Mountains Of Travel Photos
Home | Everest Main | Contact 

Updated: August 2010. Click on an image to see the FULL size with a caption.

Everest Books

The following reference information is included:

My rating scale: Excellent ; Very Good ; Good ; Fair ; Poor.


Everest First Ascent Books


Chomolonzo and Makalu From Mount Everest South Col, with Kangchenjunga on the horizon - South Col book cover

Top: Anulla near crest of Geneva Spur on May 21, 1953 with Everest South Summit behind. Bottom: First view of South Col on the afternoon of May 21, 1953 with remains of Swiss tents from 1952 attempts. - South Col book

Top: South Col looking southwest with the 1953 British Mount Eveest Expedition Camp VIII tents and Nuptse behind. Bottom Left: South Col looking west down the Western Cwm. Bottom Right: South Col looking North to the Mount Everest South Summit

1. South Col

by Wilfrid Noyce. First published 1954. One of Michael Chessler's Top 100 Mountaineering Books. Noyce uses his detailed personal diaries to tell his view of the first ascent of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on May 29, 1953. Wilfred Noyce and Sherpa Anulla pushed the route to the South Col on May 21, 1953. There is a 1-page colour photo, 48 pages of b/w photos, 4 maps, 1 route.

In addition to describing his own activities on the expedition, Noyce also observes the personalities and actions of the other expedition members. John Hunt's strong and well-liked leadership, mountaineering skill, and dedication to their success shine through. After returning exhausted to Camp VII from his summit attempt, Tom Bourdillon still has the energy and thoughtfulness to help Noyce light the stove. "I admired nothing on the expedition more than this little feat."  The team gets along extremely well.  and 's use of oxygen plays a large part. Noyce describes the challenge on the body to climb at high altitude ("the rest of me laboured painfully, gasped and groaned"), and the struggle on the mind to just to lie in the tent, get up, cook, and clean dishes.

The expedition goes very smoothly from the trek to base camp, climbing through the icefall and up the Western Cwm but they struggle with the Lhotse Face. Noyce finally gets his chance to lead:  "However much true virtue may delight in tasks like the bear-leading of Sherpas over the difficulties of a known route, there is a zest of adventure beyond compare in the unknown." Noyce and Sherpa Anulla push the route to the South Col, "and then suddenly nothing was immediately above us any more. We were on a summit, overlooked in this whole scene only by Lhotse and Everest. And this was the scene long-dreamed, long hoped. ... a space of boulders and bare ice perhaps four hundred yards square, absurdly solid."

Noyce again climbs to the South Col on May 29, makes tea and carries it above the Col to assist Hillary and Tenzing on their descent. "George [Lowe] was waving his axe. 'They've done it!!' He pointed his axe towards the top. ... That meant Everest climbed, job done. Good - wonderful. Now we can go down. No more problems. ... Do you know what Ed said when I met him first? George [Lowe] asked, squatting over the cookery. "He said, 'Well, we knocked the bastard off.' " The book closes with nine of Noyce's poems, including A Prayer For Everest, "Others succeed. Here be content, the thought: I have done my part.", and The South Col, "What are men here? What have they done? A heap of rags here, Yellow and Brown."

Noyce describes the expedition in more detail and with more depth of character than Hunt's official book. The book is easy to read, has a good pace, and Noyce keeps things interesting. The photos are very good, especially photos of and from the South Col.


The Picture Of Everest book cover

Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans reached the Everest South Summit on May 26, 1953. Charles Evans is looking for the first time at the final ridge which leads to the top of Mount Everest. - The Picture Of Everest book

Edmund Hillary, wearing his inimitable hat and check shirt, is turning on the oxygen for Tenzing Norgay as they prepare to leave base camp for the summit of Mount Everest. - The Picture Of Everest book

Mount Everest First Ascent. Edmund Hillary's classic photo of Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953 - The Picture Of Everest book

2. The Picture Of Everest

by John Hunt. Published 1954. This larger format photographic book contains the best 43 full-page colour photos from the 1953 Everest British Expedition taken by Alfred Gregory, Edmund Hillary, John Hunt, George Lowe, George Band, Charles Wylie, and Tom Bourdillon. These photos "show the fascinating country of Nepal and the highest mountain in the world."

The photos are excellent. A very good companion book to South Col or The Ascent Of Everest book.


Everest North Face - Mountaineering In China book cover

Proceeding cautiously on a snow-covered rocky slope at 8000m on Everest North Face First Ascent 1960 - Mountaineering In China book

Triumphant return to Base Camp after the First Ascent of Everest North Face in 1960 - Mountaineering In China book

3. Mountaineering In China

Compiled by the People's Physical Culture Publishing House, 1965. A black and white photographic book detailing the birth of Chinese Mountaineering, and their ascents Minya Konka (1957), Mustagh Ata (1959), the first ascent of the Everest North Face (May 25, 1960), Mount Kongur Tiubie (1961), and Shishapangma (May 2, 1964). The front cover is the Everest North Face.

The chapter on Everest is 44 pages long with two pages in colour, detailing the first ascent of Mount Everest North Face on May 25, 1960 by Weng Fu-chou and Cha Ying-hua from China and Gonpa from Tibet. Climbing at night and running out of oxygen, "Wang Fu-chou resolutely declared, 'We'll press ahead!' 'Sure, we will!' responded Chiu Ying-hua and Gonpa in one voice. ... They wrapped a plaster bust of Chairman Mao Tse-tung in the five-star national flag of China, placed it in the crevice of a great rock to the northwest of the summit"


Sketch of Mount Everest sticking up above the Nuptse-Lhotse South Wall - The Ascent of Everest book cover

Everest First Ascent: Edmund Hillary's photo of the Everest summit ridge, including the Hillary Step, from the Everest South Summit on May 29, 1953 - The Ascent of Everest book

Everest First Ascent: Edmund Hillary's classic photo of Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953 - The Ascent of Everest book

4. The Ascent of Everest

by John Hunt. Published 1953. The British expedition leader describes the first ascent of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on May 29, 1953 at 11:30. There are 8 pages of colour photos, 48 pages of b/w photos, 2 maps, 2 routes, and 27 small sketches. The appendix contains a chonology of the expedition, preparations, plans, equipment, oxygen, diet, physiology and medicine.

John Hunt became the leader of the British Expedition to Mount Everest on Sept. 11 1952. The team members were deputy Charles Evans, Tom Bourdillon, Edmund Hillary, George Lowe, Charles Wylie, Michael Westmacott, George Band, Wilfrid Noyce, Tenzing Norgay, doctor Michael Ward, stills photographer Alfred Gregory. Hunt briefly describes selecting the team, planning, the preparations, and the trek to Base Camp. They fairly quickly solved the first challenge of the Khumbu icefall, and then into the Western Cwm to the foot of the Lhotse Face. The Lhotse Face was a far bigger challeng, taking 12 days before Wilfrid Noyce reached the South Col on May 21, 1953.

The first summit team of Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon reached the South Summit on May 26, 1953. "Then quite suddenly the angle eased, and almost at once they found themselves standing upon the South summit of Everest, at about 28,700 feet. It was 1 o’clock. Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon had climbed higher on Everest by many hundreds of feet than anyone had ever climbed before." It was too late in the day so they turned around and descended.

