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Item #: OP327D-9623p
EVEREST THE WEST RIDGE 1965 1st ed Large Format Hardcover DJ Near Fine SIGNED & DATED May 22, 1963 by Tom Hornbein
By Hornbein, Thomas F.
Price: $400.00


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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. Book and DJ are Near Fine to Fine.

This book is large and heavy and we will request extra postage for Priority Mail or International Mail.

SIGNED & DATED May 22, 1963 by Tom Hornbein. That is the day Tom and Willi summited; also the same day Barry Bishop and Lute Jerstad summited, and all 4 bivouacked and lost toes.


An image of this large hardcover book with the dust jacket off. 

The book is in excellent condition. 




'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

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.


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