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On May 1, 1953, Hillary had looked at the top of Everest, and declared that, never had he seen its snow plume boiling more wildly, nor more impossible conditions for a try for the top. At dawn on May 1, 1963, Whittaker and Gombu were already astir in their tiny tent. Never mind the wind; it was clear. At 6:15 A.M., they squinted at the just risen sun as they strapped on their crampons and started up into the wailing wind.

– Gerry Roach – from Why Everest - A Short History of the Pioneers

Why Everest – A Short History of the Pioneers

Why Everest Click the cover for a larger image

Gerry Roach answers the question Why Everest by tracing the mountaineering history of the Earth’s highest peak through the pioneering period, which he brings forward to 1983. Everest is a pyramid with three major faces separated by three major ridges and, the last of these, the elusive East Face, was finally climbed in 1983. This pioneering period also saw other notable mountaineering landmarks such as the first ascent without supplemental oxygen, the first winter ascent, and the first solo ascent.
Gerry’s goal is to apply a focusing lens to encapsulate what he has defined as the pioneering period into a tiny tome. He has included every expedition that set foot on Everest through 1983. Many will not like his 1983 cut off for the pioneers. Some will find it far beyond their idea of the real pioneers with their tweed suits and hobnail boots. Others will argue that it’s not late enough, since we are still pioneering by cavorting up there goofy footed in moon suits and jumping off in parapentes. A few may like his reasons.

As for the question itself, Why Everest, some may find the answer in these pages and some may not. Some will be saddened by all the deaths, set this history aside, and dismiss Everest as a beast to be avoided. Some may be moved by the opportunity for finding joy on this rock, and head up there at speed.

Many consider those who take big risks and squeak through by a mere inch to be heros, while those who miss by an inch are idiots. Everest forces a focus on the fine line between success and failure, indeed between life and death, and in so doing, sits there as a fine frame for the rest of life and, possibly, for the rest of civilization.

Why Everest is available as a 6x9-inch soft cover book with a color cover and black and white interior photos. The book has 238 pages and 120 black and white photographs. The history covers 88 expeditions from 1913 through 1983.

Our price for an autographed copy of this book is $13.95
plus $6.10 for Priority Mail if your total order is less than $35.00.
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Copyright © 2001-2014 by Gerry Roach. All Rights Reserved.
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