On May 28 the second assault team of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary reached Camp IX at 8500m. The next morning Tenzing and Hillary left their high camp at 6:30, reaching the South summit at 9:30. Edmund Hillary: "We looked with some interest at the virgin ridge ahead. ... After an hour’s steady going we reached the foot of the most formidable-looking problem on the ridge – a rock step some forty feet high. ... On its east side was another giant cornice, and running up the full forty feet of the step was a narrow crack between the cornice and rock." Hillary climbed what is now called the Hillary Step with Tenzing on belay, and then continued plodding towards the summit. "We shook hands and then Tenzing threw his arm around my shoulders and we thumped each other on the back until we were both almost breathless. It was 11:30 a.m." Hunt thinks the summit success was due to the teamwork of the members, learning from their predecessors, detailed planning, and excellent equipment, especially the oxygen. Hunt: "The ascent of Everest seems to have stirred the spirit of adventure latent in every human breast."

The writing is very straightforward, a bit boring at times. The photos are very good.


Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the Everest Southeast Ridge at 8320m on their way to Camp IX on May 28, 1953 - Alfred Gregory's Everest book cover

The sheen on the ice of the Lhotse Face glistens in the hot sun as Wilfrid Noyce and the Sherpas move towards Camp IV. The Lhotse Face was probably the biggest challenge for the expedition, taking 12 days before Wilfrid Noyce reached the South Col on May 21, 1953. - Alfred Gregorys Everest book

The two 1953 Mount Everest assault parties back together at base camp. From left to right are Charles Evans, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay still roped together, Tom Bourdillon, and George Band. - Alfred Gregory's Everest book

Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary pose for an official portrait after returning from their first ascent of Mount Everest - Alfred Gregory's Everest book

5. Alfred Gregory's Everest

by Alfred Gregory. Published 1993. The offical stills photographer of the 1953 Everest British Expedition, Alfred Gregory has captured 113 b/w photos, full page or larger, in this photographic book about the first ascent of Mount Everest. Gregory climbed all the way to 8320m and therefore does does not have any photos of the Everest South Summit, the summit ridge or the summit.

The photos are very good.


Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in the couloir at 8320m on the way to camp IX on May 28, 1953 - John Hunt Our Everest Adventure book cover

Everest, much foreshortened, and the top of the Geneva Spur seen from the traverse on the Lhotse Face. - John Hunt Our Everest Adventure book

Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary relaxing drinking a hot cup of tea after returning from their first ascent of Mount Everest - John Hunt Our Everest Adventure book

6. John Hunt Our Everest Adventure

Published 1954. The pictorial history of the 1953 Mount Everest British expedition from Kathmandu to the summit. This larger format mainly photographic book has about 150 b/w photos, 2 maps, and 3 sketches. Most of the photos are different from The Ascent Of Everest book. The text is short excerpts from John Hunt's The Ascent Of Everest book.

The photos are very good.

Top Of Page


Everest Books

Everest mountain climbing is featured in many books. Here are my favourites:


Into Thin Air Illustrated Edition (Jon Krakauer) book cover

Rob Hall and Jon Krakauer - Into Thin Air Illustrated Edition (Jon Krakauer) book

Anatoli Boukreev, Mike Groom, Jon Krakauer, Andy Harris, and a long line of climbers on the Everest upper Southeast Ridge, with Makalu behind, on May 10, 1996 - Into Thin Air Illustrated Edition (Jon Krakauer) book

1A. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster (The Illustrated Edition)

by Jon Krakauer. Published 1997. The illustrated edition was published 1998. One of Michael Chessler's Top 100 Mountaineering Books. My personal favourite mountaineering book of all time. Krakauer provides a day-by-day journal to tell the chilling, harrowing and controversial story about the 1996 Everest season when 12 climbers were killed. He describes the trek to Everest Base Camp, the acclimatization climbs to Camps One, Two and Three, the final climb by 34 climbers towards the Everest Summit, the descent to the South Col, the killer storm, the rescues and failed rescues, and the descent off the mountain. The Illustrated Edition contains almost 250 b/w photos to bring the story to visual life. The photos are by Jon Krakauer, Neil Beidleman, Klev Schoening, Scott Fischer and others.

"In March 1996, Outside magazine sent [Jon Krakauer] to participate in, and write about a guided ascent of Mount Everest", on Rob Hall's Adventure Consultants expedition. In addition to Hall's eight clients, Scott Fischer's Mountain Madness guided expedition also had eight clients. Scott Fischer: "We've got the big E figured out ... we've built a yellow brick road to the summit." Krakauer did reach the Everest summit on May 10, 1996 at 13:10. Worrying about his dwindling oxygen, he left the summit after just five minutes, finally making it back to his tent on the South Col at about 18:45, "more exhausted than I'd ever been in my life." "The storm abruptly metastasized into a full-blown hurricane, and the visibility dropped to less than twenty feet ... nineteen men and women were stranded up on the mountain by the storm, caught in a desperate struggle for their lives."

Two guides, two Sherpas, and seven clients had reached the South Col, but "staggered blindly around in the storm, growing ever more exhausted and hypothermic." In a small break in the storm, Camp Four was slightly visible. "Pittman, Fox, Weathers, and Namba were too feeble to walk", so Neil Beidleman, Klev Schoening, Lene Gammelgard, the two Sherpas, and Mike Groom stumbled off into the storm, making it back to the tents on May 11 at 00:45. Fisher's guide Anatoli Boukreev had descended to Camp Four in advance of his clients, and was the only strong climber left. Boukreev courageously single-handedly attempted to brave the storm to rescue the missing climbers, but had to return to the tents. But Boukreev didn't give up. He went out again by himself and was able to find the climbers, and brought back first Charlotte Fox and then Sandy Pittman and Tim Madsen. Yasuko Namba was dead and Beck was a lost cause.

Rob Hall waited for Doug Hansen to reach the summit at around 16:00, but Hansen turned into a "zombie" on the descent. Andy Harris picked up oxygen from the South Summit and walked back up towards Hall and Hansen. "at 4:43 on the morning of May 11 ... [Hall] had descended to the South Summit. And at that point neither Hansen nor Harris was with him." The continuing storm on May 11 stopped the Sherpa's rescue attempt. Rob's pregnant wife in New Zealand was patched through to speak to Rob late on May 11, " 'I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much.' These would be the last words anyone would her him speak."

Scott Fischer was not very strong on summit day, and reached the summit late at 15:40. Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa was able to help Fisher descend, but he collapsed just below the Balcony about 400m above the South Col. Anatoli Boukreev reached Fisher late on the evening of May 11. "Down suit is unzipped, pulled off his shoulder, one arm is outside clothing. There is nothing I can do. Scott is dead."

Amongst the tragedy, there was a ray of joy. Beck Weathers collapsed on the South Col late on May 10 and was left for dead. Miraculously he regained consciousness on May 11 and stumbled back to Camp Four at 16:35 with his "bare right hand, naked to the frigid wind and grotesquely frostbitten ... outstretched ... [looking like] a mummy in a low-budget horror film." Beck miraculously survived the night and the IMAX team with David Breashears and Ed Viesturs helped him descend to Camp Two the next day. Lt. Colonel Madan Khatri Chhetri rescued Beck from Camp Two in his helicopter on May 13.

Krakauer's writing is excellent, providing enough information, but keeping the story tight and to the point. He provides his inner thoughts and comments candidly on his own performance and mistakes, and the other clients and guides. Rob Hall's last minutes speaking to his wife are almost too heartbreaking to read. The photos are absolutely excellent. Although Krakauer is critical of Anatoli Boukreev's guiding practices, he fully acknowledges Toli's extraordinary performance in single handedly rescuing three clients during the storm. For a rebuttal from Anatoli Boukreev, read The Climb.


Klev Schoening And A Long Line Of Climbers On Everest Southeast Ridge on May 10, 1996 - The Climb (Anatoli Boukreev) book cover

Site of Camp IV at South Col and key points of the May 10-11, 1996 Everest Tragedy - The Climb (Anatoli Boukreev) book

1B. The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest

by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt. Published 1997. Boukreev tells his side of the 1996 Everest tragic events in this rebuttal to Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air book. The book provides additional insights into the tragic events using quotes from 9 climbers from a debrief back at Everest Base Camp on May 15, 1996. There are 13 pages of colour photos, a one-page bw photo, 1 map, and 1 route diagram.

