The Ascent of Nanda Devi: I believe we so far forgot ourselves as to shake hands on it

Vertebrate Publishing
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In 1934, after fifty years of trying, mountaineers finally gained access to the Nanda Devi Sanctuary in the Garhwal Himalaya.

Two years later an expedition led by H.W. Tilman reached the summit of Nanda Devi. At over 25,000 feet, it was the highest mountain to be climbed until 1950.

The Ascent of Nanda Devi, Tilman’s account of the climb, has been widely hailed as a classic. Keenly observed, well informed and at times hilariously funny, it is as close to a ‘conventional’ mountaineering account as Tilman could manage. Beginning with the history of the mountain (‘there was none’) and the expedition’s arrival in India, Tilman recounts the build-up and approach to the climb.

Writing in his characteristic dry style, he tells how Sherpas are hired, provisions are gathered (including ‘a mouth-blistering sauce containing 100 per cent chillies’) and the climbers head into the hills, towards Nanda Devi. Superbly parodied in The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman, The Ascent of Nanda Devi was among the earliest accounts of a climbing expedition to be published. Much imitated but rarely matched, it remains one of the best.

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About the author

Harold William Bill Tilman (1898 1977) was among the greatest adventurers of his time, a pioneering mountaineer and sailor who held exploration above all else. Tilman joined the army at seventeen and was twice awarded the Military Cross for bravery during WWI. After the war Tilman left for Africa, establishing himself as a coffee grower. He met Eric Shipton and began their famed mountaineering partnership, traversing Mount Kenya and climbing Kilimanjaro. Turning to the Himalaya, Tilman went on two Mount Everest expeditions, reaching 27,000 feet without oxygen in 1938. In 1936 he made the first ascent of Nanda Devi the highest mountain climbed until 1950. He was the first European to climb in the remote Assam Himalaya, he delved into Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor and he explored extensively in Nepal, all the while developing a mountaineering style characterised by its simplicity and emphasis on exploration. It was perhaps logical then that Tilman would eventually buy the pilot cutter Mischief, not with the intention of retiring from travelling, but to access remote mountains. For twenty-two years Tilman sailed Mischief and her successors to Patagonia, where he crossed the vast ice cap, and to Baffin Island to make the first ascent of Mount Raleigh. He made trips to Greenland, Spitsbergen and the South Shetlands, before disappearing in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1977.

John Porter was born in Massachusetts and he started climbing at the age of twelve, serving his apprenticeship in the White Mountains, Rockies, Cascades and Yosemite. He moved to the UK in the early 1970s to do postgraduate work at Leeds University where he joined a team of climbers dedicated to clean ethics, alpine-style and the fostering of international partnerships. Ascents of the North Face of Koh-i-Bandaka (1977) and the south face of Changabang (1978) with Alex MacIntyre and Polish friends were achieved in the middle of the cold war. Other climbs include lightweight attempts of the west ridge of Everest in winter, the north-west ridge of K2, the east face of Sepu Kangri, first ascents of Chong Kundam I and V in the Eastern Karakoram, and many other notable climbs around the world over a period of fifty-five years. In 1980 he founded the Kendal Mountain Festival with Brian Hall and Jim Curran, and in 2011 he and Brian founded the online adventure film website SteepEdge. John lives in the Cumbrian Lake District working as a consultant in the energy sector. He is a vice president of the Alpine Club and has previously been a vice president of the British Mountaineering Council and secretary to the Mountain Heritage Trust.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Vertebrate Publishing
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Published on
Dec 16, 2015
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Pages
212
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ISBN
9781909461192
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Adventurers & Explorers
Biography & Autobiography / General
Sports & Recreation / Mountaineering
Travel / Asia / Central
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Willi Unsoeld became an international hero during the Kennedy years, when he emerged as probably the greatest American climber of the Himalayan golden age. Displaying the sort of vigor that President Kennedy so admired, Unsoeld became the most visible hero of an ascent of Everest's previously-unclimbed West Ridge -- an ascent that cost him parts of both feet and nearly his life.

His casual fearlessness and physical power established the template for extreme adventure, and his lectures as a charismatic professor inspired the generation of the sixties to test itself in acts of physical daring. Fatal Mountaineer sets Willi Unsoeld's intense life against the story of two defining adventures: the triumph on Everest and a more ill-starred expedition in 1976, when he led a group of mountaineers up a new route on Nanda Devi, the tallest peak in India. One of that gifted group of climbers was Willi's daughter, Devi -- a golden girl named for the mountain she sought to ascend with her beloved father. The intense rivalries within the expedition team, and the dangers of the route, led to an outcome darkened by tragedy, an outcome that continues to fuel one of the most tormenting debates in mountaineering history.

Blending adventure with a frank look at the cultural background, Fatal Mountaineer considers the pressures on mountaineers in a period of our history torn by conflict. It balances hunger for fame with stark tragedy, a man's ambition with a father's love. Unsoeld emerges as an American classic, a self-invented genius of adventure to rank with Mark Twain or Will Rogers for sheer attractiveness. Under the close scrutiny of this thrilling story, his heroism turns out to be deeply authentic-as does his suffering.

