, 2013 Steve rated it liked it
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
...more
Ann Carpenter
May 13, 2012 Ann Carpenter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Judd
Feb 23, 2012 Judd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Becky
The summit of Annapurna was a masterpiece of climbing, and the book is nothing short of a bible for enthusiasts… however, if you’re new to the genre I would still recommend Eiger Dreams by Krakauer. Its much more approachable and far less studied. Annapurna took a while to get off the ground both for the men tackling the rock and for the narrative. They had to find and scout the mountain, set up supply chains, and it was all very tedious, necessary and excruciating. The narrative suffered for it ...more
Daren
A readable telling of the first summiting of an 8000m mountain - a few years before Hillary climbed Everest with Tensing. It was the days of bare-footed porters, climbers smoking cigarettes at any given opportunity and Indian Survey maps which only vaguely resemble to actual lie of the land. In fact a chapter is devoted to wandering about attempting to locate Annapurna.
There is some controversy over whether the climb eventuate the way this book is told, where Herzog does takes a lot of the glory
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Dwight
Jan 11, 2008 Dwight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shucheta
Aug 15, 2015 Shucheta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
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
Vidula
Dec 30, 2012 Vidula rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
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
...more
Linda
Sep 03, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing
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
Dagny
Jul 20, 2012 Dagny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Bing Gordon
Jan 20, 2016 Bing Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bing-read-this
Terrific explicit details about expert mountaineering, from preparation and acclimation to handholds and set ropes. The interior monologue of the summiting experience rivals Beryl Markham at her best.
chucklesthescot
I have never climbed a mountain in my life-never really felt the urge to climb anything except the stairs in my house! But I do love reading about expeditions and this is without doubt one of the best. There is so much detail about getting ready for the trip, the trek to the mountains, the climb and then trying to trek back out. It really was a dramatic read.

It starts with the arrival in India and being held up at customs for two days as they are cheerfully told by staff 'Your equipment can all
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Vivek
Feb 05, 2013 Vivek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Andy
Jun 08, 2012 Andy rated it really liked it
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
...more
PDXReader
Mar 16, 2010 PDXReader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Laurent
Apr 13, 2013 Laurent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
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
...more
Sundeep Supertramp
Jul 27, 2011 Sundeep Supertramp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-kind
EXTEMELY GRIPPING READ... BEST MOUNTAINEERING BOOK

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
...more
Suzanne
Jul 26, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kyle Magin
As an adventure novel, Annapurna holds up. The pacing is mostly excellent, the descriptions of complex climbing techniques don't bog down the narrative and the dialogue is tense.
It falls down when read from a 2016 perspective. The casual racism toward the Sherpas and 'Coolies' is tough to read; Herzog comes off as super paternalistic. Also, the egos at play are funny at times and exhausting at others.
Dayna
Jan 06, 2017 Dayna rated it liked it
This is a bit of a slog until they get to Annapurna and start the summit. After that point, it becomes a gripping story. A large part of me finds it hard to believe such adventures are called a success when the only reason many of the French climbing team is alive is because Sherpas literally carried them down the mountain and then all the way to India (while the white men's digits were literally rotting off). In fact the two who sumitted would almost certainly have died. I don't think their Fre ...more
Danny Whatmough
Jan 06, 2017 Danny Whatmough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelf
This book has some incredible sketches, honestly they're ace and I kinda wish I could put some on my wall for decoration...

It's easy to see while reading it why it's regarded so high within the genre, and while in some ways it seems to have less details than other books I've read in other ways it definitely has more. Though I wonder if it's position is helped more by the topic than the quality of the writing.

At this time I'm putting my grievances about the book more down to personal fatigue than
...more
John Igo
Nov 26, 2016 John Igo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't have time to write a through summary but, this book was amazing.

It was a gripping story of working your ass off and paying a huge price to achieve something amazing. The writing was poetic, way more than I expected.

Read this book even if you're not a mountaineer, because it's not about mountaineering. It's about sacrifice to achieve something great told by way of a mountaineering story. The final line in the book sums up so much of life.
"There are other Annapurnas in the lives of men"
...more
Björn Bamse
Dec 21, 2016 Björn Bamse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flott bok for dem som interesserer seg for fjellsport. Herzog forteller spennende og med passe mange detaljer om førstebestigningen av Annapurna. Dette var første gangen toppen av et fjell på over 8.000 m ble besteget.

Ekspedisjonen anses som en stor suksess, selv om flere av deltakerne ble alvorlig skadd og diverse kroppsdeler måtte amputeres.
Carla
Dec 19, 2016 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

gripping...totally disagreed w/critics of herzog- thought his account gave due credit to all members of the team, and underscored the success of the ascent as a team effort...pretty incredible given their relatively unsophisticated gear, lack of knowledge of the geography of the himalaya at the time, the local customs, or experience climbing at 20K+ feet.
Steven
Nov 25, 2016 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arduous

In this day where modern technology is used profusely in adventure sports, it is hard to imagine a time when the first task in climbing a great mountain was to find the great mountain. This book takes you back to another time when the risk of great adventure was one's life.
Sabrina
Jan 03, 2017 Sabrina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Annapurna by Maurice Herzog is recount of Herzog's mission to be the first person to climb an 8000metre peak which was achieved on the 3rd of June in 1950. It describes his mission to first climb Dhaulagiri but then decided to climb Annapurna instead. Two of the French team managed to get to the summit of Annapurna and many experienced frostbite.
Ray Richard
Dec 17, 2016 Ray Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thrilling, dated story of the first ascent of Annapurna in the 1950s. Spellbinding description of courageous Sherpa guides and naive European mountaineers fuel the narrative. Great read for a cold snowy day.
Mandy Lampley
Dec 13, 2016 Mandy Lampley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very compelling read for any adventure enthusiast. Herzog puts his heart and soul into his writing just as his climbing.
Tomas Bella
First half of the book is very detailed and very boring. Second half is very detailed and quite nerve-racking.
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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
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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.”
10 likes
“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).” 4 likes
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