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Item #: OP327C-361
EVEREST THE WEST RIDGE. Tom Hornbein 1965 DJ 1st Edition Fine Signed by Thomas F Hornbein & James Whittaker Multiple copies available
By Hornbein, Thomas F.
Price: $175.00

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San Francisco, Sierra Club, 1965, 1st edition. 203 pp, 92 color plates. Beautiful large-format edition. The ascent of the West Ridge of Everest by Hornbein and Unsoeld was one of the most daring and elegant routes ever done in the Himalaya. This book has become a classic. DJ, Near Fine to Fine. The dust jacket has no chips and the book has no writing We have several copies. This book is large and heavy and we will request extra postage for Priority Mail or International Mail.

Signed by Tom Hornbein and Jim Whittaker. The first American to climb Everest, and the first person to do a new route on Everest.



'If we can pull it off,' said Norman Dyhrenfurth of Everest's West Ridge, 'it would be the biggest possible thing still to be accomplished in Himalayan mountaineering.' The man making this judgment was leader of the American Mount Everest Expedition of 1963, an effort which put the first Americans on the summit, via the South Col route. When, on the same expedition, author Thomas Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld reached the summit via the West Ridge -- a route which had been dismissed as hopeless by all previous expeditions -- their unique ascent and traverse of Everest was indeed a milestone in mountaineering.
 
With no possible way of retracing their steps once committed to the West Ridge, Hornbein and Unsoeld pushed on to gain the summit, then were forced to bivouac at 28,000 feet with no food, shelter or oxygen. Their incredible climb and survival -- a story of man versus rock and ice and his own weakness -- is unforgettablely told in EVEREST: THE WEST RIDGE. In this edition, Hornbein's sensitive text is accented by many of the beautiful photos which first won acclaim for the book, plus additional high-altitude climbing photos from the expedition never before seen in book form.
 
A foreword by Everest veteran Doug Scott places the West Ridge in its spot on the continuum of mountaineering style. This is a classic story, not just for climbers but also for those to whom Everest remains, as William Siri writes in the Introduction, '...a universal symbol of human courage and endurance; an ultimate test of man's body and spirit.'

Thomas 'Tom' Hornbein (b.1930)

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Hornbein developed an interest in climbing as a teenager. He is an anesthesiologist. He studied human performance at high altitude and was Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Washington. Hornbein was also an early Boulder, CO climber on the Flatirons.

Hornbein and his partner Willi Unsoeld climbed Mount Everest in 1963 as part of the American Everest Expedition. Jim Whittaker and Nawang Gombu Sherpa from this expedition had summitted on May 1, 1963. Hornbein and Unsoeld were the first to attempt an ascent of the daunting West Ridge. Previously, ascents of the mountain had been made only via the South Col and Southeast Ridge or the North Col and Northeast Ridge. Their plan was to climb up the West Ridge and down the Southeast Ridge/South Col route. This would make theirs the first traverse of an 8000-meter peak.

On May 22, 1963 at 6:50 AM they left their final camp and started the climb, and made it to the summit at 6:15 that night. After 20 minutes at the top they began the descent. Shortly after Unsoeld ran out of oxygen.

At 9:30 PM they came upon two other Americans from the same expedition, Barry Bishop and Lute Jerstad. Bishop and Jerstad had reached the summit earlier in the day using the South Col route and by this time were exhausted and nearly out of oxygen. The four climbers joined together on the descent and continued to make very slow progress until they felt it was too dangerous and stopped sometime after midnight.

They huddled together until 4 AM and started down again, meeting expedition members carrying extra tanks of oxygen. They made it to camp to find Unsoeld’s feet hard and frostbitten. Bishop and Jerstad also suffered from frostbite and Bishop and Unsoeld lost toes as a result.

Hornbein wrote about this epic climb in his book 'Everest: The West Ridge' published by the Sierra Club in 1965 in their Large Fomrat Exhibit series. The book is now regarded as a classic in Himalayan climbing.

'The night was overwhelming empty. The black silhouette of the Lhotse Mountain was lurking there, half to see, half to assume, and below of us. In general there was nothing – simply nothing. We hung in a timeless gap, pained by an intensive cold air – and had the idea not to be able to do anything but to shiver and to wait for the sun arising.'

Jon Krakauer writes that 'Hornbein's and Unsoeld's ascent was -- and continues to be -- deservedly hailed as one of the great feats in the annals of mountaineering.'

In 2002 Hornbein and his wife, Kathy, a retired pediatrician and novelist retired to Colorado. They still climb.

Jim Whittaker (b 1929)

There have been many firsts in Jim Whittaker's life. He was the first North American to summit Mount Everest (1963). As the first manager and employee, and ultimately the CEO, of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), he led the company through years of record-setting growth. In 1965 he guided Bobby Kennedy up the newly named Mount Kennedy, helping him to become the first person to summit the peak. In 1990, he led the historic International Peace Climb, which put climbers from the U.S., Russia, and China on the summit of Everest in the name of world peace.

In 1963, Swiss mountaineer Norman Dyhrenfurth invited the Whittaker brothers to join him on an Everest expedition. Lou was unable to make the trip, but Jim leapt at the chance. In his 1999 autobiography A Life on the Edge he describes how it felt to stand atop Everest: 'I did not feel expansive or sublime. I felt only, as I said later, 'like a frail human being'. People, mostly non-climbers talk about conquering mountains. In my mind, nothing could be farther from the truth. The mountain is so huge and powerful, and the climber so puny, exhausted, and powerless. The mountain is forever. Gombu and I, meanwhile, were dying every second we lingered.'

Summitting Everest changed Jim Whittaker's life. An invitation to the White House led to a friendship with the Kennedy family and in particular with Bobby Kennedy, President Kennedy's younger brother and Attorney-General. Following the president's assassination, Whittaker guided Bobby Kennedy to the top of the Yukon mountain named in the president's memory.

Whittaker went on to lead expeditions to K2, organizing the first American team to summit the mountain in 1978. In 1990 he surmounted physical and bureaucratic hurdles to place a combined U.S-Chinese-Russian team at the summit of Everest as part of the 1990 Mount Everest Earth Day International Peace Climb.

Jim Whittaker is retired, and spends his time lecturing, writing and sailing with his wife Dianne Roberts, and their sons. Whittaker says,  'I think a life well lived is also inseparable from being able and willing to learn continuously. A climber who doesn't learn, almost with every foothold and handhold, is unlikely to be around long enough to have a life well lived. Learning is what happens when you risk a journey beyond what you know and are comfortable with, to something you don't know and aren't comfortable with. A lot of people my age act like they've seen it all and have nothing much else to learn. But I'm still a learner.'



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