by George Band
This book, authorised by the Mount Everest Foundation, was first published with the imprimatur of the Royal Geographical Society and the Alpine Club to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Everest's conquest by the late Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing Norgay on May 29, 1953. George Band, the youngest member of the expedition, had access to the society's extensive records of the expeditions preceding that led by John Hunt, which would take more than six weeks to negotiate the 12,000 vertical feet from Base Camp to the summit. Half the book is given over to the mountaineers who paved the way, much of the rest to those who followed. The climb is dispatched in 40 tight pages. Everest has been climbed more than 1,100 times since Band noted tersely in his journal: 'A lively evening. Finished off the rum. Sick as a dog.'