Everest 1953

Everest 1953: The Epic Story of the First AscentEverest 1953: The Epic Story of the First Ascent by Mick Conefrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everest 1953 is a fascinating look at the history behind the first ascent of Everest. Starting with a brief look at the earlier expeditions and the geopolitics behind why they always started in Tibet and why that had to change when the Chinese took over the country. It then looks at two expeditions from the Nepal side, in 1951 and 1952. The 1951 expedition was quite successful, the 1952 one was not. Cue lots of internal politics as the team is set up for the 1953 attempt. Once that was all sorted and they were in the Himalayas, it was lovely to see how the team (mostly) bonded and the science behind things like the oxygen tanks. The author uses lots of extracts from diaries and letters written by the team, so it was good to hear the events in their own voices. It was quite sad how after the successful ascent, their return was so marred by politics and how the team often weren’t very happy.

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