Hermann Buhl: Climbing Without Compromise

Hermann Buhl: Climbing Without Compromise

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Hermann Buhl -- the first man to stand atop Nanga Parbat, and legendary for his will to push himself to the last -- was the mountaineer of the 1950s. His account, Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage, has inspired generations of climbers. Yet that classic, shaped and romanticized by a collaborator, does not reveal the man Buhl really was. Now celebrated mountaineer Reinhold Messner and journalist Horst Hofler publish Buhl in his own words, pure and unadorned, in Hermann Buhl: Climbing without Compromise.

Drawing text from Buhl's original climbing diaries, journals, and articles written for mountaineering publications of his time, Messner and Hofler present a portrait of the whole man-strong -- willed, creative, and fragile. A loner, rough-edged in his relations with fellow climbers, Buhl took opposition and disagreements heavily to heart. He was demanding as a father, yet he often sang for his young daughters. Though intense and always pushing his limits on the mountain, he displayed a subtle sense of humor in his journals.

Climbing without Compromise also reveals Buhl as an astonishingly modern mountaineer. Indeed, Buhl was a pioneer looking to the future. Buhl lived, above all, for and through his climbing, at a time when no one dreamed about making a living through top alpine achievements. The Buhl Crack on the Cima Canali demonstrates his style as a free climber; his ascent of Broad Peak gives us a glimpse of the super-alpinism of the future. Had Hermann Buhl been born 40 years later, writes Messner, he would surely have been one of the leading sport climbers, and a classic mountaineer without equal. But the whirlwind of energy that was Hermann Buhl was not destined to live a long life. When a cornice collapsed beneath him on Chogolisa, Buhl became instead a tragic hero of the 20th century.

  • Co-author Reinhold Messner is himself a legendary climber deeply influenced by Buhl's accomplishments
  • Draws upon previously unpublished resources and interviews with family and friends
  • Buhl wrote the classic Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage