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Kingdoms Of Experience: Everest, the Unclimbed Ridge Paperback – 12 Jan 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (12 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841953768
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953762
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Allows us privileged insights into the minds of these adventurers . . . Canongate have chosen well in re-issuing this important mountaineering journal. (The Herald)

A classic in mountaineering literature...Recommended for all armchair adventurers who have ever wondered what it would be like to climb in the Himalayas. (Geographical Magazine)

A wonderful, gritty expedition book. (Chris Bonnington)

From the Back Cover

With an introduction by Chris Bonington

"A classic in mountaineering literature." Geographical Magazine

In March 1985, Mal Duff led a new expedition to conquer Everest by the unclimbed north-east ridge. The last attempt by a Chris Bonington team had ended in failure and tragedy - with the deaths of two great climbers, Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman.

Everyone knew the risks as well as the excitement of the challenge. In this extraordinary book, short-listed for the Boardman-Tasker Awards, Greig chronicles not only the assault on the peak but also the complex inter-relationships of nineteen very different personalities living together, yet each very much alone.

"Allows us privileged insights into the minds of these adventurers ... Canongate have chosen well in re-issuing this important mountaineering journal." The Herald

"A wonderful, gritty expedition book." Chris Bonington

Front cover photograph: North East ridge of Everest. Courtesy: Chris Bonington Picture Library. Design by James Hutcheson

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
The opening sections of this book feel like you are reading a Western. In 1985 Mal Duff finds that he can mount an expedition. The only problems are that he has no team and he has no money. He starts to recruit and he starts to fund raise. He builds his team - reliable people he has worked with before, people who have struggled in the past but he seeking a second chance, young guns (know throughout the book as "Boy Racers") who are looking to impress in places they have never been before. If you are familiar with the Magnificent Seven, you will recognize the structure, although Mal Duff ends up with a team of 19, not seven!

So a team of 19 climbers , or possible a number of teams totaling 19 climbers, attempt to climb the NE ridge of Everest. The last people to try were Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman - and they died in the attempt.

If the fact that the 19 climbers did not always work as one team is the central thrust of this very well written account, then the presence of Tasker and Boardman is the glue that holds the whole narrative together. The expedition is going "where only thoughts had trod since `82" and the knowledge that the bodies of Tasker and Boardman were still up there, somewhere, lost in the snow is a constant theme. At one stage even the "gear and hill food" that the dead men left on the "hill" are added to the calculations needed for the expedition to reach its goal.

In many ways this book challenges what the notion of success in mountaineering is. On one dies. On one losses fingers or toes. No one gets to the summit. Did the expedition fail or succeed?

The shear hard work, the repetative nature of a non-alpine style assault and the fear and doubt that fill the minds of climbers on such expeditions are wonderfully recreated.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Turning a non-success into a success 23 Jun. 2000
By Dwayne Schindler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a very accessible account of a second British attempt to summit Everest via the North East ridge organized by Malcolm Duff in 1985. A previous attempt in 1982 led by Chris Bonington (see Everest: The Unclimbed Ridge by Chris Bonington for more information about that attempt) had resulted in the tragic loss of two climbers, Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman. Since the author of the book, Andrew Greig, had only recently begun climbing, we are intiated into the inner world of the British mountaineering society at almost the same time that he is being initiated. This account focuses on the inter-relations among the diverse personalities of the climbers recruited for this attempt. In addition, to the authors first hand accounts and summaries of the various stages involved in organizing an expedition of this magnitude, we are given numerous journal entries from the other participants. I feel that this is an important dimension that is not always found in other books of this type. Typically, books on mountaineering are written by a single author even though numerous individuals have been involved in the climb. In this book, we are not limited to the author's opinion of how some of the other members were affected. Rather we can understand how they responded to the demands being placed on them in their own words. Another interesting aspect deals with how this diverse group of people come together to work as a team and how they are haunted by the memory of Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman. While no one in this group summited, personal bests for highest point attained were set by most of the participants. For those that climbed into the Death Zone (see Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and The Death Zone by Matt Dickinson), there was the realization that they were able to function at that level without supplemental oxygen. The book is very enjoyable and accessible. The commercialization of Everest has become a much debated topic since the tragic events of 1996 (again, see Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer). This book shows us what Everest was like prior to the hand-held guided tours that seem to be so favorable today.
Another Interesting Mountaineering Book 4 July 2014
By D - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I enoyed this second book about Himalayan mountaineering as much as the first and for the same reasons. Mr. Greig is skilled in letting the reader into the cloistered life of a climbing expedition deep in the heart of the world's great wilderness. We share in these people's private thoughts and their triumphs and failures.
I would say it's almost as good as being there in person but of course an experience like that is incomparable.
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