Hermann Buhl

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morphus

Mountain climber
Angleland
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 2, 2008 - 02:51pm PT
Interesting discussion with Joe Simpson about the great Austrian climber (2 days left)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008tn7j
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2008 - 08:22pm PT
Thanks for posting the link. Buhl was a true purist and as tough they come. Original school of hard knocks!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 2, 2008 - 08:35pm PT
Bikes into the river after Piz Badille.
Anastasia

Trad climber
Feb 2, 2008 - 08:47pm PT
Nice!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2008 - 08:50pm PT
The first climbing history book that I ever read was On Top of the World by Showell Styles published in 1967. It had an excellent chapter on Nanga Parbat. This was the face of a hardman........

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2008 - 09:15pm PT
And an even frostier portrait from Mountain 36 June 1974. Great Diemberger mini biography!




Mimi

climber
Feb 3, 2008 - 12:31am PT
Thanks for the heads up on this fantastic BBC interview. Joe Simpson eloquently captures Hermann Buhl's legacy. Buhl soloed Nanga Parbat the same year year Hillary topped out on Everest in 1953. What a difference in style for the two benchmark ascents. What a mountaineer!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Oct 30, 2015 - 11:27pm PT
Tom Woods:

Here's a weird one on this old thread. Check out Jaybro's satirical comic on Gaston and Buhl on the second page.

Maybe you older folks knew this, but just noticed that Buhl is selling Pervitin. Were they making fun of him for performance enhancing drugs? Or did they really use Pervitin for climbs?

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/pilots-salt-the-third-reich-kept-its-soldiers-alert-with-meth/276429/

Anybody know if these old guys were using performance enhancing drugs, like a meth precursor?


Jgill:

I did not see a reference to Hermann Buhl in that article. Maybe I missed a link?

edit: OK, I saw the cartoon on page two. Was it speculation or known that Buhl took this stuff? I read his book years ago but can't recall him mentioning drugs, only eating potato skins!


Brian in SLC:

Buhl...to the tune of a Stone song...running to the shelter of the climbers' little helper...ha ha.

http://www.outsideonline.com/1914501/climbings-little-helper

AMPHETAMINES WERE THE FIRST drug of choice in the mountains. In 1953, Austria’s Hermann Buhl took pervitin, the superdrug that Nazi troops took before battle, during his solo first ascent of Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat. Ten years later, during his historic 1963 traverse of Everest, American climber Tom Hornbein gave two teammates, Lute Jerstad and Barry Bishop, dexedrine to aid their descent. “My impression is it didn’t do a damn bit of good,” says Hornbein, who didn’t take the speed himself.


Reilly:

The US Air Force and Navy routinely give 'uppers' to single seat fighter
pilots on long redeployment flights. Hey, it's medicinal, and cheap insurance.


Tom Woods:

Cool article about Dex, Brian.

They didn't mention their source on Buhl and the pervitin. Hopefully the source wasn't an old cartoon from supertopo.


Brian in SLC:

From Buhl's Lonely Challenge:

"I had with me a few tablets of Pudutin, a drug with stimulates the circulation and wards off frostbite, and a few pills of Pervitin for extra strength in case of extreme necessity. We had carried them ever since Base Camp."

"Completely exhausted, I fell down on the snow. Hunger racked me, thirst tortured me, but I knew I had to save the last drop as long as possible. Perhaps Pervitin was the answer? It couldn't be many hours before I got back again and the effects would last that long. Doubtfully, I swallowed two tablets and waited for them to take effect; nothing seemed to happen and I felt no benefit. Or was it that they had already done their work and that without out them I would never have been able to get up again? You never know with tablets!"

His own words.


Todd Eastman:

Oxygen or speed?

What's the difference?


Tom Woods:

Thanks Brian, I guess the old comic had the pervitin part right.

It does appear though that he used them in need, rather than chomping them for the way up?


Brian in SLC:

Nah...he was on the way up...


Tom Woods:

So....tweeker?

He seems to have some familiarity with these things, "you never know with tablets."


Todd Eastman:

Speed was handed to both sides during WWII...

... similar sh#t probably is still issued.


Jgill:

Thanks, Brian. I couldn't find my copy of Lonely Challenge which I read maybe 45 years ago.

At the U of Chicago in 1958 I climbed with a mathematician who had known Buhl. He talked about a bouldering traverse that had finger-holds "the width of match sticks" that only Buhl could do. He also encouraged me to learn a one-finger pull-up, which he said Buhl could do . . . which I did; and he might have, but I wasn't able to find any other evidence. (maybe it's buried in Lonely Challenge and I missed it!


Tom Woods:

This almost needs it's own thread. Rebuffat was a different type of inspiration than Buhl.

