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Item #: OP193-8715
LONELY VICTORY Peter Habeler 1979 1st US ed DJ Hardcover Very Good-Fine Multiple Copies Available
By Habeler, Peter
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New York, 1979, 1st US edition. 224 pp, color and b/w photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Very Good to Fine condition.

The remarkable ascent of Everest by Messner and Habeler without oxygen set the style for applying Alpine style techniques to 8000 meter peak ascents. Messner says this book is the source of the dispute he had with Habeler for many years, as he claims it is inaccurate in some details, and that it was written by a ghost writer. For many years Messner did not like to sign this book. However, Habeler and Messner have overcome their differences and are now good friends.

On May 8, 1978, Peter Habeler and Reinhold Messner achieved a feat of human endurance unparalleled in history: they climbed to the summit of Mount Everest without the use of artificial oxygen. The story of their success, achieved in the face of almost unanimous medical and mountaineering opinion that to climb Everest without oxygen was to accept irreparable brain damage and perhaps death, is a breathtaking tale of adventure and willpower, in its own way as remarkable as Hillary's initial conquest of Everest. In The Lonely Victory Peter Habeler tells that story.

In spite of the warnings, Habeler and Messner were determined to renounce mountaineering as the elaborate technical exercise it had become and to reaffirm its original purpose as a thrilling confrontation between nature and human endurance. They wanted to take Everest on its own terms, driven by the same primeval instincts that have driven all explorers and adventurers.

In the restless days when storms confine them to the base camp and in the early stages of the ascent we come to understand the special relationship between the two climbers, men of almost opposite characters linked by a dream that has captured them. As the climb continues, the intense guilt and fear that have gnawed at Habeler suddenly break through: guilt that he may return to his wife and young child maimed and helpless; fear that the experts may have been right.

Members of the party lose their lives; others turn back; climbers suffer the deceptive and oftentimes fatal 'euphoria' of extended periods at high altitude; at one point there is fear that Messner has been blinded. But the beauty that surrounds them, the thrill, the determination, drives them on.

Finally there is the nightmarish assault on the summit. Rebuffed by a raging storm on their first attempt, the two men draw on their deepest reserves of energy as they crawl to the peak. They succeed, they embrace, they cry. But to spend more than minutes at the top is to assume brain damage. Habeler, his instinct to survive asserting itself, literally tumbles down the mountain, ironically coming closest to death immediately after his ultimate triumph. He has not conquered Everest, he says, Everest has merely tolerated him.

The Lonely victory is a tale of strength, determination and courage unlike any other; a story documented with the most stunning of photographs. Far more than the most spectacular mountain climbing story ever told, it is a tribute to the human spirit. 

Peter Habeler (born July 22nd 1942 in Mayrhofen, Austria) is an Austrian mountaineer. Among his accomplishments as a mountaineer are first ascents in the Rocky Mountains (first European to climb on the Big Walls in Yosemite National Park. After he started climbing with Reinhold Messner in 1969 several accomplishments in mountaineering followed. The most spectacular event was the first ascent without oxygen of Mount Everest in 1978 together with Messner, that had previously been held impossible. Other 8000m-mountains he has climbed are: Cho Oyu, Nanga Parbat, Kangchenjunga and Hidden Peak. He currently runs the Peter Habeler ski and mountaineering school in his home town of Mayrhofen, Austria.


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