Magazine article Geographical

Everest: A Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Conquest of the World's Highest Mountain

Magazine article Geographical

Everest: A Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Conquest of the World's Highest Mountain

Article excerpt

EVEREST: A Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Conquest of the World's Highest Mountain

by George Craig

Carlton, hb, 16.99 [pounds sterling]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It's interesting to learn that the Surveyor General of India, for whom Everest was named, objected to the idea; he would have preferred that it was known by its local name. George Everest died within a year of 'Everest' being officially adopted by the Royal Geographical Society, and more than 160 climbers have since perished attempting to conquer his namesake.

The most famous of these remains, of course, George Mallory, and this volume--which covers the mountain's history from 1885 to the present--includes, somewhat surprisingly, a picture of his body, recovered in 1999, and extraordinarily well preserved by the forces that killed him. The notion of the romantic failure means that Mallory will always be one of the more heroic figures associated with the mountain, but Craig details many grades of valour.

Failure might mean, at worst, death, but triumph, it turns out, isn't always an unmitigated joy: on achieving a solo ascent in 1980, Reinhold Messner felt 'heavy as a stone', 'I was leached, completely empty. …

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