Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Forging the map

Like the introduction said, I cannot believe how well this historical account reads.  This book feels much more like a fictional piece than actual life experiences with the ease at which the words flow and well paced plot.  Annapurna truly is a great story.  This is the fist piece that I have read that actually recounts in great detail the slow, laborious, and dangerous process of breaking unchartered ground.  I feel that this story exemplifies what every modern day adventure tries to emulate now that there is little in the world that remains unexplored.  The search and discovery for something truly novel, even at the personal level, is one of the greatest reasons for adventure, if not the underlying one.

Personally, I cannot begin to know how difficult and terrifying an attempt on an unclimbed mountain would be.  There would simply be too much room for error for me to process and too little established knowledge to rely on.  The fact that they discovered entire geographical features (the Hidden Valley) to find a route to Dhualahgiri is simply astounding.  The faith that Herzog put in all of his companions and the trust that they returned to him seemed to me like the relationship a military commander has with his soldiers.  Though they were almost literally flying blind, they kept putting one foot in front of the next and forged on.  My favorite chapter so far is "Council of War" in that it shows the full extent of the faith and trust that these men had towards each other.  In such a high stress environment it would be all too easy for the party to have an irreparable fallout before the serious climbing even began.  From the sherpas to Herzog himself, the determination to succeed in their mission was truly something special.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more with this. I too was impressed by the fact that the group of adventurers keep together in a world where things could go so wrong, so quickly. I like the point you raise about making new discoveries, even just at a personal level. It makes me think of Krakauer: if he had intended from the start to climb the route of Devil's Thumb that was already known, he may have had the epiphany-esque experience he was hoping for. Instead he was too preoccupied with doing something entirely new, and didn't acknowledge that his own personal accomplishments could have been just as rewarding.