The book describes how Toli became a guide for Scott Fischer's Mountain Madness first attempt at guiding Everest. He describes the build up to the expedition like getting the permit and arranging for the oxygen bottles, and then the trek to Base Camp and the acclimatization climbs. Boukreev was not a hand-holding kind of guide. Boukreev: "Some of [the clients] ... had the idea that a guide should control all the situations they might encounter. I would just wonder, 'What is going to happen to them when there is nobody to hold their hands.'"

Boukreev climbed towards the summit on May 10 without oxygen. He took charge at the South Col and personally roped the knife-edge Southeast Ridge and the Hillary Step. Boukreev stayed on the Everest Summit on May 10, 1996 from 13:07 to about 14:00, and then descended ahead of his clients. Toli briefly spoke to Fisher at the top of the Hillary Step. "the most logical thing for me to do was to descend to Camp IV as quickly as possible, to stand by in case our descending climbers needed to be resupplied with oxygen. ... [Fisher] saw our situation the same way and we agreed that I should go down." Boukreev reached Camp IV on the South Col at around 17:00.

The story continues with the slow descent to below the Balcony, the rising storm, and the 'dogpile' of guides, Sherpas, and clients wandering around the South Col. As the tragedy unfolded, Boukreev single-handedly braved the storm to rescue three of the climbers. At around 19:00 on May 11, Boukreev reached Scott Fischer who had collapsed just below the Balcony. "I saw the zipper of his down suit open, one hand without a mitten, frozen. ... I can do nothing. I can do nothing."

The writing is fairly straightforward. I liked reading Boukreev's personal observations. The photos are very good. Sadly, Anatoli Boukreev died when an avalanche hit him on December 25, 1997 on the Annapurna South face.


Ed Webster crossing the Crevasse using a Tyrolian traverse - Everest: Kangshung Face book cover

Everest Kangshung Face close up - Everest: Kangshung Face book

Stephen Venables back at the South Col after a harrowing descent and bivouac at 8600m after reaching the summit of Mount Everest on May 12, 1988 - Everest Kangshung Face book

2. Everest: Kangshung Face (also called Everest: Alone at the Summit)

by Stephen Venables. Published 1989. This book starts off almost as a guide book for the trek to the little known and little climbed Everest East, or Kangshung face. The trek is spectacular, with the culmination being the best mountain view in the world in my opinion: Chomolonzo, Makalu, Kangchungtse, Petangtse, Shartse, Lhotse Shar, Lhotse, the South Col, and the dramatic snow covered Everest east face.

The 1988 climb itself is dramatic and dangerous, illustrated with spectacular photos, like the one on the cover showing a Tyrolean traverse across an enormous crevasse. Stephen Venables reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 12, 1988, only the second summit from the Kangshung East side. Venables descent from the summit in a blizzard is as chilling and frightening as Maurice Herzog's Annapurna, with Stephen having to bivouac just below the summit. At one point in his descent, he sits in the snow and considers just staying there and dying.

The story is very exciting. The photos are excellent. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Stephen Venables on my trek to Kangshung Face in 1998.


The last photo of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine as they leave the Everest North Col on June 6, 1924 - Ghosts Of Everest book cover

Approaching the Mallory and Irvine search area from Camp VI - Ghosts Of Everest book

George Mallory's boot and socks found on Everest in 1999 - Ghosts Of Everest book

3A. Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine

by Jochen Hemmleb, Larry A. Johnson, Eric R. Simonson, William E. Nothdurft. Published 1999. The 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition discovered the body of George Mallory high on Mount Everest. And what a sight it was - his alabaster body perfectly preserved with his beard stubble still visible.

The book contains the known history of June 6, 1924 along with Jochem's atempt to piece together what might have happened. The photographs of Mallory and his personal effects, including his boot, watch, letters and pocket knife, are fascinating. The following websites contains lots of information and photos: affimer.org, and Nova.


Everest North Face - An Afterclap of Fate Mallory on Everest book cover

3B. An Afterclap of Fate: Mallory on Everest

by Charles Lind. Published 2006. The perfect companion book to Ghosts of Everest (or is it the other way round?). In this winner of the 2006 Boardman Tasker Prize, Lind reconstructs Mallory's fateful 1924 climb, beautifully written in almost a poetic style. He tells the story from the perspective of what he thinks Mallory may have been thinking, basing it on Mallory’s letters, what is known of his life and climbing ability, and the findings of the 1999 expedition that found his body. He also provides lots of background on the times that Mallory lived in to help explain what he is thinking. Here are a few of my favourite excerpts:

We come to the mountains to live life more intensely … to be in the full current of the concentration of our vital senses … not to die but to experience the marrow of our being.

Let’s start to look for cracks in the rock, the natural fault lines in its defences. ‘It’s only difficult if it’s not impossible’.

If I should die … think only … some snowy terrace of a foreign mountain … forever England ... I must get back … back to England

To speak the name of the dead is to make them live again …


Everest North Face - The Crystal Horizon book cover

Reinhold Messner climbing Everest North Face - The Crystal Horizon book

Reinhold Messner on Everest Summit after his solo ascent on August 20, 1980 - The Crystal Horizon book

4A. The Crystal Horizon: Everest - The First Solo Ascent

by Reinhold Messner. Published in German in 1982 and in English in 1989. Just two years after breaking the oxygen barrier by climbing Everest from Nepal without the aid of oxygen in 1978, Messner ups the ante by climbing alone, without oxygen, and alpine style up the North Face of Everest in the summer months of 1980. He carried only a tent, camera, two ski sticks and an ice axe, and food. His base camp is just him and a female friend. There are 40 pages of colour photos, 43 pages of b/w photos, and over 175 b/w photos in-line with text.

Messner fell into a crevasse before even starting the climb to the North Col. "I am falling into the depths and experience the fall in slow-motion, strike the walls of the widening crevasse once with my chest, once with my rucksack." Luckily he landed on a snow bridge and was able to climb out and continue the climb. He veered off the normal North Face route above the North Col and climbed the Norton Couloir. "I know of no mountain, no other region from which there is such an infinite view as from Mount Everest across the Tibetan plateau."

"During the ascent I am like a walking corpse. What holds me upright is the world around me: air, sky, earth, the clouds. ... No despair, no happiness, no anxiety. I have not lost the mastery of my feelings., there are actually no more feelings. ... Above me nothing but sky. I sense it." Reinhold Messner completed the first solo climb of Mount Everest when he reached the summit on August 20, 1980 at 3pm.

Messner's writing is interesting and poetic, letting us know his feelings and inner-most thoughts. The photos are very good and help illustrate the story, including photos from the 1920s and early Everest attempts, of Messner's trip from Lhasa to Base Camp, the climb and on the summit in a whiteout.


Reinhold Messner On K2 Summit on July 12, 1979 - To The Top Of The World book cover

Reinhold Messner on Everest Summit after first ascent without oxygen on May 8, 1978 - To The Top Of The World (Reinhold Messner) book

Reinhold Messner on Everest Summit after first ascent without oxygen on May 8, 1978 - To The Top Of The World (Reinhold Messner) book

4B. To The Top Of The World

by Reinhold Messner. First published in English in 1992. The book briefly describes Messner's ascents of Manaslu in 1972, Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) in 1975, Everest without oxygen in 1978 and solo in 1980, Nanga Parbat solo in 1978, K2 in 1979, and the traverse of Gasherbrum II and I in 1984. The cover is the summit of K2. There are 56 pages of colour photos, 20 pages of b/w photos, 26 b/w photos in-line with text, and six colour paintings by French artist Jean-George Inca highlighting the stories in the book.

