Saturday, December 15, 2012


Mountaineer and politician Maurice Herzog, 93, has died.

He was the first person to summit the deadly Himalayan peak Annapurna (not that all of them aren't deadly, but this one is perhaps the deadliest). He achieved the feat in 1950. He was the first person to ever summit any of the 8,000-meter peaks:

A photograph of Herzog waving a French tricolor atop the 26,545-foot (8,091-meter) peak in Nepal captured a seminal moment before the grueling descent, during which subzero conditions led to the amputation of all his fingers and toes.

"The marks of the ordeal are apparent on my body," he later said.

Although the 1953 ascent of Mount Everest - by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay somewhat eclipsed Herzog's achievement, Annap urna was not scaled again for some 20 years. Although Everest was the highest mountain in the world, Annapurna was said to be the most dangerous.

His book about the epic expedition, "Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak," was called "the most influential mountaineering book of all time" by National Geographic Adventure and made Sports Illustrated's list of the top 100 sports books of all time. It has sold millions of copies - the IOC said more than 20 million copies - and has been translated into dozens of languages.

The victims of Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are remembered fondly.

Hochsprung had been a principal in the Bethlehem and Woodbury school district before taking the job in Newtown two years ago.

"We were saddened to see her leave, but I know she was excited for that job," Stomski said. "She was very charismatic and had an incredible way with students and parents."

Police have not confirmed the identities of any of the shooting victims, but Hochsprung is among at least two other adults who also are believed to have died: Mary J. Sherlach, 56, the school psychologist, of Trumbull, and Nancy Lanza, 52, the mother of the shooter Adam Lanza, who was found dead at her Newtown home. In all, 28 people — 20 of them schoolchildren — died, including the suspect, police said.

Stomski said that Hochsprung lived in Woodbury even after she took the job in Newtown.

"She died protecting the children that she adored so much. It's just incredibly shocking,'' Stomski said.

Here is the list of the victims:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto,27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6

These include the principal, the school psychologist, and at least two teachers. The other adults must have been either assistants or volunteers or even parents. The staff listing at the website includes only certified and office staff. At least one of the teacher victims wasn't listed, so this may be an outdated website.

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