Cover Image: The Hunt for Mount Everest

The Hunt for Mount Everest

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Much like how the 1969 Apollo mission put an end to a curiosity much of mankind had developed about outer space, the 1953 Mount Everest expedition which put humans on top of the world and saw them come back down alive ended a long, arduous tussle between man and nature over whether the former could make it to the extremes of the latter whilst battling the elements. What's a smidgen more interesting, to me at least, than the Norgay-Hillary story, or the Armstrong-Aldrin-Collins achievement, is what went into making it happen.

Craig Storti's The Hunt for Mount Everest traces the beginning of the great imperial quest for this mountain, which began in the mid-19th century with the first official measurement of the peak and culminated decades later in the 1921 expedition which located a route to and reached the base of Everest.

Storti does an excellent job of tracing the roots of the mysticism that surrounds Everest, and sifts through the rigorously documented history with swiftness, introducing the reader to personalities aplenty: from George Everest, the man for whom the mountain was named in the West, to that great traveller Francis Younghusband, to Alexander Kellas, the unsung hero of the titular "Hunt", and George Mallory, who is as famous as the mountain herself.

The narrative is fast-paced without sacrificing on detail, and is vividly descriptive of India and Tibet. It's often easy to forget that the approach to Everest Storti is writing about is no longer the conventional one - Chinese occupation of Tibet for seven decades means few climbers approach it from that side, preferring to scale the Nepalese face of the mountain. More than anything else, the book is approachable (unlike the mountain) to a layperson, and is as much an account of history that seems almost quaint a century on as it is about an obsessive hunger to know more about the planet we reside on.

The one quibble I had with the book was a portion where Storti accorded Tenzing Norgay secondary status to Edmund Hillary, an unforgivable error for just how important the former is to mountaineering history.

Thank you, NetGalley and Nicholas Brealey US, for an ARC of the book.
Was this review helpful?
This was a truly gripping read, illuminating a story I wasn't familiar with before.  Indeed, probably very few people are familiar with the story of the "hunt" for Mount Everest in the late 19th century.  The idea that anyone would have to go find the tallest mountain on Earth is intriguing, to say the least.  Between the personalities of the men trying to get to Everest, the terrifying amount of peril involved in actually traveling to the mountain, and the remaining murkiness about the fate of its first two climbers, there is so much to sink into in this book.  One of the most interesting reads of the year for me!
Was this review helpful?
Wonderful true adventure tale. Well researched and well written. This book should be on a must-read list for all travelers, be they actual or armchair only. Having traveled to this part of the world myself many times, I found myself transported back in time to the wildness, cold. hardships, and ultimate mystery of the men in search of adventure. And it is an adventure that the reader can be a part of by reading this book.
Was this review helpful?
As someone fascinated by Mt. Everest I found this a enjoyable and informative read.
Well done to the writer on a well researched book. If you like reading about Mt.Everest this would one for you to pick up and read.  

Thank you Net Galley for the copy in exchange for my honest review!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Net Gallery for the Amazing Book.
Something exhilarating about this wonderful book-
Something you have always taken for granted is cast in a new light -
How did they ever even find the path onto the summit of Everest?
For someone who knew absolutely nothing about the history of the discovery of Everest this book was rich in detail and nuance with fascinating history - it’s also beautifully written so a joy to read and rather like going up a mountain as we finally get to meet Mallory the trail picks up new zest and after the early foothills one suddenly just can’t put the book down - and once I’d read it once I went straight back and reread it - it was so good - enjoy!
Was this review helpful?
The idea and attempt to write a book on the search for Everest works out better than the execution. Each of the chapters starts tied to the subject matter, but devolves into a detailed description of the person or events that are related to, but not about the search for Everest. While topics like the Great Game are needed to fully understand the context of the 19th century British control of South Asia and their incursions into Central Asia, detailed histories of Russian commanders did not contribute enough to the search for Everest to warrant its inclusion. This book is worth the read for those who are extremely interested in text topic and have read other books related to the tallest mountain in the world already.
Was this review helpful?
This book rich in history of Mount Everest and the climbers who dared to conquer it. Very interesting and knowledge enriching but it doesn't cover the recent endeavours of climbers. Over all a very rich historically important book.
Was this review helpful?
The kindle version as viewed on an iPad5 or Kindle Paperwhite5 was not able to be read. Is there a newer/corrected version? I cannot view this book at all. The text was impossible to follow.
Was this review helpful?
This tour of Everest through the ages was a bit too stale cracker style writing for my liking and that likely comes down to my enjoyment around Everest climbs and expeditions being rooted in the dramatic memoirs these adrenaline junkies share with us readers. This book does not touch on recent climbers, which is where I have received the most enjoyment concerning learning about Everest. Nevertheless readers will come away with additional knowledge and experience Everest in a more raw version, no computer, no GPS, no direct communication and limited mapping.
Was this review helpful?
⭐⭐⭐⭐ -- Love the cover on this one!

