Climbing in the high alpine is an outrageously risky endeavor. Big ascents require massive amounts of skill and even better judgement. And unfortunately, bad judgement is what usually kills. When hearing stories of failed attempts, how many stories have you heard that start with, “We underestimated…such and such?”
Make a poor choice with little margin for error, and errors become death traps. Conrad Anker knows this all too well. He’s been involved in some of the greatest mountain triumphs, and tragedies, in the history of the sport. Here, he outlines those risks for National Geographic during he and David Lama’s first attempt at Lunag Ri in the Himalayas. Anker would eventually suffer a heart attack on the duo’s second attempt. Lama later climbed the mountain solo. Sadly, the young Austrian perished in an accident in Banff National Park in 2019.