"Mountaineering is a relentless pursuit. One climbs further and further yet never reaches the destination. Perhaps that is what gives it its own particular charm. One is constantly searching for something never to be found." - Hermann Buhl
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 romanticised 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 humour 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.