Prior to reading this book, my knowledge of the early explorers of Mt. Everest was limited. After reading this book, I feel like I have climbed mountains along with these "characters". This author did such an amazing job of making the history of Everest and its early explorers come alive. I was engaged throughout and often couldn't wait to pick up the book and dive back into the story. The only disappointment for me was that there were no photos in my review copy. I assume there will be in the final copy, just a bit of a bummer for us ARC readers. 🤷🏻‍♀️

**ARC Via NetGalley**
Was this review helpful?
The Hunt for Mount Everest is an engaging and informative read about the history of Everest and the various expeditions that have attempted to climb it. Craig Storti does an excellent job of weaving together the different stories and providing a well-rounded account of the challenges and successes of those who have attempted to summit the world's tallest mountain. The book is well-researched and provides a wealth of detail, making it an excellent resource for anyone interested in Everest or mountaineering.
Was this review helpful?
This book made my hikes up Scotland's Munros feel like a casual stroll! It was a well-researched and comprehensive book, albeit a bit euro-centric. The early history of mountaineering is fascinating and imagining how these major surveying projects functioned is just mind boggling.
Was this review helpful?
There are plenty of books out there about climbing Everest— Mallory's dream, Norgay and Hillary's victory and the disaster in 1996 among them. In our rush to the top, less known is the story of how we set foot at the bottom— no easy feat in its own right. Storti's book tells that story, starting with the observation of a peculiar shadow on the northern horizon from India in 1847, through how the location and height of the mountain were established, Storti explains the politics, negotiations and egos of the players who paved the way for Mallory and Bullock to set foot on the mountain in 1921. I absolutely loved this, a look into a lesser known history of a point of obsession for the entire globe. Mallory's famous answer to why he wanted to climb it was 'because it's there'. This book explains how we know what 'there' is, and how we got 'there' in the first place.
Was this review helpful?
"The Hunt for Mount Everest" by Craig Storti is a well researched and detailed historical account of the background, events, and people that led up to the British expedition to Mount Everest of 1921. Frequent quotation from primary sources makes the events come alive and the people feel real. The maps included are artistic and informative.  It was too bad that the review copy I received had no pictures in it, but since the Picture Credits section acknowledges a number of photos, I assume the final version includes historical photographs. Although the idea of adventuring into the unknown and discovering new things is certainly exciting, and finding the right route to the top of Mount Everest is certainly an accomplishment, claims of Westerners discovering and naming a mountain that was already well known by the locals feels somewhat uncomfortable. 

This was an interesting and educational book which gave me a chance to contemplate about the world long before smart phones, GPS, and universal availability of maps when overseas travel and communication took weeks or months. 

I thank the author and publisher for kindly providing a temporary electronic review copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
I've long been fascinated with the history and the stories of Mount Everest.  Two decades ago, I had the incredible privilege of meeting Jamling Norgay, the son of Tensing Norgay, Sir Edmund Hillary's Sherpa. Hillary and (Tensing) Norgay were the first climbers to successfully reach the Everest summit in 1953. Son Jamling also has history with the mountain, including a climb in 1996, the year the disastrous tragedy unfolded and 12 climbers lost their lives. He later helped document the ill-fated journey in the IMAX movie Everest. Hearing Jamling's stories and learning more about his perspective as a Sherpa left me longing to learn more about the earlier expeditions and the history of the almost mythical mountain. 

