Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage

Hermann Buhl’s momentous ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1953 (after Annapurna and Everest, the third 8000m peak to be climbed) set an agenda for adventurous mountaineers that inspires to this day. Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage, published after his historic first ascent, fired the imagination of a generation of climbers. The book’s closing moments, the account of his prolonged summit climb, still thrills with its single-minded commitment and total loneliness. Since its first UK publication in 1956 this has been considered one of the great inspirational classics – the book that galvanized generations of ambitious alpinists. Buhl’s swashbuckling alpine career and his epic solo completion of the first ascent of Nanga Parbat are regarded as seminal events. His adventures on alpine and dolomite climbs were related with such passion and enthusiasm that it proved irresistibly inspiring. Latterly it is thought that Kurt Maix’s editing (which Buhl might well have approved) contrived to adapt Buhl’s original account into something far more heroic and erudite than would have been natural for a young climber. Sadly Buhl was unable to play a prolonged part in the saga he had instigated. After the Broad Peak climb, while decending from an attempt on Chogolisa, he died in a cornice accident. This book, and the vivid memory of his climbs, is a reminder of a climbing icon whose example resonates through the ages, inspiring climbers to this day.