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Incredible Ascents to Everest
Celebrating 60 Years Since the First Successful Ascent
Sumati Nagrath; foreword by Tom Whittaker

published 2013 • 9" x 11" • 224 pages • full-color throughout
ISBN 9781566569415 • hardback • $30.00

“Using both text and some stunning photos, Nagrath has provided engrossing summaries of the most interesting ascents over the last century. Included are the first British expedition, in 1921; the ill-fated climb by Mallory and Irvine, in 1924 (who may have actually reached the summit); and, of course, the final success by Hillary and Norgay. More recent ascents described include Messner’s solo climb without oxygen, Whittaker’s climb on his prosthetic leg, and the successful ascent by blind Eric Weihenmayer. Altogether, these stories remind us that there is nothing routine about climbing Everest, as storms, cold, thin air, and avalanches make it one of the most hostile environments upon earth."—Booklist

"Mumbai-based journalist Nagrath looks at the various firsts that ascent of Everest has produced. After a historical introduction-with a self photograph of George Everest himself-she presents a chapter on all pre-1953 expeditions. She makes use of many well-chosen historical photographs. Next she devotes a full chapter to Mallory and Irvine on the 1924 expedition: 'Were They the First?' Following chapters on the Hillary-Tenzing partnership and on the Sherpa, crucial to most ascents, the bulk of the book is on others who can claim Everest firsts, from men who have skied down its slopes to the first woman to reach the top; the first climber to summit without oxygen; Tom Whittaker, who ascended with a prosthetic foot in 1998; the blind Erik Weihenmayer, who ascended in 2001; and Min Bahadur Sherchan, who was almost 77 when he summitted in 2005. Nagrath folds related accomplishments (e.g., first double amputee; oldest woman) into these chapters. She then briefly covers five tragic expeditions, followed by an 1841 to 2012 timeline."—Library Journal


After seven weeks of climbing, at 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay reached the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. They were the first people to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest. News of their successful climb quickly made headlines around the world. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became heroes.

Soaring in height to 29,029 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level, Mount Everest is a geographical giant. Ever since it was established that the mountain is indeed the tallest in the world humans have tried to tame it. The terrain is treacherous, the weather unpredictable, and the atmospheric conditions extreme; danger of injury, illness, delirium, and even death is ever present. Despite this, over the last 90 years, hundreds of men and women have attempted this perilous journey to the peak, and many have lived not only to tell the tale, but bask in the warm glory of the fame that this achievement naturally brings with it. But it is more than a quest for fame that drives ordinary people to undertake this most extraordinary challenge of all.

For people like George Leigh Mallory and the men of his generation the challenge was not just personal, they were attempting to scale the mountain on behalf of humanity. It was 29 years after Mallory’s disappearance in 1924 that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to stand on the peak of Mount Everest. The mountain, it seemed, could be tamed. Those who came after were driven by a variety of reasons, but whatever their motivation, each of the climbers included in this book overcame extraordinary odds to reach the top of the world’s tallest mountain. In the process not only did they create history, they also shattered stereotypes to redefine the limits of possibility.

Sumati Nagrath is a writer, editor, freelance journalist, teacher, and academic. She has written numerous articles, profiles, and interviews in the Indian press including, India Today Travel Plus and Business World, India’s leading English-language business weekly. She was visiting lecturer at School of Social Science, University of Northampton, UK and taught at the School of Art and Design, Coventry University, UK. She now lives and works in Mumbai.

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