Craig Storti's new book is the perfect vehicle to fill my longstanding void.  It details the complicated backstory of the mountain, including the geographical and political restrictions that prohibited Westerners from approaching the giant from within a hundred miles.  Meticulously researched but written in a flowy prose style, this book beautifully dovetails exacting history with epic rugged adventure.
Was this review helpful?
This fascinating book tells the story of the early days of the exploration of Everest. Whilst most books focus on the 1953 summit of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary & Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, or tales of subsequent adventures, this book starts many years earlier & culminates in 1921, where most other narratives start!  
The story starts when the English Empire was at its height, and tells the story of the struggle to find the mountain and a way to its base, which of course had to be done before it could be climbed! I had naively assumed that the mountain was not conquered sooner due to lack of gear (clothing, oxygen etc) or similar, but in fact whilst surveyors could see the high peak from some distance away and assumed that it may be the world's tallest, they couldn't actually get to it because the countries it borders, Tibet and Nepal, were closed to foreigners. Today, most ascents of Everest use the Nepalese southern side of the mountain, however in the early 20th century, Nepal was completely closed to foreigners. This left the Tibetan North side, and a friendship between the 13th Dalai Lama & Charles Bell, who had spent many years working for the Viceroy of India in Lhasa, resulted in an entry pass being granted for the expedition. 
The book follows the rather ramshackle group as they map & survey the hitherto unexplored area, and translated the skills they had gained in the Alps to the very different terrain and altitude of Himalayan climbing. Along the way there are unexpected moments of politics, imperialism and upper-class privilege mixed in with the adventure, and this brought some slightly uneasy moments that wouldn’t happen today when we have a better understanding of other cultures & respect all people as equals. We also see the very real perils of such adventures as various members of the group become ill or injured, and how a mistake with fitting camera plates resulted in 2 “lost days” where they had to retrace their steps to retake key images rather than continuing to explore that unusual little stream (which could well have resulted in the discovery of the East Rongbuk Glacier and a way to the summit sooner!)
However, George Mallory and Guy Bullock became the first westerners, and likely the first humans, to set foot on Mount Everest, and their explorations & challenging climbs resulted in discovery of a potential route to the summit via the North-East Ridge, paving the way for future adventures and of course the famous summit in 1953. 100 years on from this initial discovery/exploration of Everest, it’s time that some of the names of those who did the initial, and very critical, exploratory work are remembered as widely as those of Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay!
It did take me a couple of attempts to get into the book, but once I did, I just wanted to keep reading! It’s not so much a pick up & put down type book but one to read a chunk at a time as there are a lots of dates, names & facts to absorb but the excellent research is what makes it such an absorbing & interesting book. 
Overall, an absolutely fascinating read that covers history that I have never encountered before, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in 20th Century history, the British Empire, mountaineering, and much more.
Was this review helpful?
Fascinating and colourful look at the finding and climbing of Everest. We are taken on a journey looking at the geopolitical situation in the area and how relations were between locals, the British and notably the Russians. The history of conquering peaks, be they in the Alps or around Everest was clearly outlined in a novel way. The story centres on Younghusband and we start and end with him and his exploits and comments. A lot of dates and names to contend with which doesn’t always make for a fluid read, but an interesting one.
Was this review helpful?
A painstakingly-researched meticulously-detailed historical account of the decades-long quest to the foot of the roof of the world's Peak XV filled with political intrigue, hobnobbing empire representatives, and suspenseful mountaineering set against the historical backdrop of pre-WWI colonial power-wrangling and interrupted by two world wars. Though not light reading, the journey sheds light on the unique physical and psychological challenges particular to the surveying and summiting of Everest. A book for a rarified crowd, detail-oriented history buffs will relish this reference complete with bibliography and index that culminates with George Mallory's marveling at the terrific geologic behemoth.
Was this review helpful?
I wish I could have connected better with the writing style of this author; I am fascinated by the subject matter but just couldn't get into this one.
Was this review helpful?
Many books have been written about the attempts to climb Everest.  However, this book takes us back to basics, to the struggle to even find the mountain and a route up it.  We begin with a history of gaining access, as Tibet and Nepal refused foreign visitors for decades.  We learn about the British Government's attempts, via India, to gain access for mapping and surveys, and the brave men who developed the skills they had gained in the Alps to the very different terrain and altitude of Himalayan climbing.  

I was left saddened that the names of men like Alexander Kellas have disappeared from history, despite having done an incredible amount of work to survey the area and being so committed to the Himalaya.  His death before he could even assist Mallory in the 1921 expedition was incredibly sad, but it was fitting he was buried in sight of the mountain he never climbed.  Equally, the mountain should really have been named after George Mallory and not the surveyor George Everest, who, along with another forgotten climber Guy Bullock, was the first to set foot on the mountain itself.

Occasionally the chapter structure leaps around rather oddly, but over all it is a thorough and interesting account of how determined men were to climb the world's highest peak.

Thank you to NetGalley and Nicholas Brealey US for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?