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Item #: OP001E-279
THE ASCENT OF EVEREST John Hunt 1953 1st UK edition Hardcover DJ Fine SIGNED by Edmund Hillary PLUS EXTRA CHART OF TEAM ASCENTS
By Hunt, John
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Detailed Product Description

THE ASCENT OF EVEREST by John Hunt is one of the best selling mountaineering books of all time. The first UK edition was published in July 1953, only two months after the climb. It immediately went through four printings from Hodder and Stoughton, one of the leading English publishers since the 1840s. All four printings are identical with identical dust jackets.

For some reason an extra chart was included in the fourth printing only. It is a graph with a timeline of which climbers reached and descended between April 12 and June 1953. It shows clearly who was the first up to each new elevation. The two summit attempts, Evans and Bourdillon, and Tenzing and Hillary, are shown with a bolder line to make them easy to pick up on.

Some previous owner took a of this copy removed the chart and tipped it into this copy of the first edition. It is located on pages 236-237, exactly where the narrative timeline of the expedition appears.

In 2003 the Auckland Museum devoted a large space to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest. On one wall they had an huge copy of this chart showing when Tenzing and Hillary made the first ascent. I (Michael Chessler) visited the museum and was very impressed with the displays. They even had a container from Hillary's Honey, the product that Hillary and his father and brother sold from their beekeeping endeavor.

The chart is so large (13'' high x 18'' wide) that we scanned it below in two images:





Ed Hillary and Michael Chessler at our bookshop in 1990.

London, 1953, 1st UK edition. 300 pp, 48 plates. If you want to collect just one book signed by Ed Hillary, this is probably the one to have. The official account of the first ascent of Mount Everest; this is the first book written about the climb. Chapter 16 on the on final assault was written by Edmund Hillary. Nice DJ, Near Fine - Fine.


SIGNED by Edmund Hillary, as Ed Hillary 
 
We personally obtained this signature in person in one of our several meetings with Edmund Hillary over the past twenty-five years. The photo above was taken in our bookshop around 1992.

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.



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