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Climbing » Narratives


A Thousand Years of Exploration


First published to acclaim in 2003, Everest has been out of print since shortly after the author's death in 2005. This new edition includes a new foreword by Eric Vola, French alpinist and UK Alpine Club member. This is the first comprehensive monograph to tell the Everest story as it has evolved over the centuries.

Central to this history was the First Ascent in 1953. Michael Ward, a London surgeon and mountaineer, was directly involved in the pivotal events that led to success. In late 1950, while serving as a Medical Officer to the Brigade of Guards, he searched the neglected and uncatalogued archives of the Royal Geographical Society and discovered the forgotten Milne-Hinks maps, as well as a series of hitherto unknown photos taken on covert flights over Everest in the late 1940s. Together these provided clear evidence of a feasible route from the south. From early 1951 onwards, scientists from the Royal Society and Medical Research Council initiated and conducted definitive research into the problems of extreme altitude which provided the key to the successful first ascent.

Everest has now been climbed thousands of times by many different routes but it was only in 1978, 25 years after the first ascent, that the mountain was first climbed without the use of supplementary oxygen. The book includes a number of maps specially produced at the Royal Geographical Society to illustrate exploratory journeys in the Everest region from the Middle Ages to the present. It sheds new light on a complex story, leading to the 1953 breakthrough which accelerated the exploration and ascent of the world's highest peaks.

The First Ascent also led to the emergence of a thriving medical speciality, High Altitude Medicine and Physiology, which helps the 150 million people who live at altitude each year. In human terms, this is the main legacy of Everest.

Michael Ward was a member and Medical Officer of both the 1951 and 1953 Everest expeditions. Since 1951 he climbed, explored, mapped and carried out medical research in the great ranges of the Himalaya, in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and the Pamir. Holder of the Founder's Gold Medal of the RGS, he was given unique access to rarely available information to complete this 'Biography' of the world's highest peak.

"I am more convinced than ever that this book is the most interesting ever written about Everest" - Jan Morris, CBE, Times correspondent attached to the 1953 expedition.

"From the earliest attempts to the final success in 1953 Michael Ward shines a new light on the challenges and ultimate success on Everest. His immensely detailed insight into all expeditions and his professional assessment of the background to success in 1953 make for rivetting reading and will no doubt prompt many a heated debate. This is a remarkable book which brings rarely mentioned crucial figures to the fore and has to be absolutely essential reading for anyone with the slightest interest in the build-up to the first ascent of the highest mountain in the world" - Mick Fowler, President, The Alpine Club.

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Cordee Code: CNE056
No of Pages: 368
Page Size: 175 x 249 mm
ISBN 10: 1904524915
ISBN 13: 9781904524915
Publisher: Hayloft Publishing Ltd
Published Date: October 2013
Edition: 1st, Oct 2013
Binding: Hardback
Illustrations: photos, drawings, maps
Weight: 900g

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