Monday, February 3, 2014

Risk Associated with Herzog and Krakauer's Goals

Reading Annapurna I found myself questioning Maurice Herzog and the expedition’s decision making.  Throughout the book the expedition appears to place their goal of reaching the top above considerations of safety. It was difficult to relate to them valuing this goal beyond even their own personal safety.

This difference values is most clear in Maurice and Lachenal's decision to continue to the summit rather than turn around. Lachenal is clearly conscience of the risk of frostbite and attempts to raise these concerns to Maurice. Maurice writes that his “whole being revolted against the idea [of giving up].” His response to Lachenal’s concerns is to say that he would continue on alone. This choice goes beyond taking risks to blatantly disregarding safety.  This choice to disregard the risks had the anticipated consequences, being that both got frostbite.  

This seemed to differ from the Krakauer piece where Krakauer seemed to be cautious of the risks. Although Krakauer took risks while approaching the Devils Thumb, during the climb he was much more aware of the risks. This can be seen when he realizes that the ice he is climbing has become extremely thin and so turns around. This consideration of the risks and prioritization of safety seems to be a much more prudent and appropriate course of action to me.

I had a much easier time relating to Krakauer because he appeared more prudent in the way he approached his goals.  However, Krakauer’s goals were also more relatable. It is unclear if my ability to relate to Krakauer’s thought process verse Herzog’s is truly due to prudence or the scale and risk associated with their goals.

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