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Item #: OP138D-113
HIGH ADVENTURE Edmund Hillary 1955 1st US ed Hardcover No DJ Near Fine [Not Signed]
By Hillary, Edmund
Price: $39.99


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New York, E. P. Dutton, 1955, 1st US edition. 256 pp, numerous b/w photos and illustrations, maps. Hardcover with no dust jacket and faded spine, else fine. Near Fine condition.

Hillary's principal book on his Everest climb. Includes description of the 1951 Reconnaissance expedition, the Cho Oyu attempt, and his Everest success. This is his first book. In 1953, when he was thirty-three years old, Edmund Hillary became the first man to stand at the summit of Mount Everest.

High Adventure is Hillary's definitive and entertaining memoir of his Himalayan quest, it takes us step by-step up the slopes of Everest, describing vividly and in great detail the agonizing climb that he and Tenzing Norgay embarked upon, the perils they faced, and the dramatic final ascent that forever secured them a place of honor in the annals of human exploration. By conquering Everest, the beekeeper and the Sherpa affirmed the power of humble determination and won one for underdogs everywhere on May 29,1953. Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first human beings to conquer Mount Everest/Chomolungma, to its people at 29,028 ft. the highest place on earth.
 
By any rational standards, this was no big deal. Aircraft had long before flown over the summit, and within a few decades literally hundreds of other people from many nations would climb Everest too. And what is particularly remarkable, anyway, about getting to the top of a mountain? Geography was not furthered by the achievement, scientific progress was scarcely hastened, and nothing new was discovered. Yet the names of Hillary and Tenzing went instantly into all languages as the names of heroes, partly because they really were men of heroic mold but chiefly because they represented so compellingly the spirit of their time.
 
The world of the early 1950s was still a little punch-drunk from World War II, which had ended less than a decade before. Everything was changing. Great old powers were falling, virile new ones were rising, and the huge, poor mass of Asia and Africa was stirring into self-awareness. Hillary and Tenzing went to the Himalayas under the auspices of the British Empire, then recognizably in terminal decline.
 
The expedition was the British Everest Expedition, 1953, and it was led by Colonel John Hunt, the truest of true English gentlemen. It was proper to the historical moment that one of the two climbers immortalized by the event came from a remote former colony of the Crown and the other from a nation that had long served as a buffer state of the imperial Raj.

This is Ed Hillary’s first book. It is a record of his climbing experiences through the first ascent of Mount Everest where Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit. This is a good book. Hillary’s excitement, energy, and drive for mountaineering are apparent here. The passages relating his first encounter, and then climbs, with Eric Shipton are delightful.

Also, his high esteem for George Lowe, Tenzing, and John Hunt is apparent. The book includes Hillary's adventures in the Nepal Himalaya prior to the 1953 Everest expedition: Sola Khumbu reconnaissance with Shipton and Ang Tharkay, Cho Oyu and crossing the Nup La.

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