I didn't know what pervitin was when I used to read all this stuff. I'm not sure I know what it is now. One article I linked equated it to meth, but others compare it to dexadrine. I don't really know the difference, but I think it is good that these things come out into the light.

I learned long ago, from an older and wiser climber than me, that there really aren't any rules except that you don't lie about what you did. Buhl did not feel the need to lie about the pervitin, it appears. So in his mind, and perhaps his world at the time, it might not have been cheating to him.

What is cheating when it comes to substances in climbing?

I go back to the old words of wisdom- if you think you will have to lie about it, don't do it.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 31, 2015 - 07:46am PT
Great stuff here! Been so long since I read about him as a hungry youth in Central Oregon.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Oct 31, 2015 - 12:07pm PT
FYI: "Pervitin" is known in medical circles as Dexidrine. Commonly used as a diet aid BITD. Also used in the military, as Reilly stated, for a keep-awake aid on military exercises and long flights. Just imagine taking about 10 or 20 "old style" Sudafed tablets. And yes, Buhl did use it in order to keep going on some of his otherwise "death climbs."

I used it in the military during night exercises and alerts, to boost my mental awareness. Can't afford mistakes due to drowsiness!
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Oct 31, 2015 - 12:11pm PT
The books written by Herman Buhl were very influential during my era, BITD in Boulder. Layton, Bob, and others, all were of the mind: If Buhl said, we did. I still have my copies of The Lonely Challenge, and Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Oct 31, 2015 - 12:25pm PT

Nanga Parbat (1953) by Hans Ertl
[Click to View YouTube Video]
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Oct 31, 2015 - 12:30pm PT

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Oct 31, 2015 - 07:51pm PT
Thanks for starting a new thread. It felt weird on the Gaston thread. We use to pretend to be Gaston in our early years as climbers.

I always liked Buhl too, and I don't like him less for the pervitin. He didn't lie about it.

Sometimes I wonder about those people my parents' age, I felt as a kid that I couldn't keep up with what they did, but it turns out that they were on dexidrine or pervitin or whatever.

It makes them more human.....less superhuman.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 31, 2015 - 09:28pm PT
Indeed. Speed was so widespread it wasn't even looked down on after WWII. At least that's my impression.

And it doesn't change my view of Buhl either.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Nov 1, 2015 - 08:13am PT

The life of the parents is the book their children read. There are those who are always destined to go first. Their path is a lonely one, surrounded by unknown obstacles and dangers, yet they never lose their confidence. One of these men was Hermann Buhl. His vision was called Nanga Parbat, an 8125-meter peak in Pakistan. It turned into his mountain. Seven expeditions had already failed,and its snows had become a grave for thirty-one climbers. The Austrian reached the summit in 1953, without the use of supplemental oxygen, after a legendary solo climb. He was the first human up there, and for a moment, he got to see the world as only the Gods can. Then he went back to the world of people.

Alpinist.com


Nanga Parbat means "naked mountain" in Urdu. It is also called Diamir, the "Dwelling Place of the Fairies".


In the five decades after the first ascent of Nanga Parbat, Hermann Buhl's route was repeated only once. Two members of a Czechoslovakian expedition, Ivan Fiala and Michal Orolin, reached the summit on July 11, 1971, climbing from Camp VI on the Silver Plateau (c. 7600 m/24,935 ft.). Their expedition was an outstandingly successful outing, because the same day Jozef Psotka, Arno Puskas, and Ivan Urbanovic made the first ascents of the Forepeak (7910 m/25,953 ft.) and the Southeast Summit ("Südöstlicher Silberzacken", 7530 m/24,706 ft.). The team also made ascents of South Congra Peak and Raikot Peak, both first climbed in 1932.

http://www.affimer.org/project-np6.html

Jochen Hemmleb
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Nov 1, 2015 - 09:15am PT
Marlow quotes from a very touching article in Alpinist 49 by Kriemhild Buhl, his eldest daughter. She was 5 years old when he died on Chogolisa in 1957.

A sample:

As a young girl, I dreamed the same dream over and over: My father returns one day, ragged as a vagabond, his beard grown into matted fringes...Every time I woke up, drenched in sweat. And I realized how much I missed him. How would my life have been different if he'd really come back?
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Nov 1, 2015 - 09:26am PT

The photo following the article:


The biography written by Kriemhild: Mein Vater Hermann Buhl

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Nov 1, 2015 - 12:25pm PT

Web-Links zu Hermann Buhl: http://www.helmut-schmidt-online.de/Hermann-Buhl-Homepage/Buhl-Links.html
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Nov 1, 2015 - 02:28pm PT
BustO'Buhl

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