The chapter on Everest without oxygen in 1978 has 8 pages of colour photos, a 2-page colour painting by Inca, and is 15 pages long with a 1-page b/w photo, 3 b/w photos in line with text, and a 1-page drawing of his 1978 climbing route. The story begins with Messner climbing the Lhotse Face, and tape recording a conversation with Peter Habeler on the South Col. Even though the weather was bad and the snow deep, they made it to the South Summit in good time. "Breathing was so strenuous that strength scarcely remained for us to continue." Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler completed the first ascent of Mount Everest without oxygen when they reached the summit on May 8, 1978.

"I was no longer my normal perceptive self, rather a single, tight, coughing lung, floating above mists and summits. ... The instant Peter reached me and hugged me, we both burst into tears and lay there in the snow, wracked with emotion. ... Everything that is, that I am, was based on my knowledge that I had reached the top. The summit - at least temporarily - was my naive, intuitive answer to the question of existence."

The chapter on Everest solo in 1980 has 8 pages of colour photos, a 1-page colour painting by Inca, and is 43 pages long with 8 pages of b/w photos, 4 b/w photos in line with text, and a 2-page drawing of the different Everest ascent routes. "In the blue of the night Mount Everest stood over me like a magic mountain. No brooding, no asking why; I prepared myself with every fibre of my being for my big effort." Messner carried only a tent, camera, two ski sticks and an ice axe, and food on his Everest solo climb. Messner fell into a crevasse before even starting the climb to the North Col. Luckily he landed on a snow bridge and was able to climb out and continue the climb. He veered off the normal North Face route above the North Col and climbed the Norton Couloir. "Day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute, step by step, I was forcing myself to do something against which my body rebelled. ... I no longer felt real. I was a creature shifting in space and time. Nevertheless, I kept moving."

Reinhold Messner completed the first solo climb of Mount Everest when he reached the summit on August 20, 1980. "It was after three o'clock. Like a zombie obeying an inner command, I took some photographs. ... I squatted down, feeling as heavy as a stone. I just wanted to rest a while and forget everything."

If you want a Best Of Messner book, this is a great choice. The stories are short and action packed. The photos are very good. Messner's writing is interesting and poetic, letting us know his feelings and inner-most thoughts.


Everest Southeast Ridge and South Col from Lhotse - Everest The History of the Himalayan Giant 1997 book cover

Everest North Face - Everest: The History of the Himalayan Giant book

Everest Southwest Face At Sunset - Everest: The History of the Himalayan Giant 2007 book cover

Everest North Face Summit Area - Everest: The History of the Himalayan Giant 2007 book

5. Everest: The History of the Himalayan Giant

by Roberto Mantovani, introduction by Kurt Diemberger. Originally published in 1997, this book was republished in 2007, with 36 pages added with updates for the climbs from 1995 to 2006, including even more spectacular photos.

This is an excellent coffee-table type book with spectacular photos and some good information. The book contains a detailed history of the discovery of the mountain by Sir George Everest, the attempts to climb Everest over the years from Mallory to Hillary, and the significant climbs since then.


Everest First Ascent Southwest Face - Dougal Haston on Everest summit September 24, 1975 - Everest The Hard Way book cover

Everest First Ascent Southwest Face - Doug Scott on Everest summit September 24, 1975 - Everest The Hard Way book

Everest First Ascent Southwest Face - Pete Boardman and Pertemba on Everest summit September 26, 1975 - Everest The Hard Way book

6. Everest The Hard Way: The First Ascent Of The South West Face

by Chris Bonington. Published 1976. The over 80 pages of colour photos, including spectacular ones as Doug Scott and Dougal Haston climb the Hillary Step, climb towards the summit and stand on the summit as the sun goes down, are enough to buy this book. Note that the original US edition of this book is slightly smaller than the England version and has less photos.

I found Chris's personal experiences and writing a bit dry at times, a littler too logistical. I liked the sections from the diaries of climbers, which gave glimpses of their thoughts and personalities. The summit day was entirely written by Doug Scott and Dougal Haston. The Appendix sections on the logistics of the expedition fill almost half the book, and are not overly interesting.

This large scale expedition combined the effort of 40 Sherpas, 16 climbers, and Chris Bonington's planning, to get the summit climbers into position. Although he didn't have a chance at the summit, Nick Estcourt was instrumental in solving the problem of the Rock Band and had led the most difficult pitch on the face.

On September 24, 1975 Doug Scott and Dougal Haston successfully made it to the summit. Doug: “All the world lay before us. The summit was everything and more that a summit should be. My usually reticent partner became expansive, his face broke out into a broad happy smile and we stood there hugging each other and thumping each other’s backs. … the view was so staggering, the disappearing sun so full of colour that the setting held us in awe." They descended to the South Summit and survived a bivouac in a snowcave.

On Sept. 26 Pete Boardman and Sirdar Pertemba reached the summit and descended in a gathering storm, where they encountered Mick Burke just below the summit. But tragedy struck - Burke wasn't seen again. Martin Boysen: “At first I could hardly accept Mick’s death; I clung to slender hope, but with each passing hour all hope disappeared, torn and blown away by the raging winds and blizzard."


Everest sunset from Kala Pattar - Everest Mountain Without Mercy book cover

Scott Fischer Photo Of Climbers Descending From Everest Hillary Step May 10, 1996 At 4pm - Everest Mountain Without Mercy book

David Breashears Filming Using IMAX Camera On Everest Summit May 23, 1996 - Everest Mountain Without Mercy book

Jamling Tenzing Norgay On Everest summit May 23, 1996 - Everest Mountain Without Mercy book

7. Everest: Mountain Without Mercy

by Broughton Coburn, David Breashears (Afterword), Tim Cahill (Introduction). Published 1997. A second companion book to Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, this coffee-table-type photographic book details David Breashear's climbing team, led by Ed Viesters and featuring , and his filming team in the making of their wildly successful IMAX Everest movie. They put their own summit plans on hold to participate in the rescue of the climbers in the 1996 Everest disaster. The story of survivor Beck Weather is astounding. Ed Viesturs, David Breashears, Jamling Tenzing Norgay, Robert Schauer, and Araceli Segarra reached the Everest summit on May 23, 1996.

The book also provides information about Nepal, Buddhism, Sherpas, and a climbing history of Everest.


Climbing White Limbo on Everest North Face - White Limbo book cover

Climbers stare at Everest North Face - White Limbo book

Greg Mortimer On Everest Summit October 3, 1984 - White Limbo book

8. White Limbo: The First Australian Climb of Mount Everest

by Lincoln Hall. Published 1995. This book features spectacular photos from Colin Monteath. In 1984 five young Austrailians chose a new route up the North Face, climbing through the huge central snowfield, dubbed “White Limbo,” to gain the Great Norton Couloir. They climbed alpine-style without the aid of artificial oxygen. "At 7:45 p.m. Tim and Greg reached the West Ridge. A couple of apparently insignificant rock bands had given more involved climbing than planned and that had slowed them down. But now the North Face had been climbed. The final snow slope to the summit took another half an hour. Just on sunset, shortly after eight o'clock, Greg and Tim stood on top of the world." Tim McCartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer became the first Australians to climb Everest when they stood on the summit at sunset on October 3, 1984. Tim: "Well, this is the summit of Mt Everest ... Qomolangma ... Mother Goddess of the Earth. It's the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen."

