ÜBERLEBT: ALLE 14 ACHTTAUSENDER
Messner scorned the traditional approach to climbing the big Himalayan mountains. He didn’t arrive with a large circus and hire a small army of sherpas. He did it Alpine-style. Quickly, light footprint. And he did it without oxygen. (Well, he did it without supplementary oxygen, to be precise). He did things thought to be impossible. Again and again. First solo ascent of Everest. First man to climb all 14 mountains in the world over 8000 metres high (they’re all in the Himalayas). This book is about that, Except it isn’t. It’s about Messner himself, and his tortured mind. Most mountain books tell of pain and strain, slogging up steep and deep snow, grinding up steep rock with numbed fingers and exhausted body. Messner doesn’t even seem to notice any of that. He tells you of what’s in his head and what should be in his head. It’s often terrifying, but psychologically not physically, which separates it from anything else ever written about the high mountains. It’s not inspirational - you will not find me on Annapurna’s south face any time soon - but it moved me more than anything else I’ve read, even Learning the Law by Glanville Williams.