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Item #: OP1766-473
MEN AGAINST THE CLOUDS: THE CONQUEST OF MINYA KONKA Burdsall 1935 1st ed Hardcover Chipped DJ Very Good
By Burdsall, Richard, Arthur Emmons, Terris Moore and Jack Young
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New York, 1935, 1st edition. 292 pp, b/w photos. Purple hardcover with chipped dust jacket. Very Good.

The first ascent of 24,892' Minya Konka in China in 1932 was the highest peak climbed by Americans until Hidden Peak in 1958, and was the second highest peak climbed at that time. Four Harvard students had to reconnoiter the mountain, did the climb, and survived a rebellion in Peking, all in a 1 year expedition unparalleled in the literature. 

From Wikipedia: Mount Gongga (also known as Minya Konka), is the highest mountain in Sichuan, China. It is situated in the Daxue Shan mountain range. It is the easternmost 7000 m peak in the world and the third highest peak outside of the Himalaya/Karakoram.

In 1930 the explorer Joseph Rock, making the first attempt to measure its altitude, miscalculated its height as 30,250 feet (9,220 m) and cabled the National Geographic Society to announce Minya Konka as the highest mountain in the world. This measurement was viewed with suspicion from the start, and the Society's decision to check Rock's calculations before publication was well-founded. Following discussions with the Society, Rock reduced the claim to 7,803 m (25,600 feet) in his formal publication. In 1930 Swiss geographer Eduard Imhof measured 7,590 m.

A second, better-equipped American team returned in 1932, and did an accurate survey of the peak and its environs. Their summit altitude measurement agreed with Imhof's figure of 7,590 m. Two members (Terris Moore, and Richard Burdsall) of this small expedition (only four climbing members, including Arthur B. Emmons) succeeded in climbing to the summit. They began on the west side of the mountain and climbed the Northwest Ridge.

This was a remarkable achievement at the time, considering the height of the mountain, its remoteness, and the small size of the group. In addition, this peak was the highest summit reached by Americans until 1958 (though Americans had by that time climbed to higher non-summit points). The book written by the expedition members, 'Men Against The Clouds,' remains a mountaineering classic.

The Himalayan Index lists five additional ascents of Gongga Shan, and seven unsuccessful attempts. There have been a number of deaths on Gongga Shan, which has earned a reputation as a difficult and dangerous mountain. In 1981, eight Japanese climbers died after a successful ascent.


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