Lincoln turned back at 8300m with cold feet, and on the last page of White Limbo he wrote, "Though I shall never see the summit panorama other than through the eyes and hearts of Tim and Greg, I know that no view is worth that price." Lincoln returned to try Everest again in 2006, and made international news when he was rescued from the Second Step at 8700m on the North face, after being pronounced dead the previous evening.


Lincoln Hall Back At Everest ABC After Surviving Descent - Dead Lucky book cover

Lincoln Hall Just Below Everest Summit May 25, 2006 - Dead Lucky book

As dawn approached on May 26, 2006, Dan Mazur, Jangbu Sherpa, Andrew Brash and Myles Osbourne found Lincoln Hall sitting near Mushroom Rock, confused but alive - Dead Lucky book

9. Dead Lucky

by Lincoln Hall. Published in 2007. Hall tells the story of his miraculous survival when he was presumed dead high on the Mount Everest North Face in 2006. There are xx pages of colour photos.

After a failed attempt in 1984, Lincoln Hall returned to Everest in 2006 to be the camera man for an attempt by a young Australian. Hall describes the drive to base camp, the acclimatization climbs, and the many deaths on the mountain in 2006, including David Sharp. When his client dropped out, Hall continued the climb and reached the Everest summit on May 25 at 9am. "The crest of the summit itself rose like a small breaking wave, creating a final half-metre-high step. I paused for an extra breath then stepped up onto the highest point on the planet. Eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty metres. I was alone on the roof of the world."

On the descent after passing the Third Step, Hall collapsed, becoming: "a delirious, unaccomodating person ... staggering a few steps, collapsing in the snow, muttering nonsense, refusing to cooperate." The Sherpas tried dragging him down the mountain, but gave up as night approached. "After lying totally motionless in the snow at 8600 metres for two hours, I had been pronounced dead, with the probable cause of death being cerebral oedema."

"I was no longer capable of distinguishing between the reality of the mountain and the fabrications of my mind. ... I was exhausted, frostbitten and alone on the summit ridge of Everest. I had begun the decline, which would finish with me freezing to death. ... The horror of this realization snapped me into complete lucidity. I knew I had to escape from this awful predicament."

Hall contrasts what is happening to him on Everest with his wife, family and friends, who were told he was dead. The next morning Dan Mazur, Andrew Brash, Myles Osbourne, and Jangbu Sherpa found Hall, who was able to speak coherently with them, but still suffering hallucinations. They compassionately put off their own summit attempt to stay with Lincoln for hours until two Sherpas could arrive to lead him down. The descent turned into a nightmare when the two Sherpas threatened him if he didn't keep going down, and eventually did hit him with their ice axe. Hall was happy to meet the other Sherpas and made it to the North Col at dusk on May 26. Hall finishes the book with his trip back to base camp, Kathmandu, and dealing with all the press attention in Kathmandu and back home in Australia, and some conjectures on why he survived while others died.

I like Hall's writing style - engaging, simple, straightforward, and to the point. Hall describes in chilling vivid detail his hallucinations as he struggled to survive. The photos are very good.


Unsoeld and Hornbein Approaching the Everest West Ridge - Everest: The West Ridge book cover

Climbing Hornbein Couloir 1963 - Everest: The West Ridge book

Sunset On Everest Summit With American Flag May 23, 1963 - Everest: The West Ridge book

10. Everest: The West Ridge

by Thomas Hornbein. Published 1965. If you can, get the first edition of this book published in 1965 by the Sierra Club - it's a huge coffee-table sized book with the colour photos printed on special lithograph paper.

The 1963 Mount Everest Expedition had two major successes. First, Jim Whittaker became the first American to summit Everest on May 1, 1963, via the South Col. The second was a major feat of mountaineering, when Thomas Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld summitted Everest on May 23, 1963 by the extremely difficult West Ridge. Before summiting they had to move onto the North face, climbing what is now called the Hornbein Couloir. They then traversed the mountain and descended via the South Col route, having to bivouac near the summit without any food, supplemental oxygen, or shelter.

"What possible difference could climbing Everest make? …Was I greater for having stood on the highest place on earth? …It had been a wonderful dream, but now all that lingered was the memory. The dream was ended… The goal, unattainable, had been attained. Or had it?" - Thomas Hornbein.


Mirsoslav Caban On Everest Summit May 17, 2002 - Everest & Oyu book cover

Everest North Face Camp II, Camp III, Everest Second Step - Everest & Oyu book

Approaching Everest Third Step - Everest & Oyu book

Last 50m To Everest Summit took 45 minutes - Everest & Oyu book

11. Everest & Oyu

by Miroslav Caban. Published 2005. The book describes the author's Cho Oyu attempt and successful Everest North Face summit in 2002. He includes details of the changing weather forecasts and excerpts from his expedition log and copies of Emails from home. "There's the soul, the mind, and the body, working together in perfect harmony, striving for maximum teamwork, the goal of which is a short moment spent at the top spot of the planet." There are 56 pages of colour photos, 2 of them 4-page panoramas. There are 16 pages of colour photos dedicated to the Cho Oyu attempt.

The book starts with Miroslav Caban and his climbing partner Milos Palacky flying to Kathmandu and Lukla to attempt an acclimatizing trek to Moro La. After returning to Kathmandu, they drive to Tingri in Tibet and Cho Oyu Base Camp, and trek to Cho Oyu Advanced Base Camp (5700m). They acclimatize by climbing to Camp I (6400m) and Camp II (7200m) where "The weather turned incredibly fast. It was a hurricane in the Himalayas with winds of over 200 km/hour." After surviving three days pinned down by the storm they retreated to base camp, and after a rest started their last try at the summit. They struggled through deep snow, making it to 7800m before turning around because it was too late and their primary goal was to acclimatize for Everest. "This was our victory - a safe return."

After a brief rest in Tingri, they drive to Everest North Base Camp, and trek to Everest ABC (6400m). They climb to the North Col, where their porter deserts them. They ask their expedition agent to find another porter, and Milos waits for him at the North Col while Miroslav continues alone to Camp II (7500m), "determined to undergo the battle for the summit with all my powers, both physical and mental". Milos feels sick and decides not to continue, while Miroslav continues to Camp III (8300m). The new porter arrives, carrying only a bit of food, but no tent. Miroslav tries to persuade other mountaineers and Sherpas to let him sleep in their tents, but to no avail. He has to pay a Sherpa $100 to let him sleep in his tent.

Miroslav continues climbing alone without oxygen towards the summit. As he nears the summit, he sits down "I couldn't hold it back: exhaustion, sentiment, and joy brought water to my eyes. Now I'm gushing tears like a little kid, but I'm not ashamed. My life's goal is before my eyes." Miroslav Caban reached the Everest summit at 11:30 on May May 17, 2002. "The weather is beautiful. I step onto it with my right foot. My fantastic dream has become a reality. Here I am on the highest spot on the planet. ... The warm feeling of satisfaction I had from having organized the whole expedition myself heated my body."

The photos are absolutely excellent. This is a very entertaining, humorous and exciting read. His emails from home remind you that daily life continues at home, and accentuates the loneliness he often feels. Miroslav comes off a bit naive at first, getting sick drinking water, people ripping him off, hassles with jeep drivers and yak herders, and porters deserting him. Despite a very small budget that causes many issues, especially with porters, the author adapts to each new situation and preservers his seat-of-the-pants climb.

