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HOWARD-BURY, C. K., C. G. Bruce, & E. F. Norton.

[The Everest Trilogy:] Mount Everest: The Reconnaissance, 1921; The Assault on Mount Everest 1922; The Fight for Everest: 1924.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Edward Arnold & Co., 1922; 1923; 1925

Stock Code: 131332

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First editions, first impressions, of these comprehensive and important first-hand accounts of the first attempts to climb Everest. Howard-Bury "led a diverse expedition of surveyors, climbers, and military officers, which achieved the goals of surveying Everest and finding a route to the summit for later climbers" (ODNB); C. G. Bruce "was too old to take part in the climbing, but his knowledge of Himalayan languages and military organization, his cheerfulness and joviality, and the Gurkhas he brought to organize the porters all contributed to the expedition's success. Captain John Geoffrey Bruce (1896-1972), a Gurkha officer and Bruce's cousin, and George Ingle Finch, a chemist, supported by Lance-Naik Tejbir Bura, a Gurkha NCO, reached a record elevation of 27,300 feet (8,310 metres) using oxygen" (ODNB); E. F. Norton "took charge of the difficult third Everest expedition when Bruce fell ill. After many crushing setbacks, and hazards owing to blizzards and ferocious winds, Norton led the first serious summit attempt. Again he climbed without oxygen, an aid for which he had little respect. At 28,000 feet his companion, Somervell, was stopped by severe throat trouble and Norton continued alone to a height of 28,126 feet. He reached the great couloir on the north face, which later became popularly known as Norton's couloir. This, too, was an altitude record, and it was fifty-four years before anyone climbed higher without oxygen. Another summit bid was undertaken a few days later by Mallory and Andrew Comyn Irvine, from which neither man returned. Norton handled this tragedy and the publicity it engendered with impeccable dignity, and his dispatches from Mount Everest after the loss are among the most lucid and moving examples of mountain writing. He also wrote the greater part of the official expedition book, The Fight for Everest, 1924" (ODNB).

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3 works, large octavo. Original dark blue, dark red, and dark green fine diaper-grain cloth, gilt lettered spines and front covers, blind-stamped panel to front covers.


2 photogravure frontispieces, one colour frontispiece, numerous monochrome plates from photographs, 7 folding maps.


Vol. I: front panel of jacket tipped to front pastedown; vol. II: bookplate of United Service Club (dated by hand December 1923), nicks to foot of slightly rolled spine, old pale splash mark on back cover and light rumpling, inner hinge cracked at gutter of penultimate opening; vol. III: touch of damp-staining to head of back cover and pastedown, slight knock to fore-edge of back cover, rear free endpaper creased; general scattered foxing, overall a very good set, partly unopened, the gilt bright.


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