The French climber Maurice Herzog, who climbed Annapurna in June 1950, died yesterday at age 93. Herzog and Louis Lachenal summited 26,545-foot (8,091-meter) Annapurna in Nepal, the 10th-highest mountain in the world, on June 3, 1950, becoming the first people ever to climb an 8,000-meter peak. Both men suffered serious frostbite, losing numerous digits.
Herzog’s book about the expedition was a classic and became one of the best-selling mountaineering books in history. However, details of the account were later challenged, with historians arguing that Herzog didn’t give nearly enough credit credit to his teammates, including Lachenal and the great French climbers Lionel Terray and Gaston Rebuffat. Following the expedition, Herzog became a major public figure in France, serving as a minister of sport, mayor of Chamonix, and a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Date of death: December 13, 2012