Top Of Page


Everest Miscellaneous Mountaineering Books

Everest is also featured in many general mountaineering books. Here are my favourites:


Alex MacIntyre on the ridge between the Shishapangma Main Summit and the Central Summit May 28, 1982 - Climbing The Worlds 14 Highest Mountains book cover

Everest North and Southwest Faces, Lhotse and Nuptse at sunset - Climbing The Worlds 14 Highest Mountains book

Lhotse East Face and Everest East Kangshung Face From Makalu - Climbing The Worlds 14 Highest Mountains book

1. Climbing the World's 14 Highest Mountains: The History Of The 8000-Meter Peaks

by Richard Sale, John Cleare ((Photographer). Published 2000. Highly recommended! The book details the exploration, first ascent, and other major ascents of all 14 8000m peaks, including spectacular photos.


Dhaulagiri South Face - Over the Himalaya book cover

Everest Summit section with Northeast and Southwest Ridges - Over the Himalaya book

2. Over the Himalaya

by Koichiro Ohmori. Published 1998. One of Michael Chessler's Best Mountain Photo Books. This book features 44 spectacular 2-page aerial photos of the 8000m Nepalese mountains - Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest and Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri (cover) - and several others, including Jannu, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. Route diagrams and some basic history of the first few ascents are also included.

There are seven 2-page photos of the Everest, Lhotse and Makalu region - Everest is in 6 of the photos, Lhotse in 5, Makalu in 5, and Nuptse in 3.


Just a few metres to the Mount Everest summit from the Everest North Face - 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For book front cover

Simone Moro on the summit of Mount Everest - 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For book

Mount Everest northeast and north faces - 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For book

3. 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For

by Simone Moro. Published 2008. In Italian and English. This coffee-table size book features excellent photos from all 14 8000m peaks. Each 8000m peak has a brief history, a photo of each face showing the climbing routes, and lots of excellent photos.

There are 21 pages on Mount Everest. Simone Moro's first Himalayan expedition ended at 7400m on Mount Everest in 1992. His attempt on the Everest North ridge in 1998 ended at 8200m due to bad weather. Simone Moro reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 24, 2000 via the Southeast Ridge. He reached the summit of Mount Everest for a second time on May 24, 2002 via the Northeast Ridge. Moro abandoned the idea of a Lhotse-Everest traverse in 2006, and instead Simone completed a traverse of Everest. He reached the summit of Mount Everest for the third time on May 20, 2006 climbing in only 4:11 from the South Col, arriving at the summit at 3:15 in the dark. He then descended in just five hours to reach Everest North Advanced Base Camp at 8:30 in the morning.

The photos and route diagrams are excellent.


Doug Scott - Doug Scott: Himalayan Climber book cover

Everest First Ascent Southwest Face - Dougal Haston climbing the Everest Hillary Step on September 24, 1975 - Himalayan Climber book

Everest First Ascent Southwest Face - Dougal Haston and Doug Scott on Everest Summit on September 24, 1975 - Himalayan Climber book

4. Doug Scott: Himalayan Climber: A Lifetime's Quest to the World's Greater Ranges

by Doug Scott Published 1997. One of Michael Chessler's Best Mountain Photo Books. Scott details his many climbs over the years.

In 1975 Scott and Dougal Haston successfully climbed the South West face of Everest. He dedicates 15 pages to the climb, including spectacular photos as he and Dougal climb the Hillary Step, climb towards the summit and stand on the Everest summit on Sept 24, 1975 as the sun goes down. He also includes a 6-page section on his attempt to climb the North-East ridge of Everest in 1987.


Ed Viesturs high on Manaslu - Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants book cover

Ed Viesturs On his first Everest Summit May 8, 1990 - Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants book

Three climbers take their last steps to the Everest Summit May 23, 1997 - Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants book

5. Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants

photographs by Ed Viesturs, text with Peter Potterfield. Released in early 2003, this book presents photographs with some basic text descriptions of Viestur's ascents of 11 of the 14 8000ers. After this book was published he reached the summit of Nanga Parbat in June 2003, Broad Peak in July 2003, and on May 12, 2005 he reached the summit of Annapurna, becoming the first American to reach the summit of all 14 8000ers, all without oxygen. The front cover is Manaslu.

Viesturs devotes 59 pages to his attempts on Everest in 1987, 1988 East Kangshung Face, 1993 and 1995, and his successful summits in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1996, and 1997. Ed was part of the 1996 Everest IMAX movie, and on his own way to the summit he had to pass the bodies of Scott Fischer and Rob Hall who had died days before. "I had never had a friend die, let alone a climbing partner. So seeing my friends' bodies was very difficult."

Ed's photos are excellent.


Chris Bonington after first ascent of Central Tower of Paine in 1962 - Chris Bonington Mountaineer book cover

Mount Everest Southwest Face, South Col, Geneva Spur, and Lhotse Face from the summit of Nuptse - Chris Bonington Mountaineer: Thirty Years of Climbing on the World's Great Peaks book

Everest East Kangshung Face and Everest Northeast Ridge - Chris Bonington Mountaineer: Thirty Years of Climbing on the World's Great Peaks book

6. Chris Bonington Mountaineer: Thirty Years of Climbing on the World's Great Peaks

by Chris Bonington. This edition printed 1996. Famed British mountaineer Chris Bonington tells his autobiography mostly in photos in this coffee-table type book. The book features his early climbs in Great Britain; his alpine climbs in the Alps including Mont Blanc, the Eiger and Grandes Jorasses; his expeditions around the world including Paine in Chile, Baffin Island and the Blue Nile; and his expeditions both large and small to the Himalayas and the Karakorum - Annapurna II, Nuptse, Annapurna I South Face, Everest Southwest Face, Everest Northeast Ridge, the Ogre, K2, and Menlungtse.

Bonington devotes 16 pages to the 1972 and 1975 South-West Face expeditions with Doug Scott and Dougal Haston reaching the summit on Sept. 24, 1975, followed two days later by Pete Boardman and Sirdar Pertemba. Sadly, Mick Burke was last seen just below the summit.

Nine pages are dedicated to the 1982 attempt on the North-East Ridge that ended with the tragic deaths of Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman. Four pages are dedicated to his own ascent of Everest in 1985.

Bonington's photos are excellent.


Rob Hall and Gary Ball After Their First Guided Ascent Of Everest 1992 - Hall and Ball book cover

Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse At Sunset From Pumori - Hall and Ball book

Rob Hall and Gary Ball on Everest Summit May 10, 1990 - Hall and Ball book

Adventure Consultants 1996 Everest Expedition: Standing: John Taske, Stuart Hutchison, Helen Wilton, Beck Weathers, Lou Kasischke, Michael Groom. Seated: Doug Hansen, Susan Allen, Jon Krakauer, Andy Harris, Rob Hall, Frank Fischbeck, Yasuko Namba. - Hall and Ball book

7. Hall and Ball: Kiwi Mountaineers from Mount Cook to Everest

by Colin Monteath. Published 1997. This book details the climbing adventures of fellow-kiwis Gary Ball and Rob Hall, including three chapters, 48 pages, on Everest. The photos are excellent. Other chapters include Mount Cook, Antarctica, Ana Dablam, Pik Kommunizma, Karakorum, Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri, Carstenz Pyramid, and Lhotse - Cho Oyu - Makalu.

Hall and Ball will be remembered for pioneering commercial guided expeditions, leading 19 climbers to the top of Everest from 1992 to 1995. The book has some good stories including the Lydiagate controversy of 1988, rescuing a Polish climber from the top of the Lho La in 1989, and turning Chantel Maudit around at the South Summit in 1995.

"This is Rob Hall calling from the top of Mount Everest. My very best friends Gary Ball and Peter Hillary are standing beside me. I know there are many New Zealanders listening and to the many people who believed in us and supported us over the years I'd like to say "Thank you very much" - Rob Hall May 10, 1990.

