Tomaz Humar in file image on Simone Moro's website, courtesy of (click to enlarge).
Tomaz Humar: European profile and word from Simone Moro

Posted: Nov 17, 2009 02:31 am EST
( A thin line separates the madman from the genius.

Many climbers in Europe referred to Tomaz Humar as that crazy Slovenian. His temperament and climbs left few indifferent and Tomaz a man to be remembered in climbing history.

Master or lunatic?

I dont know whether that guy is a viciously good climber or a reckless, irresponsible lunatic, Juanito Oiarzabal commented Humar's bold solo climb on Dhaulagiris south face. Such a route performed in such conditions seems suicidal to me, Oiarzabal added. Humars later attempt on Nangas Rupal face and his solo climb on Annas south face raised both awe and rage (read ExWebs previous editorial on the subject.)

A young fellow-Slovenian climber told ExplorersWeb in Europe: First time we met him, Tomaz was drinking beer with friends and bragging around I thought the guy a complete idiot. Some days later though I listened to a sober, smart Humar speaking on a radically different note - and were impressed by his sensible arguments.

When I climb I climb; when I rest I do absolutely nothing; and when I drink I really drink, Humar told a journalist and climbers some years ago over dinner after a lecturing event.

I focus completely on what I'm doing at the moment the Slovenian emphasized. ExWebs editor left long before the party ended but late enough to confirm that the guy was serious about, well, focusing.

Farewell to media

Wild enough to drive just about anyone crazy, Tomaz made no difference between ranks and social classes. Those who knew him learned fast to avoid shaking his hand, knowing he would crush their knuckles. At a mountain festival in Catalonia, Tomaz literally lifted from the floor a small-built host handing him an award.

Humar's first close call came right at home during roof repair when he broke both his legs in a fall. It took months to walk again, during which Tomaz started to develop ideas about motivation, mental training, God and nature. Friends say he somehow grew isolated from the community, enclosed within himself.

The Nanga Parbat rescue aftermath made him distrust media and the public altogether. He climbed Anna and traveled to Nepal this year with no press at all.

He spoke about his Langtang Lirung project only with close friends, such as Simone Moro in Kathmandu shortly before the expedition. The Italian climber kept Tomazs plans to himself, until sadly, the rescue team asked him for help. Here goes Simones story and tribute:

Three ice-screws

It was just five weeks ago we sat at Kathmandus Ciao Italian restaurant. You seemed more excited than usual but otherwise the same, old Tomaz shaking hands with unexpected force and then sitting down to speak freely about your dreams and projects.

You asked me to hold the info about the 7246ms Langtang Lirungs south face, which you wanted to solo. Only Jagat Limbu (our mutual friend and cook) would keep you company in BC. You told me of the charms and dangers of that wall. In return, I gave you my three titanium ice-screws, so you could climb it light and fast.

The other mountains

I was just expecting news from you, eager to hear all about your adventure and to congratulate you (with or without summit). Sadly, when I heard your name early last week the news were of trouble and distress.

I did my best to help the rescuers, telling them all I knew about the face, the new route you aimed for, and Jagat. I hoped, I prayed for those friends running to reach you in time and alive."

"But you were already on other mountains, on walls far away from humans reach. Leaving us powerless in our awe and disbelief trying to cope, to say a prayer, to avoid questions that will remain unanswered - but with a notion to never stop trying to get the most out of the exciting, thrilling and mysterious adventure called life. Good-bye Tomaz, good-bye.

Tomaz Humar completed nearly 70 first ascents at home in Slovenia and abroad. His most remarkable climbs included new routes on Ama Dablam, Lobuche, Nuptse West, Dhaulagiri (no summit), Aconcagua South face, etc. In October, 2007, he forged a new route in pure alpine style along the right side of the South Face of Annapurna. He climbed virgin terrain until 7500 meters on the East Ridge route which he took to the East Summit at 8047 meters. Humar climbed the route in only 2 days (roundtrip) in very tough conditions.

In fall 2009, Tomaz attempted Langtang Lirung (7,200/7,300m pending source). Situated south-west of Shisha Pangma, the rarely visited peak represents the highest point in Langtang Himal. With a climb on mostly steep and difficult ice, teams usually attempt to summit via the east ridge. Humar was going for a solo on the unclimbed south face. Injured in a fall, he called for a rescue on November 9. On November 13, Swiss Pilot Robert Andenmatten and rescuer Simon Anthamatten found his remains at 5600 meters. Tomaz Humar was 40 years old.

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