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Item #: OP277-3615
SOUTH COL: ONE MAN'S ADVENTURES ON THE ASCENT OF EVEREST. Wilfrid Noyce 1954 1st UK edition. No DJ NF Multiple copies available
By Noyce, Wilfrid.
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London, 1954, 1st UK edition. 303 pp, 52 photos, ills. Noyce's climbing on the Lhotse Face opened the route to the South Col, enabling Hillary and Tenzing to reach the summit. Best account of the first ascent. Hardcover, No DJ, Near Fine. 

Wilfrid Noyce was a highly skilled and successful mountaineer. He was an exceptionally good climber with superb speed, balance and stamina. He was also an accomplished poet and writer who died doing what he loved, climbing. In 1962 he set out on the last fatal expedition, the British-Soviet climb in the Pamirs where he died as the result of an accident on the mountain following the successful ascent of Mt Garmo in the Pamirs. Sadly Noyce died along with the talented Robin Smith in 1962 who was tied to the same rope. It appears that Noyce in stumbling dragged Smith with him off the mountain.

He is however best known for his role on the successful 1953 Everest expedition and the book that he wrote, South Col. The title comes about because Noyce was the first member of the 1953 Everest expedition to accomplish the ascent of the South Col, the small plateau just below the summit, from which Hillary & Tenzing Norgay set out to conquer the world's highest mountain. In his account Noyce account communicates all the drama, excitement and vitality of one of the greatest feats of exploration of all time.

It is Noyce’s deeply personal approach that transports the reader to climbers as they huddle together in a precariously pitched tent on the Lhotse Face. It is Noyce who captures the intense cold, the shrieking winds, the savage beauty of the icefall, the bottomless crevasses and the towering peaks. He was always a sensitive and poetic recorder of the mountain scene.

It is Noyce's attention to detail, mood and impression, and his masterful characterisation of all the members of the party that makes this a unique and intimate account of the expedition and a valuable insight into human nature in extreme conditions. The book also contains nine poems Noyce wrote on the expedition at various altitudes up to 24000 feet.

Noyce had no axe to grind. He was a friend of Sir John Hunt. Not involved in the final summit ascent he can write objectively about it and without the cloud of modesty that Hillary and Tensing brought to it and show it for the tremendous achievement that it was.


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