At 23, George Band was the youngest member of the first expedition
that successfully climbed Mount Everest in 1953. This is his
enthralling account of the ascent, together with a history of the
earlier attempts on the mountain and developments since. He pays
tribute to brave climbers and describes the different routes and
equipment that can be used in a way that is accessible to
non-climbers, and which will help us to understand the lure and
terrible beauty of this particular mountain. Everest has a special
resonance for Great Britain because Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa
Tenzing's achievement was announced on the day of Queen Elizabeth's
coronation. The mountain was also named after a Briton, Sir George
Everest, the British Surveyor General of India. The 1850s marked
the start of mountaineering as a sport in Europe, and by the turn
of the century climbers were turning their attention to the
Himalayas for fresh challenges. Early attempts, with insufficient
clothing and inadequate oxygen supplies, are chronicled, together
with the later expeditions where technical improvements have now
made other routes possible (there are now 15 principal ones).
George Band also describes the arrival of commercial expeditions,
other 'firsts' (first British woman to reach the summit, first
success without oxygen) and the ecological impact on Everest
(expeditions leave rubbish), and asks what challenges remain. There
are some spectacular photographs and legendary names in
mountaineering abound, of all nationalities; however, with stories
of tragedy, triumph and disaster, Band also reminds us that, even
when successfully climbed, this is not a mountain that can ever be
conquered: 'there are no victors, only survivors'. (Kirkus UK)
It is now over 80 years since the first expedition went to the Himalayas to explore the approaches to Mount Everest. After a series of gallant failures, almost 50 years have elapsed since and expedition team, brilliantly led by John hunt, had the skill and good fortune for Ed Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to reach the summit at 11.30 am on 29 May 1953. Published in association with the Mount Everest Foundation, the Alpine Club and the Royal Geographical Society, this account has been written to celebrate the 50th Anniversary and to pay tribute to all those earlier expeditions, which by their hard won experience and repeated determination helped to pave the way.
'Everest' puts the first successful ascent into context, detailing the adventures and tragedies that occurred during the early expeditions, and providing a full account of the 1953 expedition and the many difficulties that faced the team before their final, triumphant summit push. It also offers a survey of climbing on Everest since 1953, covering new routes, new achievements, and inevitably, new tragedies.
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