Hermann Buhl : biography
Hermann Buhl (September 21, 1924 – June 27, 1957) is considered one of the best climbers of all time. He was particularly innovative in applying alpine style to Himalayan climbing. His accomplishments include:
- 1953 First ascent of Nanga Parbat, 8,126 metres (26,660 ft) (solo and without bottled oxygen).
- 1957 First ascent of Broad Peak, 8,051 metres (26,414 ft).
Before his successful Nanga Parbat expedition, 31 people had died trying to make the first ascent.
Buhl is the only mountaineer to have made the first ascent of an eight-thousander solo. Just a few weeks after the successful first ascent of Broad Peak (with Fritz Wintersteller and Marcus Schmuck), Buhl and Kurt Diemberger made an attempt on nearby, unclimbed Chogolisa peak (7654 m) in alpine style. Buhl died when he fell through a cornice on the southeast ridge near the summit of Chogolisa. His body was not recovered and remains in the ice.
Buhl was born in Innsbruck, the youngest of four children. After the death of his mother, he spent years in an orphanage. Before Scouting was banned in Austria Hermann Buhl was a Cub Scout in Innsbruck. In the 1930s, as a sensitive (and not very healthy) teenager, he began to climb the Austrian Alps. In 1939, he joined the Innsbruck chapter of the Deutscher Alpenverein (the German Alpine association) and soon mastered climbs up to category 6. He was a member of the Mountain rescue team in Innsbruck (Bergrettung Innsbruck).
World War II interrupted his commercial studies, and he joined the Alpine troops, mostly on the Monte Cassino. After being taken prisoner by American troops, he returned to Innsbruck and earned his living doing odd jobs. At the end of the 1940s, he finally completed his training as a mountain guide.