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Item #: BK1425-939
ERIC SHIPTON: THE SIX MOUNTAIN TRAVEL BOOKS Eric Shipton 1997 Hardcover DJ Fine
By Shipton, Eric
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Detailed Product Description

1997. 800 pp, 100+ b/w photos. Thick hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

Shipton's climbing and exploration books are essential reading for all lovers of Everest and Himalayan literature. Includes Blank On the Map, Nanda Devi, Upon That Mountain, Mountains of Tartary, Mount Everest Reconnaissance, Land Of Tempest. 

Eric Shipton (1907-1977) is generally accepted to be one of the great mountain explorers of the twentieth century, an exemplar of self-reliant and simple travel. He began climbing in the little-visited Dauphine region of the Alps in the twenties, and on Africa's Mount Kenya. Throughout the thirties he was continually traveling and climbing in the Himalaya and the Karakoram. He made the first ascent of Kamet in 1931 (the highest peak to be climbed at that time), explored the approaches to Nanda Devi (1934), mapped and explored the remote glaciers and mountains north and west of K2 (1937 and 1939) and played a major part in four attempts on Everest.

The names of his companions on these journeys read like a pre-war hall of fame; Smythe, Tilman, Longland, Wager, Wyn Harris, Odell, Greene, Auden, Spender (the last two being brothers of the famous writers). During the war and until 1951 Shipton served as a diplomat, representing his country in Persia, Hungary and as Consul-General in Kashgar and Kunming in the Sinkiang region of China. This career ended abruptly with the end of the Chinese Nationalist regime.

In 1951, having escaped just in time from Communist China, he was back in the Nepal Himalaya to lead the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition, the first to test the mountain's southerly defenses by climbing the Khumbu Icefall to the brink of the Western Cwm and thereby providing the key to the successful ascent in 1953. This was followed by the Cho Oyu expedition in 1952 - intended as a training exercise for an Everest attempt the following year. There followed a period of Establishment intrigue which ended with Shipton being ousted from the leadership of the 1953 expedition in favor of Hunt. This setback was a major disappointment to him which he bore with dignity. He recovered and, liberated from the constraints of fame, spent many of his later years wandering amongst the mountains, fjords and icefields of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

The written record Shipton left of this lifetime's grand obsession with mountain exploration is one of the unique documents in mountaineering literature. This volume collects together for the first time six of his books, all of them long out-of-print and difficult and expensive to obtain.Nanda Devi, his first book, is the account of an almost legendary journey undertaken with H. W. Tilman in 1934 up the Rishi Gorge into the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Blank on the Map, in which he tells of the 1937 Shaksgam Expedition was a major contribution to exploration literature, and opened the path to post-war climbing in the Karakoram. It is still highly valued (and sought after) by would-be Karakoram climbers for its unique information on many coveted peaks. Upon That Mountain is an early autobiography in which he records his activities in East Africa, his Kamet ascent and his four pre-war Everest expeditions.

Shipton's post-war books began with The Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition 1951 - basically a picture book, but it contained a short text which is essential reading in the history of the mountain, and for those interested in the surrounding ranges which were explored by members of the expedition. The two later books, Mountains of Tartary and Land of Tempest, on climbing in Central Asia and Patagonia respectively, reveal Shipton as a writer at his best - a relaxed and engaging observer of romantic natural environments and of human activities amongst them. Written in a fresh and lucid style, they are shot through with light humor and charged with an immense zest for discovery, for the experience of those exciting moments in mountain exploration, when a new vista of unknown territory is revealed.


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