Thursday, 15 July 2010
A home for a very rare book - Herman Buhl, Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage
This book contains the last known signature of the greatest 20th century mountaineer, Herman Buhl.
The book that I purchased, along with many others in Peshawar, was a presentation copy to the Political Agent in Skardu, signed by the four members of the 1957 Austrian Karakoram Expedition including Buhl himself.
Last Sunday I presented the book to Colin Monteath (left) to display in his Himalayan collection at Hedgehog House in Christchurch. Such a rarity, should be available to researchers and mountaineers as it is part of mountaineering history rather than being stuck on my shelves where few people can see the book. Photo: Bob McKerrow
Colin has put some superb photos of the mountains that Hermann Buhl climbed on plus further information. Please visit Colin Monteath's site at the link below
The 1957 Austrian Karakoram expedition left Skardu and trekked up the Baltoro glacier to a base camp under Broad Peak near K2. All four Austrians finally made the first ascent of the 8047 metre giant. Only two weeks later however, Hermann Buhl (right) died when he broke through a cornice after turning back shy of the summit of Chogolisa (7654 metres), a beautiful virgin peak within sight of Concordia. His partner Kurt Diemberger didnt see the fall and no trace was ever found of Buhl.
Wrinkled and exhausted, Hermann Buhl after his remarkable solo push to claim first ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1953.
I have copied the very historic words which appear in the first two blank pages of the book:
The inscription in the book with the signatures of the 1957 Austrian Karakoram Expedition. The full words are:
With friendly greetings and compliments
of the members of the
AUSTRIAN KARAKORAM EXPEDITION 1957
When resuming their expedition to
We are grateful for the great help extended to us and we start in high spirits
Marcus Schmuck (1)
Herman Buhl (2) Kurt Diemberger (3)
Qadeer Saeed (Capt) Fritz Wintersteller (4)
Skardu 13th April 1957
The words written on the page opposite under the signature of Habib ur Rahman, Political Agent Skardu on 5 July 1957.
In full they read :
The expedition – all four members – climbed together on BROAD PEAK ( above 26,000 ft) on 9th June 1957 No oxygen no high altitude porters were used. They also conquered another unnamed peak above 24,000. This was largely due to the organisation and determination of Herman Bhull (sic).
Unfortunately Herman Bhull met with a tragic death on 27th june 1957 while attempting another Peak. There he had a fall of 1000 ft in a treacherously soft snow. KURT was with him. His body could not be found inspite of three days intensive search.
Thus the conqueror of Nanga Parbat lies buried in the Baltoro Glacier region - a place of Pilgrimage of the mountaineers !
Habib ur Rahman
5th of July, 1957
So yesterday when I departed Christchurch by train for a holiday on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, I felt that finally this rare book has a safe home with Colin Monteath and his Himalayan collection in Christchurch. Buhl's incredible story and the remarkable inscription now lies alongside those written by other great Himalayan mountaineers.