Hermann Buhl


Gone on this day, 1957.06.27; Hermann Buhl, Austrian pioneer, who made two first ascents, Nanga Parbat(8125 m) in 1953 and Broad Peak (8051 m). He died 18 days later after the ascent of the latter, during an attempt to climb Chogolisa, aged 32.

Hermann Buhl (1924 - 1957)

Buhl is the mountaineer credited to have made the first solo ascent of an eight-thousander. His climbing partner, Otto, was too slow in joining the ascent, so Buhl struck off alone. He returned 41 hours later, having barely survived the arduous climb to the summit, 4 miles distant from and 4,000 feet higher than camp V. Experienced climbers, upon hearing, later of Buhl's near-death climb, faulted him for making the attempt solo. Regardless, his monumental efforts, along with spending the night untethered, on the edge of a 60-degree ice slope, standing on a tiny pedestal too small to squat upon, has become a mountaineering legend. Before his successful Nanga Parbat expedition, 31 people had died trying to make the first ascent.

Just a few weeks after the successful first ascent of Broad Peak (with Fritz Wintersteller and Marcus Schmuck), Buhl and Kurt Diemberger attempted nearby, unclimbed Chogolisa (7654 m) in alpine style. Buhl died when he fell through a cornice on the southeast ridge near the summit of Chogolisa, aged 32. His body was not recovered and remains in the ice.

Buhl, on Chogolisa - his siren mountain - with K2 and Broad Peak looming up ahead.

lines - by Rahul Ogra

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