'It's a preposterous plan. Still, if you do get up it, I think it'll be the hardest thing that's been done in the Himalayas.' So spoke Chris Bonington when Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker presented him with their plan to tackle the unclimbed West Wall of Changabang - the Shining Mountain - in 1976. Bonington's was one of the more positive responses; most felt the climb impossibly hard, especially for a two-man, lightweight expedition. This was, after all, perhaps the most fearsome and technically challenging granite wall in the Garhwal Himalaya and an ascent - particularly one in a lightweight style - would be more significant than anything done on Everest at the time. The idea had been Joe Tasker's. He had photographed the sheer, shining, white granite sweep of Changabang's West Wall on a previous expedition and asked Pete to return with him the following year. Tasker contributes a second voice throughout Boardman's story, which starts with acclimatisation, sleeping in a Salford frozen food store, and progresses through three nights of hell, marooned in hammocks during a storm, to moments of exultation at the variety and intricacy of the superb, if punishingly difficult, climbing. It is a story of how climbing a mountain can become an all-consuming goal, of the tensions inevitable in forty days of isolation on a two-man expedition; as well as a record of the moment of joy upon reaching the summit ridge against all odds. First published in 1978, The Shining Mountain is Peter Boardman's first book. It is a very personal and honest story that is also amusing, lucidly descriptive, very exciting, and never anything but immensely readable. It was awarded the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize for literature in 1979, winning wide acclaim. His second book, Sacred Summits, was published shortly after his death in 1982. Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker died on Everest in 1982, whilst attempting a new and unclimbed line. Both men were superb mountaineers and talented writers. Their literary legacy lives on through the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature, established by family and friends in 1983 and presented annually to the author or co-authors of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature. For more information about the Boardman Tasker Prize, visit: www.boardmantasker.com
This gripping and triumphant memoir from the author of The Mountain follows a living legend of extreme mountaineering as he makes his assault on history, one 8,000-meter summit at a time.

For eighteen years Ed Viesturs pursued climbing’s holy grail: to stand atop the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, without the aid of bottled oxygen. But No Shortcuts to the Top is as much about the man who would become the first American to achieve that goal as it is about his stunning quest. As Viesturs recounts the stories of his most harrowing climbs, he reveals a man torn between the flat, safe world he and his loved ones share and the majestic and deadly places where only he can go.

A preternaturally cautious climber who once turned back 300 feet from the top of Everest but who would not shrink from a peak (Annapurna) known to claim the life of one climber for every two who reached its summit, Viesturs lives by an unyielding motto, “Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” It is with this philosophy that he vividly describes fatal errors in judgment made by his fellow climbers as well as a few of his own close calls and gallant rescues. And, for the first time, he details his own pivotal and heroic role in the 1996 Everest disaster made famous in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air.

In addition to the raw excitement of Viesturs’s odyssey, No Shortcuts to the Top is leavened with many funny moments revealing the camaraderie between climbers. It is more than the first full account of one of the staggering accomplishments of our time; it is a portrait of a brave and devoted family man and his beliefs that shaped this most perilous and magnificent pursuit.

• One of the greatest explorers of the 20th century
• Shipton’s Everest explorations set the stage for its conquest by Edmund Hillary

Eric Shipton was an adventurer when adventure meant traveling to places for which no maps existed, scaling mountains whose heights were uncalculated, and encountering people whom no westerner had ever met. That Untravelled World, originally published in 1969, is his autobiography, written near the end of his career, when the passing of time had deepened his reflections on his many accomplishments and companions.

Shipton’s story begins with his early childhood, his first climbs in the Alps, his decision to be a coffee farmer rather than attend university, and his early climbs in Africa. He recounts his introduction to Bill Tilman, through a letter Tilman sent asking for advice about climbing Mount Kenya. This introduction lead to one of the most famous climbing partnerships in history—as bonded in pursuit of adventure as Holmes and Moriarty were in solving crimes.

In 1951 Shipton led an expedition to explore the south side of Everest. His small party of four (plus Sherpas) explored Everest’s Western Cwm to determine if the South Col could be climbed from there. In 1952, unable to get a permit to climb Everest, Shipton and his team climbed “eleven mountains between 21,000 and 23,000 feet, and a number of smaller peaks.” Shipton was expected to be named the leader of the momentous 1953 British Everest expedition but, surprisingly, John Hunt was chosen instead. Of the slight, Shipton wrote, “I had often deplored the exaggerated publicity accorded to Everest expeditions and the consequent distortion of values. Yet, when it came to the point, I was far from pleased to withdraw from this despised limelight; nor could I fool myself that it was only the manner of my rejection that I minded.”

So disappointed was Shipton in being overlooked to lead the Everest summit expedition that he left Britain for South America. He never again returned to the Himalaya yet, as this book reveals, his adventures were far from over.

CLICK HERE to download the first chapter from The Mountain of My Fear and Deborah

* Two classic mountaineering adventures, in one beautiful volume!
* Part of The Mountaineers Books "Legends and Lore" series for climbers, armchair mountaineers, and readers of classic adventure literature

The publication of The Mountain of My Fear in 1968 and Deborah in 1970 changed the face of the mountaineering narrative. Now these two classic expedition narratives by acclaimed writer David Roberts are together again in one volume for a new generation of readers.

Deborah is the story of Roberts's 1964 expedition with fellow Harvard Mountaineering Club member Don Jensen to the eastern side of Mount Deborah in Alaska. Their two-man attempt on the then-unclimbed ridge was a rash and heroic effort. The story tells not only what happened on the mountain, but what happened in the stark isolation to the climbers and their friendship, as each became totally dependent on the other for survival.

In The Mountain of My Fear Roberts and Jensen come together again only a year after the Deborah climb. In this account, they and two other Harvard students attempt an ascent of Mount Huntington, for the first time via its treacherous west face. The summit had been reached only the year before, via one of its less dangerous ridges. The story is one of a magnificent achievement. But it is also the story of how a perfect adventure can turn into tragedy in a single instant.

Mountaineers, lovers of adventure literature, David Roberts fans, and non-climbers who simply enjoy a good story will value this pairing, by a great climber and a great writer, of two dramatic and enlightening works.


This title is part of our LEGENDS AND LORE series. Click here > to learn more.
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