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THAT UNTRAVELLED WORLD: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY Eric Shipton 1977 2nd UK ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Shipton, Eric
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London, 1977, 2nd UK edition. 286 pp, 16 ills. Brown cloth hardcover with dust jacket. Fine. 

Eric's autobiography; his only major book not included in the 6 book collection. 

ERIC SHIPTON 1907 - 1977

Eric Shipton is unquestionably one of the greatest mountain explorers of the twentieth century, and was the first to develop the concept of lightweight, self-reliant expeditions, so important to mountaineering today. Shipton is perhaps best-known for his part in five Everest expeditions, and it is his legacy to have paved the way for the historic 1953 ascent. Many of the regions in which he travelled - Everest, Garhwal Himalaya, the Karakorams and Chilean Patagonia - still remain remote challenges today.

Having honed his skills in the Alps as a young man, Shipton made the second ascent of Mount Kenya in 1929 and began his famous partnership with Bill Tilman in the first traverse of that massif in 1930. These climbs set a new benchmark in unsupported mountain travel. A year later he took part in the first ascent of Kamet, and in 1933 was a member of the Everest expedition in which he made one of the highest ascents to date with Frank Smythe. These were large heavyweight expeditions, and Shipton quickly realised that huge mountain areas were still to be explored and that much could be achieved at negligible cost. It was this vision that took him and Tilman to the Garhwal Himalaya, where, in 1934, they were the first people ever to enter the enigmatic Nanda Devi Sanctuary, in a six-month, wide-ranging expedition that cost a mere 200.

This achievement inspired the Mount Everest Committee, then with limited funds at its disposal, to appoint Shipton to lead the 1935 Everest expedition. Shipton was keen to demonstrate how much could be done with one-tenth the budget of the previous 1933 mission and just a fraction of the disruption caused to the local countryside. The 1935 expedition will stand as simply one of the greatest mountain explorations of all time, reaching the North Col for a late season reconnaissance and then climbing twenty six peaks over 20,000ft around the northern perimeter of Everest in an unsurpassed extravaganza of peak bagging. On more than one occasion they looked over the watershed into Nepal and onto the Western Cwm, which sixteen years later Shipton showed was the final route to the top of Everest. All this was achieved with a party of seven westerners and a group of Sherpas, who included his three companions in Nanda Devi, and the young Tenzing Norgay on his first Everest climb. As well as Shipton himself and Tilman, the team of seven westerners included the New Zealand ice expert, Dan Bryant. Shipton's liking for Bryant led him to accept Hillary and his fellow Kiwis onto his 1951 reconnaissance.

Shipton went on to take part in both the 1936 and 1938 Everest attempts, and make his great Karakoram journeys in 1937 and 1939. Having spent much of the war in Kashgar in Central Asia as a diplomat, he used this position to make remarkable journeys in the mountains of this remote region, many with his old companion Tilman. In 1951 he led the reconnaissance of Everest from the South. The small party, which included the young Hillary, discovered the route to the summit, and mirrored the 1935 expedition in the enormous amount of new country explored. One of Shipton's many journeys uncovered the now notorious yeti's footprint photographed next to an ice axe. This team, and the expedition he led to Cho Oyu the following year, were the foundation for the 1953 team, but it was Shipton's fate to be overlooked for that historic year.

Shipton's later explorations took him to new ground in the then unexplored regions of Southern Chile. Amongst many other achievements, he made the first traverses of the Patagonian ice cap, and the first ascent of several peaks in Tierra del Fuego, including the highest, now called Monte Shipton. His adventures carried on almost to the day he died in 1977, the same year that Tilman disappeared at sea.


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