Cover Image: The Hunt for Mount Everest

The Hunt for Mount Everest

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Member Reviews

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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⭐⭐⭐⭐ -- 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**
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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.
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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.
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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.
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"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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Hunt for Mount Everest by Craig Storti tells the history of how Everest got its name, it’s title as the “tallest mountain in the world”, and how the English got the rights to climb it. Mr. Storti is a published author, and a businessman specializing in “intercultural communications and cross-cultural adaptation”.

This is not the standard book about Mt. Everest. The story starts when the English Empire was at its height, and ends before the famous 1953 expedition when Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary reached the summit.

The history of this most famous mountain is fascinating, and includes a whole bunch of colorful characters. In 1850 explorers already realized that the mountain might be the tallest in the world, but the closes they ever got to it was 40 miles away, for the next 71 years.

There were names I heard of like that of George Mallory, the 13th Dalai Lama, and George Everest. However, there were many I didn’t hear of such as Lord Curzon, Edward Whymper, Charles Bell, and to my surprise Francis Younghusband who contributed much to history.

The author doesn’t spend time on trivialities, but does tell the relevant parts of the story. A huge task when it comes to history, where sometimes a little, nuanced, action has large consequences.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has a pull to Mt. Everest. This can be seen by the list of books about it – along with mountaineering. This one, however, is an important book for those of us who want to more than just climbing adventures. These men who traversed continents and suffered hardships have interesting tales. Egos aside, they helped shape history, and the world as we know it.

Even though this book is from a European centric viewpoint, Mr. Storti does honor to the local population. He tells how they viewed the English, and of course, how the English mostly ignored their wishes or cultures.

The Hunt for Mount Everest by Craig Storti is a very enjoyable book, as it gives an interesting overview and history to the 1953 historic climb. While Hillary and Norgay get much deserved credit and fame, none of it would have happened if it the people in this book didn’t pave the way.
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One of my dirtiest secrets is that I love to read books about white dudes doin' an explore. I mean, most of the time I prefer to read about the ones that go horribly wrong, true (see my recent review of Madhouse at the End of the Earth), but that miasma of adventure and exploration that wafts off of the Victorian and Edwardian eras will sometimes just lodge itself into my brain and stick there. One of the most enjoyable things about this dirty secret, however, is that recently, there have been a glorious spate of books about all this - let's face it - colonialism that have been told with a wink and a nod, openly calling out all the horrible shit these dudes did and allowing themselves to be each their own lesson on why it is, in fact, a bad look to march into someone else's home and ask, "But do you have a flag?" They tell the undeniably interesting stories and histories from a more aware perspective, which, in my opinion, only makes those tales of adventure all the more riveting. And kind of funny. Schadenfreude is a bitch.

This was not one of those books.

Normally, these types of books fall into two categories: the one I mentioned above, the modern, culturally-aware kind that manages to sneak in a couple of laughs; or, of course, the Good Old Boys, the stories that glorify all the pillaging the British Empire and its questionable mustaches did. The Hunt for Mount Everest was... neither. It seemed to come from a modern point of view where obviously the starchy invasion of countries where the people were just fine without your so-called civilizing influence is a bad thing. But it also seemed to come from a place of almost willful naiveté when it came to the impact that the Raj and indeed the whole idea of "exploring exotic lands" might have had on the Himalayan region. The best example I can give is that, in a section about naming (or, more accurately, ignoring the well-established Tibetan name of Chomolunga that the British definitely knew about but were just racist enough to pretend that they were doing the local people some kind of favor when they renamed) Mount Everest, Craig Storti presents first-hand sources and accounts of contemporary research into the name of the mountain, and then explains how the British were kind of just like, "Yeah, but nah," without making a single comment about this colonial pattern of behavior. No opinion, no investigation, no nothing. Just, as they say, the facts, ma'am.

You can't write a book like this... like that. What that says to me is that you're trying to avoid what you, the author, feel might be a political landmine, or might alienate some readers, or you're genuinely not well-informed enough to have an opinion about. If that's the case, then you really don't have any business, in the year of sweet lord 2021, writing a book about Mount Everest. First of all, it's been done. Second of all, if aversion to inflammatory topics is your excuse, then you're complicit, and if it's because you aren't well-informed enough on the topic, it is literally your job to ask. You're literally writing a book on the topic. 

So yeah. This definitely didn't sit right with me and when I realized I was half of the way in and it was still reading like an introduction, I came to the conclusion that the problem was more integral than the plot itself was. Two stars because the historical facts are, indeed, very thorough. It just rings more than a little hollow, man.
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This was the best, most unexpected read of the year for me. I thought I was going to read about mountaineering but found myself reading a political thriller complete with British adventurism, the Great Game, imperialism, and, of course, the emergence of mountaineering as a sport. It was funny and informative and vast in scape. Highly recommended.
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It did take me a chapter or so to get into this book, but this was because I was picking it up and putting it down a lot. It’s a book that you need to take in good time chunks I feel.

Once I sat down and focussed properly I really started to get into this, then it became unputdownable…

It’s absolutely fascinating, from what these men achieved, to the downright unbelievable “colonial Britishness attitude”. I’ve learnt a lot from this book, and also did a lot of image searches on the internet to really help me understand exactly what they faced.

Just fascinating!

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review
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A fantastic addition to mountaineering literature. 

This book is set apart, as the author himself points out, by focussing on the years leading up to the first attempt on Chomolungma, rather than an on the first successful attempt. Storti vividly recreates the time period and the feverish excitement that was whipped up in the early years of the 20th Century as not only Geographers and explorers became interested in 'the Third Pole' but the British Imperial Government too. The author carefully sets the unfolding events against the backdrop of events that it subtly influenced, for example the Great Game and British control of India in a way that is informative but engaging for the reader and political developments are talked about in just enough detail to keep the reader's interest while not verging into a history lecture. 

My only criticisms are that it is rather Western-centric and it would have been nice to know what interactions local people in the area had with the mountain before and after the first attempts to summit Everest. I do accept that the author tries to address some of this but we were told the French were already printing about the mountain long before it's 'discovery' so I would have appreciated further explanation of this avenue, Additionally, towards the end the narrative became a little overwrought and could have done with some editing to keep pace and excitement. 

Overall I would highly recommend this not only to those interested in mountaineering but with how exploration has political implications or those with a sheer love of adventure!
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