- Other Annapurnas
January 10, 2007
"There are other Annapurnas in the lives of men."
-Maurice Herzog, 1952
Eighty percent of the accidents and fatalities which
occur on Mount Everest take place after climbers reach
the summit. In other words, after achieving his goal,
a man sometimes lets down his guard and loses sight of
his own personal finish line. In the case of the world's
tallest mountain, a small percentage of climbers measure
success by merely trekking from Katmandu to base camp,
while others define any achievement short of standing
atop the world as a failure. In the case of climbing any
mountain, getting "there" and then safely returning so
that other mountains can be scaled is the only true
measure of a man's success.
I have a fascination with mountain climbing books and
have enjoyed reading many dozens of real-life accounts,
particularly the many different perspectives from nearly
every survivor of the ill-fated 1996 Everest
Last evening, I finished the best of the genre, Annapurna,
by Maurice Herzog, written in 1952. Rather than offer a full
book review at this time, let me say that Annapurna contains
one of the most powerful commentaries that I've ever read
in literature, and some of the most vivid scenes. "Getting
there" may be "half the fun," as people say, but coming down
to earth after achieving a goal becomes more than a challenge.
It is a blessing that often gives birth to a new commandment.
While I am still faced with many personal challenges
(recovering from one operation and facing two new ones),
the experience of reading and finishing last night's book
has helped me to recognize that I have additional
mountains to climb.
To contact me personally: i4crob@...