Maurice Herzog (born January 15, 1919) is a French mountaineer and sports administrator who was born in Lyon, France. He led the expedition that first climbed a peak over 8000m, Annapurna, in 1950, and reached the summit with Louis Lachenal. Upon his return, he wrote a best-selling book about the expedition. More recently, doubts about the accuracy of his account have been raised.
On June 3, 1950, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal became the first people to climb a peak over 8000m when they summited the Himalayan mountain Annapurna, the 10th-highest mountain in the world. The ascent was all the more remarkable because the peak was explored, reconnoitered and climbed all within one season; and was climbed without the use of supplemental oxygen. The event caused a sensation that was only surpassed when Everest was summited in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Herzog’s account of the expedition was published first in 1951 in French, then in English in 1952 under the title Annapurna. The book has sold over 11 million copies, as of 2000, more than any other mountaineering title. Ending with the stirring line “there are other Annapurnas in the lives of men” (in the context of the book, an exhortation to answer the challenges that life offers), the book gave an account of the expedition that established Herzog’s climbing reputation and inspired a generation of mountaineers.
Herzog's account of the summit day has been called into question with the publication of other members’ accounts of the expedition, most significantly by a biography of Gaston Rébuffat and the posthumous publication, in 1996, of Lachenal’s contemporaneous journals. The 2000 book True Summit: What Really Happened on the Legendary Ascent of Annapurna by David Roberts examines the controversy.