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Item #: OP106M-8635
ANNAPURNA FIRST CONQUEST OF AN 8000-METER PEAK [26,493 feet] Maurice Herzog 1953 2nd-5th US ed Hardcover No DJ [Not Signed] Multiple Copies Available
By Herzog, Maurice
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Detailed Product Description
New York, 1953, 2nd or 3rd , 4th or 5th US edition. 316 pages, b/w photos plus one color at frontispiece, fold-out map in color. Hardcover without a dust jacket. Very Good to Near Fine condition. (Not signed) No major flaws, may have previous owner's name on the endpaper. Translated from the French by Nea Morin and Janet Adam Smith. Introduction by Eric Shipton.

This is the best edition, and we will no longer offer the 1952 edition with 208 pages as it is edited and shortened by 108 pages. The 1952 edition has the map in the back-side of the dust jacket, while this edition has a larger fold-out map. Priced at only only $5, you can take the map out and frame it! No, the book police will not come after you. There are 10-15 million copies of Annapurna, so there will always be copies for collectors.
 
While Maurice Herzog was alive, we visited him many times in Paris and here in  the USA, and he autographed many copies of Annapurna for us. As he was in his 80s and 90s, we realized we could not wait until we had only perfect copies for him to autograph, so he signed many books that were without dust a jacket. For two decades we have been buying more copies in order to obtain dust jackets to place on the signed books we have. We now have a surplus of unsigned copies without dust jacket, and are pricing them very low. 
 
This is a longer description of the book: 
This is the gripping story of the first successful ascent of an 8000m peak. 
This was a major event in Himalayan mountain climbing history. They planned on climbing either Dhaulagiri which at 8,167 m (26,795 ft) is the seventh highest mountain in the world, or Annapurna at 8,091 m
(26,545 ft) is the tenth highest

This is an account of the 1950 French expedition to the Himalayas by its leader, Maurice Herzog and is a must read for anyone who is interested in high altitude climbing. There are 14 peaks over 8000 meters, or 26,247 feet. Eight are in Nepal, five are in Pakistan, and one is in Tibet. 
 
In the 1950s the Himalayas were largely uncharted and any maps which existed proved to be largely incorrect. This 1950 French expedition spent a large portion of their time in reconnaissance. Not only were they there to climb the mountain, they first had to find a way to get to it and then locate a route to the summit. Ultimately, they chose to climb Annapurna as they could not find the route to get close to Dhaulagiri. 

The climb took place without the sophisticated equipment or protective clothing available today. This was before Gore-tex and freeze-dried foods. This climb was made before Nepal or climbing the Himalayas became a major tourist attraction. The conditions for travelers were extremely primitive and difficult under the best of circumstances. All the peaks required a one to two week approach march. Nobody flew in or used helicopetrs are they do now.
 
When the expedition finally finds a route to Annapurna, the reader almost feels like cheering for them. When they start to climb, one senses that, in comparison to latter day expeditions, they were not savvy about the dangers one can encounter during a high altitude climb or the risks in doing it without supplemental oxygen and drinking a lot of fluids as they did. They were paving the way for others. The climb to the summit by Maurice Herzog and his partner, Louis Lachenal, is interesting, but they both suffered severe frostbite and their harrowing descent and return to civilization is riveting. 
 
They were fortunate enough to encounter two of their fellow climbers, Lionel Terray and Gaston Rebuffat, who were contemplating their own summit assault but instead chose to aid their comrades in their descent, foregoing their own quest for the summit. The travails which the climbers encountered on the descent would have finished off less hardy souls. 

Maurice Herzog famously lost his gloves during the descent and had no spare pair. One of climbers fell into a crevasse which, believe it or not, turned out to be a good thing. They were caught in an avalanche. They got lost in a storm. They became frostbitten and two of them were, ultimately, were forced to endure amputations. 

In the 1960s when I started winter camping and then climbing above the tree line in the Adirondacks and White Mountains of NH, we all knew the story of Herzog losing his gloves. We tied parachute cords to our mittens so they could not blow away, and we all carried extra gloves and socks. 
 
The medical treatment they received by the expedition doctor was almost primitive. The employed treatments for frostbite that have since fallen onto disrepute such excruciatingly painful arterial injections, and rubbing the frozen body parts with snow. The reader cannot help but feel pity for the suffering the injured climbers endured: maggot ridden flesh, amputations without anesthesia, and lack of proper medical care for a protracted period of time. 

When I shook the hand of Maurice Herzog, which I did several times, at first it was creepy as he had no fingers beyond the first joint. But it was also an affirmation of life, that people can overcome almost any tragedy they encounter, and unless you play the violin, you can lead a full life without your fingers.  
 

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