On October 6 1993, six months after his fortieth birthday, Gary Ball died of pulmonary edema at 6500m on the Northeast Ridge of Dhaulagiri, in Rob Hall's arms. Hall finished the obituary with this moving sentiment: "Some people come into your life and leave footprints across your heart-and they never go away."

Rob died in May 1996 on the South Summit of Everest. "I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much." -- Rob Hall's last words to his wife.


Piotr Pustelnik nears Shishapangma Main Summit on Oct 6, 1993 after climbing the Southwest Face - Los Ochomiles: Karakorum e Himalaya book cover

Everest North Face Beyond Second Step - Los Ochomiles: Karakorum e Himalaya book

Everest Summit in 1992 With Makalu Beyond - Los Ochomiles: Karakorum e Himalaya book

8. Los Ochomiles: Karakorum e Himalaya: las catorce cumbres más altas del mundo

by Marco Bianchi. Published 2003. Although the title claims to be the 14 highest summits in the world, this beautiful, large-format photo book really focuses on the seven mountains the author climbed. The text is in Spanish, but the photos transcend language.

After attempts on Makalu in 1986 and Cho Oyu in 1989, Bianchi summitted seven of the 14 8000m peaks: Manaslu Sept. 28 1992 via Northeast Face, Broad Peak July 6 1993 via Normal route, Cho Oyu Sept. 18 1993 via West Ridge, Shishapangma Oct. 6 1993 via Southwest Face, Dhaulagiri Sept. 25 1994 via Northeast Ridge, Everest May 12 1995 via Northeast Ridge, and K2 Aug. 10 1996 via North Ridge. The front cover is Shishapangma.

There are four pages of the Tibet approach from Kathmandu, and 20 pages on Everest from his climb of the North face. The photos are excellent.

You can preview many of the photos at cuboimages.it by searching for Everest.


Looking down from the Northeast Ridge of Kangchenjunga - All Fourteen 8000ers (Reinhold Messner) book cover

Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler left a short length of rope and the camera batteries used to film their ascent without oxygen tied to the Chinese Everest summit tripod in 1978 - All Fourteen 8000ers (Reinhold Messner) book

Reinhold Messner (centre) just above the North Col on Aug 18, 1980 on his Everest solo climb - All Fourteen 8000ers (Reinhold Messner) book

9. All Fourteen 8,000ers

by Reinhold Messner. Published 1999. One of Michael Chessler's Top 100 Mountaineering Books. Messner briefly details his ascents of all 14 8000m peaks, documented with his photos. He also includes route diagrams and some basic history of the first few ascents.

On May 8, 1978 Messner and Peter Habeler climbed Everest from the Nepal side, the first ascent without the aid of artificial oxygen.

On August 20, 1980, Messner made the first solo ascent of Everest, climbing without oxygen, over the North Col and following a partly new route across the North Face.


Kangchenjunga Southwest Face from Jannu - Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks book cover

Mount Everest North Face at sunset from West Shoulder- Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks book

Colin  Monteith photo of the summit area of Everest on Oct 3, 1984, showing the upper part of the Hornbein Couloir. Tim McCartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer are miniscule red figures just below the Everest summit. - Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks book

10. Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks

by Andy Fanshawe, Stephen Venables. Published 1996. This book briefly details 40 of the world's finest climbs on mountains in Pakistan (including Broad Peak, K2 and Nanga Parbat), India, Nepal and Tibet (including Annapurna, Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga). Each climb is illustrated with many excellent photos, climbing routes, and summary statistics and information. Each area has an excellent overview map. The front cover is Kangchenjunga.

There are 8 pages on Everest North Face direct.


Matterhorn summit ridge with Monte Rosa beyond - World Mountaineering: The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers book cover 

Climbing the Hillary Step on Mount Everest (Kurt Diemberger) - World Mountaineering: The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers book

11. World Mountaineering: The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers

by Audrey Salkeld. Published 1998. The book briefly details 52 of the world's finest climbs, including Kangchenjunga, documented with photos, excellent aerial-type maps, and a basic climbing history.

It includes a spectacular 2-page photo spread of the Hillary Step with the summit beyond, taken by Kurt Diemberger during his ascent as a member of the 1978 French Everest Expedition.

It also has a 2-page article about the successful 1995 North Face climb by George Mallory II, the grandson of George Mallory.


Christine Janin leads the way for Marc batard On Everest Summit Ridge Oct 5, 1990 - Peaks Of Glory book front cover

Chris Bonington photo of Odd Eliassen, Bjorn Myrer-lund and Pertemba On Everest Summit Apr 21, 1985 - Peaks Of Glory book back cover

12. Peaks Of Glory

by Stefano Ardito. Publishd 1993. This is a large coffee-table style book with excellent photos, briefly listing the most challenging mountains on each continent, including Everest, Annapurna, Nanga Parbat, K2 and the Trango Towers in the Himalaya, and K2, Denali and Aconcagua, and Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

The photos of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are spectacular. The front cover photo shows the final steps to the summit of Everest with Lhotse behind, while the back cover photo shows a happy summit team.

Top Of Page


Everest Photo Books

Everest is also featured in many travel photo books. Here are my favourites:


Annapurna South Face - Nepal: Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan, Annapurna, Mustang, Everest (Lonely Planet Pictorial) book cover

Top left: Island Peak from Dingboche. Top right: Pumori from Gorak Shep. Middle: Khumbu Glacier from Kala Pattar. Lower left: Cholatse and Taweche from Gokyo Ri. Lower Right: Makalu from Dingboche. - Nepal Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan, Annapurna, Mustang, Everest Lonely Planet Pictorial book

Everest North And Southwest Faces At Sunset From Scoundrels Viewpoint North of Gokyo - Nepal Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan, Annapurna, Mustang, Everest Lonely Planet Pictorial book

1. Nepal: Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan, Annapurna, Mustang, Everest (Lonely Planet Pictorial)

by Richard I'Anson. First published 2007. A large coffee-table type book featuring over 400 photos from renowned photographer Richard L’Anson. Chapters include Kathmandu and Kathmandu Valley (112 pages), Chitwan (20 pages), the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary (54 pages), Upper Mustang (20 pages), and the Mount Everest Khumbu region (51 pages). The front cover is Annapurna South Face.

The Everest chapter includes Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Thami, Khumjung, Phortse, the Gokyo Valley, and the views from Gorak Shep and Kala Pattar. There are photos of the Mani Rimdu festival from both Chiwang and Tengboche. In addition to Everest, there are photos of Cholatse and Tawachee, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori, Makalu, and Cho Oyu. There are three photos of Lhotse - from Gokyo Ri, on the way to Dingboche, and from Dingboche.

This is my favourite Nepal photo book. It features all of the main tourist areas. The photos are spectacular.


Mount Everest North and Southwest faces at sunset from Kala Pattar - Nepal Himalaya by Shiro Shirahata book cover

Mount Everest, Changtse, Nuptse From Kala Pattar - Nepal Himalaya by Shiro Shirahata book

2. Nepal Himalaya

by Shiro Shirahata. Published 1983. One of Michael Chessler's Best Mountain Photo Books. A large, heavy quality paper, coffee-table type book featuring 115 spectacular photos, over half double-pages, of the 8000m Nepalese mountains - Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest and Lhotse (cover), Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri - and many others, including Jannu, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam.

There are 32 pages with 18 photos of the Everest region - the cover is a beautiful 2-page photo of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse at sunset. There's also a similar 2-page daytime photo, and one of the Kangshung Face. There are also excellent photos of Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam.


