In 1895, Albert Frederick Mummery, J. Norman Collie and Geoffrey Hastings were the first climbers to attempt Nanga Parbat, and the first climbers ever to attempt a Himalayan 8,000-metre peak.

Mummery and two Gurkhas, Ragobir Thapa and Goman Singh, fell and were killed by an avalanche while checking out the Rakhiot Face. Their bodies were never found. The story of this disastrous expedition is told in Collie’s book From the Himalaya to Skye.

In July 1888, Mummery ventured into Himalayas and said that it was like looking through a, “Big hole in the cornice of the ridge I could look down 3,000 feet or more on to the vast unbroken glacier…” Mummery was an English climber and author who established a number of routes in the Alps. Nanga Parbat would go n to earn its reputation as a “man-eater,” as 30 men would lose their lives on the ninth largest mountain on the planet before the first ascent was made by the legendary Austrian Mountaineer, Hermann Buhl, in 1953. Buhl described Mummery as, “One of the greatest mountaineers of all time.”

Alfred Mummery

Mummery left behind a legacy of some of the most well-regarded routes in the Alps, and also, in his book My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus, one of the enduring classics of mountaineering literature. In the book, Mummery wrote, “It has frequently been noticed that all mountains appear doomed to pass through the three stages: An inaccessible peak – The most difficult ascent in the Alps – An easy day for a lady.” You can read the full book here.

Nanga Parbat lies at the western end of the Himalayan Range in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. It has three major faces, Diamir, Rakhiot and Rupal. It’s considered the second hardest 8,000-metre peak after K2, the second highest peak in the world, as well as one of the most dangerous.

Albert Mummery’s gravestone in St Peter & Paul Churchyard, Charlton.
Nanga Parbat

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