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Maurice Herzog nous a quitté

 

Aujourd’hui, le 14 décembre 2012, les nouvelles nous ont secoués en nous apprenant la disparition de Maurice Herzog à l’âge de 93 ans.

Maurice Herzog - Paris

Maurice n’était peut-être pas autant connu du public que Reinhold Messner, mais dans le milieu alpin il était, et reste, un remarquable pionnier, en bravant le premier 8000 le 03 juin 1950, accompagné de Louis Lachenal : L’Annapurna 1 qui culmine à 8091m situé au Népal.

Maurice Herzog au sommet de l'Annapurna 1950

L’Annapurna 1 est considéré comme étant le plus dangereux des 14 8000m. L’accès nord et la route originale n’est pas si technique mais les avalanches y sont EXTREMEMENT fréquentes.

Annapurna North-West-Face - (c) www.ralf-dujmovits.de

Maurice et Louis avaient organisé une expédition complète, quittant la France pour braver le premier 8000 et ce en une seule saison. Jusqu’à eux, tous ceux qui avaient tenté de gravir un 8000 auparavant l’avaient fait en utilisant une approche plus longue, plus lourde et s’étalant sur plusieurs saisons; Maurice et Louis ont introduit le premier « short and fast » de l’histoire alpine, et ils sont devenus les premiers humains à fouler un sommet de plus de 8000m.

Conquistadors of the Useless - Louis Lachenal and Lionel Terray After Annapurna North Face Descent 1950

Mais leur performance est encore plus remarquable si l’on se souvient qu’ils ont gravit ce sommet sans oxygène – un point qui doit être souligné.
L’alpinisme, c’est d’abord de tirer des leçons, d’apprendre des expériences : cette expédition sans oxygène en haute altitude a eu un prix, Maurice et Louis ont tous les deux sous-estimé les combinaisons du froid extrême et de l’absence d’oxygène, oxygène nécessaire pour faire “carburer la machine“. Utilisant aussi un équipement léger (gants et chaussons), les deux alpinistes ont dû être amputés en urgence de leurs doigts et de leurs orteils dès leur retour au BC.

True Summit - Lionel Terray carrying Louis Lachenal from airplane on return from Annapurna 1950

En mois d’un mois, la communauté alpine française est endeuillée par la perte de deux de leurs icônes : Maurice Herzog et Patrick Edlinger (le 16 novembre 2012).

 

Maurice Herzog Patrick Edlinger

Repose en Paix

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Maurice Herzog passes away

 

Today Friday December 14, the news broke out that Maurice Herzog has passed away at the age of 93.

Maurice Herzog - Paris

Maurice may not be as well known to the public as Reinhold Messner, however in the climbing community he was and remains a remarkable pioneer, by climbing the first 8000 peak 03.06.1950 accompanied by Louis Lachenal: The 8091m (26.545ft) high Annapurna 1 located in Nepal.

Maurice Herzog au sommet de l'Annapurna 1950
The Annapurna 1 is considered the most dangerous of the 14 8000m peaks. The north and its original route is not that technical but EXTREMELY avalanche prone.

Annapurna North-West-Face - (c) www.ralf-dujmovits.de

Maurice and Louis organized a full expedition, leaving France to attempt the first 8000m peak and in one season. Up untill then, all attempts to summit a 8000 was using a tactics of expeditions longer than one season. Maurice and Louis introduced the first “short and fast” 8000m peak, and summited to become the first humans on a summit over 8000m.

Conquistadors of the Useless - Louis Lachenal and Lionel Terray After Annapurna North Face Descent 1950
But even more remarkable, Maurice and Louis climbed Annapurna 1 “Non Ox” – a point that has to be underlined.
Alpinism is often learning the lesson the hard way: With no experience with non-ox high altitude climbing, both Maurice and Louis underestimated the combination of extreme cold combined with only little oxygen available to “fuel the fire”. Using too light equipment (booths and gloves) both of the climbers had fingers and toes amputated  urgently in the field, at their return to BC.

True Summit - Lionel Terray carrying Louis Lachenal from airplane on return from Annapurna 1950

In less than a month, the French climbing community have lost to historical icons: Maurice Herzog and Patrick Edlinger (November 16th).

 

Maurice Herzog Patrick Edlinger

Rest in peace!

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Ms Oh Eun Sun’s way to the 14 8000m peaks | ISPO WINTER 2012

Ms Oh Eun Sun’s way to the 14 8000m peaks | ISPO WINTER 2012

07.17.1997: Gasherbrun II 8.035m.
05.20.2004:  Everest 8.848m (Supplemental Ox).
10.13.2006: Shishapangma 8.046m.
05.08.2007: Cho Oyu 8.201m.
07.20.2007: K2 8.611m ( Supplemental Ox).
05.13.2008: Makalu 8.463m.
05.26.2008: Lhotse 8.516m.
07.31.2008: Broad Peak 8.047m.
10.12.2008: Manaslu 8.163m.
05.06.2009: Kangchenjunga 8.563m.
05.21.2009: Dhaulagiri 8.167m.
07.11.2009: Nanga Parbat 8.126m.
08.03.2009: Gasherbrun I 8.068m.
04.27.2010: Annapurna 8.091m.

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The 14 peaks over 8000 meters

Only 14 peaks in the world raise up over 8000m into what today is known as “the dead zone”. All are situated in the Himalaya range spread over countries like: Nepal, India, Pakistan and Tibet.

THE WORLD'S HIGHEST PEAKS

The beginning

The first expedition to set foot on a 8000m peak was achieved by a French expedition in June 3th 1950, when the guide Louis Lachenal from Annecy together with Maurice Herzog from Lyon, set foot on the summit of Annapurna. As a first time ever achievement, Lachenal and Herzog climbed the dangerous peak of 8091m without the use of supplemental oxygen. A big French success, as just the logistic problems transporting the gear and equipment from France to Nepal in 1950, was a major and expensive obstacle, to what you can add climbing up into unknown conditions. Maurice Herzog was the first to reach the summit, followed closely by Louis Lachenal, though reaching the summit, and especially without the use of supplemental oxygen, they were forced to pay the price:  Herzog’s decision to opt for lighter boots, and the loss of his gloves near the summit allowed frostbite to set in quickly, resulting in extensive amputations on both hands and both feet.

Maurice Herzog Annapurna Maurice Herzog

What makes the French expedition to Annapurna special is not only the fact that it was the first 8000+ meter peak climbed, it was also the first that was scouted and climbed entirely in one climbing season, a feat not easily repeated, especially in the golden era of mountaineering.

Since Annapurna in 1950, Climbers have learned from the experiences made, and what was in the beginning heavy National expeditions, are now light international “low budget” expeditions. At the end of 2011, only 24 people have climbed all 14 8000, and the latest to join “the club” is Japanese climber Hirotaka Takeushi, who summited his last 8000m peak: Dhaulagiri May 26th at 05:30PM local time.

Alpinism is often infused with the fundamental question of puritanism. In this spirit, climbs being made without the use of supplemental oxygen, nor porters and hence in alpine style, are regarded as the ultimate human engagement confronted with a 8000. And in this game, there are only a small club left of 13 climbers in the world, having completed this achievement.

 

Continue reading “The 14 peaks over 8000 meters” »

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