Andy Elson and Eric Jones in the first balloon with the towering Everest Southwest Face - Ballooning Over Everest book cover

Balloon Floating Over Lhotse, Nuptse And Everest Southwest Face Oct 21, 1991 - Ballooning Over Everest book

Balloon floats over the South Col with Lhotse East Face, Nuptse, and Everest Kangshung East Face - Ballooning Over Everest book

3. Ballooning Over Everest

by Leo Dickinson. Published 1993. Also available as a video, this book tells the story of the author's quest to be the first person to fly a balloon over Mount Everest. The book starts with getting the expedition financed and then trekking to Gokyo. They wait over three weeks for the right winds, and then the two balloons took off from Gokyo on October 21, 1991.

"The pyramid increased dramatically in size as we flew directly towards the summit; it was enormous. ... As we flashed over the summit at 60 miles an hour, I looked back to the Hillary Step, on to the summit itself, and it became a totally different mountain. All was white and crystalline. ... The dramatic sweep of the Kangshung Face of Everest with its ice flutings and huge seracs."

Leo Dickinson was in the first balloon, and everything went well until the end, when they crash landed in Tibet, spinning violently. The second balloon got in terrible early when their burners failed several times as they flew towards the Western Cwm. They managed to relight them each time and landed safely in Tibet.

The photos of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu and Makalu are sensational, taken from an overhead angle I have not seen before. There are 25 photos containing Everest.


Porter and mountains - Solu-Khumbu: The Trek To Everest book cover

Porters Below Ama Dablam With Everest and Lhotse Beyond - Solu-Khumbu: The Trek To Everest book

Changtse, Everest, Khumbu Icefall and Glacier, Nuptse From Kala Pattar - Solu-Khumbu: The Trek To Everest book cover

4. Solu-Khumbu: The Trek to Everest: A Photographic Journal by Tim Hauf

by Tim Hauf. Published 2002. Tim documents his 1999 trek day-by-day from Jiri to Everest, highlighted with his diary and his excellent photos. You could use this kind of book to visualize what you will experience on the trek. Although most trekkers, including me, fly to Lukla, this book might cause you to consider the longer trek in from Jiri. There are several excellent photos of the Lhotse South Wall.


Everest, Khumbu Icefall, Lhotse and Nuptse - Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat, Dhaulagiri mit Dieter Porsche book cover

Everest Southwest Face From Camp III On Lhotse Face At Sunset And Sunrise - Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat, Dhaulagiri mit Dieter Porsche book 

Dieter Porsche On Everest South Summit May 22, 2001 - Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat, Dhaulagiri mit Dieter Porsche book

5. Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat, Dhaulagiri mit Dieter Porsche

by Dieter Porsche. Published 2009 in German. This is a day by day photographic coffee-table book of Dieter Porsche's ascent of Dhaulagiri in 2003, Nangpa Parbat in1999, and Everest South Summit in 2001. Each chapter begins with a brief history of the first ascent attempts and main ascents and photos illustrating Dieter's ascent route from a distance and close up. You can see Dieter's diary and many photos from the  book at alpin-extrem.de.

The Everest chapter begins with a flight to Lukla and trekking to Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche and Dingboche with beautiful views of Ama Dablam, Lobuche, and base camp (5250m). After the puja ceremony, they do acclimatization climbs through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall to Camp I (6000m), Camp II (6400m), and Camp III (7300m) on the Lhotse Face. Before their final summit push they descend to a sad base camp with the news that Baba Chiri Sherpa had died and his body was being flown to Kathmandu. After waiting for a weather window, they ascend to Camp II, Camp III, and the South Col (8000m). They climb through the night and on May 22, 2001 at 10:00 Dieter Porsche and Helmut Hackl reached the Everest South Summit (8751m). But, without any more fixed ropes, the head Sherpa Dawa Chiri turns them around, and they descend back to the South Col and off the mountain.

Even if you can't understand German, the photos are excellent. I especially liked the detailed climbing routes, and that all aspects of the trek and climb are included, not just the highlights.


Drummond Peak in New Zealand - Climb Every Mountain book cover

Makalu, Chomolonzo, Lhotse East Face, Everest East Kangshung Face Reflected in Tse-me-lung In Karma Valley - Climb Every Mountain book

Lhotse East Face and Everest East Kangshung Face At Dawn From Pethang Ringpo - Climb Every Mountain book

6. Climb Every Mountain

by Colin Monteath. Published 2006. Details 12 of Colin's treks over the years - Greenland, climbing Chongtar near K2 North Face, New Zealand Alps, Everest Kangshung East Face, Mount Kailash and Gurla Mandhata, northern Bhutan. Mongolia's Altai mountains, South Georgia on Shackleton's route, Tibet's Kangri Garpo mountain, ski traverse of Mount McKinley, Nepalese side of Kangchenjunga, and Tiera del Fuego and Patagonia.

There is a 20-page chapter on the trek from Kharta up the Karma Valley to the Kangshung East Face of Everest. There are also great photos of Makalu and Chomolonzo from the trek.

Colin's photos are excellent, especially a 2-page photo spread of Makalu, Chomolonzo, Lhotse and Everest.


Ama Dablam reflected in a pond at Lobuche Base Camp - Nepal: The Mountains Of Heaven book cover

Namche Bazaar In 1981 - Nepal: The Mountains Of Heaven book

Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse From Gokyo Ri - Nepal: The Mountains Of Heaven book

7A. Nepal: The Mountains Of Heaven

by David Paterson. First published 1990. This large coffee-table photo book features Kathmandu and the author’s treks from Lamosangu to Lobuche Base Camp and Everest in 1979, the Annapurna Sanctuary in 1979, Rolwaling and the Tesi Lapcha pass to Gokyo in 1981, the Annapurna Circuit in 1984, Ganesh Himal in 1987, the Arun Valley from Hille to Makalu in 1988. The front cover is Ama Dablam.

The photos are very good, especially Ama Dablam, Taweche, Gokyo, Lhotse South Face, and Everest. There are also photos of the Manu Rimdu festival at Tengboche.


Muktinath Himal - Heart Of The Himalaya Everest book cover

Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and the Khumbu Glacier from Kala Pattar - Heart Of The Himalaya Everest book

7B. Heart Of The Himalaya

by David Paterson. First published 1997. Medium-sized soft cover book features the author’s treks to Kangchenjunga and Jannu in 1992, Kali Gandaki Valley and the Thulobugin Ridge between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna in 1996. This book also features the treks from Nepal: The Mountains Of Heaven, with some new photos and some photos the same. The front cover is the Muktinath Himal.

You can see some of David Paterson's photos at his website wildcountry.uk.com or at photoshelter.com.

The photos are very good, especially Ama Dablam, Nuptse, and Everest.


K2 Sunset From Concordia - Himalayan Trails (Sentiers de l'Himalaya) book cover

Everest Southwest Face close up from Kala Pattar - Himalayan Trails (Sentiers de l'Himalaya) book

8. Himalayan Trails (Sentiers de l'Himalaya)

by Laurent Doldi. Published 2006. In French and English. A large soft-cover photo book detailing 10 Himalayan treks: K2 Base Camp (12 pages. 23 photos), Ladakh to Zanskar (16 pages, 38 photos), Jeep tour in Kinnaur Spiti and Ladakh (12 pages, 32 photos), the Sources of the Ganges in India (14 pages, 30 photos), Dolpo (18 pages, 36 photos), Around Annapurna (22 pages, 45 photos), Helambu and the sacred lakes of Gosainkund (16 pages, 29 photos), Rolwaling Valley in winter (18 pages, 37 photos), Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes (20 pages, 41 photos), and Kangchenjunga Base Camps in Nepal (21 pages, 44 photos). Each chapter starts with a very brief overview including a map and altitude profile. The front cover is K2. There are 360 colour photos.

This is very good companion book to a trekking guide, enabling you to visualize what you will experience on a trek. The photos are very good.

Top Of Page