Fascinating read with multiple revelations about Pugh s scientific research playing a major but ignored role in the 53 expedition and Tuckey s fractious relationship with him What I found the most interesting though was the totally different perspective on the legends that are Shipton, Tilman and Hillary and their disregard for science and organisation to a certain extent Intriguing Winner Banff Award For Mountain And Wilderness LiteratureThe British Sportsbook Award For Outstanding General Sports WritingThe Boardman Tasker Prize For Mountain LiteratureFinalist For The HW Fisher Biographer S Prize Harriet Tuckey S Book Is Both The History Of What Went Into The First Successful Ascent Of Mt Everest In And A Biography Of Her Father, Dr Griffith Pugh, Whose Role Was Absolutely Pivotal, Yet Mostly Untold As The Expedition S Physiological Consultant, Pugh Designed Almost Every Aspect Of The Survival Strategy For The Expedition, The Acclimatization Program, The Oxygen And Fluid Intake Regime, The Diet, The Clothing And The High Altitude Boots Without Him And His Work, The Ascent Of Everest Would Have Been Impossible Simply fascinating The man who made the first Everest ascent happen had been deleted from the history books the mountaineers liked to think it was their will that did it, but Griffith Pugh designed and tested everything both before and during the trip great writing by Pugh s estranged daughter Not just for mountaineering fans exceptional read I enjoyed the part about Everest but the rest of it dragged on a bit I think it could have been shortened to omit the Olympics and I wasn t really interested in her personal relationship with her father. This is one of the most important books that I read this year The topic of the ethics of mountaineering and exploration and of how mountaineers view their sport and their roles is one that has fascinated me for a long time The author s father was Griffith Pugh, a physiologist who worked with the first team to summit Everest in 1953 Hillary and Tenzing Norgay However, this is not a eulogy to her father she did not get along with him and did not particularly like him, although she came to appreciate him through writing the book but a well researched look at his contributions and the British climbing culture It is clear that mountaineering and even arctic exploring belonged to British upper classes and that the culture declared that these activities were for the good of the group, that no one should cheat by doing things like using oxygen, learning about the importance of fluids or foods at high elevations, or be concerned about acclimation At one point, Tuckey basically says that the main problem confronting progress in high altitude mountaineer was that those in control were just too British Pugh s physiological work and research are fascinating He and a group of scientist spent a winter in a Silver Hut at over 5800 meters on the Mingbo Glacier in the Himalayans to study the long term effects of cold and altitude on human physiology, a topic that, surprisingly, was entirely new in the 1950 s and 1960s In addition to his work with mountaineering, Pugh worked with athletes at the 1968 Olympics held in Mexico City at an altitude of well over a mile above sea level He was also the first person to investigate the effects of drafting on bike racing.And, Tuckey is a wonderful writer. I found it gripping and finished it rather quickly Everyone may not This is not just a biography of an unusual scientist who did not get his fair share of recognition and fame But it also explores the man s mind and character at one level and a daughter s coming to terms with her difficult father at another The amount of research that went into the writing of this book is simply mind boggling No wonder she spent ten years to write it.Reputations of established heroes like Ed Hillary or John Hunt or even Eric Shipton are demolished with facts and logic and entirely new light is thrown on the establishment of British mountaineering in the 50s and 60s It was a new thing for me to learn that there was ever a conflict between climbers and scientists and that climbers actually looked down upon scientists and physiologists.However, I found it odd that the name of Hermann Buhl did not crop up even once in the entire book that deals with oxygen and climbing and effect of altitude on human body Buhl had climbed the world s third highest peak Nanga Parbat in 1953 without oxygen But then she constantly talks about effect of oxygen less climb above 27,000 feet Well Nanga Parbat is less than that of course. Written by Pugh s estranged daughter who stumbled on documents outlining a man completely different from the angry and distant father she knew After 30 years of unsuccessful attempts to summit mount Everest, the idea of assessing the impact of equipment finally occurs to a team of climbers But, rather than the respect he deserved, his work was constantly swept under the rug and hidden while the climbers getting press time claimed the glory for themselves By the time the expedition set off from England, Pugh s analytical and creative skills had been applied to an endless list of topics The few people in the climbing world who knew anything about what he was doing found it hard to credit that, as a scientist, he was capable of making a useful contribution Far from treating him as worthy of respect, they regarded him as an object of skepticism and suspicion A really good book I liked everything about it and didn t think it dragged at all, although you might think so if you are reading it mostly for the Everest ascent But I also enjoyed the rest of Pugh s biography, the descriptions of his experiments and his complicated relationship with his family, so I didn t mind that the mountain climbing part didn t take up the majority of the focus The title is probably misleading, but I guess given that Pugh isn t as well remembered as he maybe should be they had to put Everest in there somewhere It s really about the beginning of sport physiology in general than mountain climbing specifically. Absolutely fascinating journey through the biography of an unsung physiologist attached to the Everest expedition I was at times amazed, and at times angry at the treatment Griffith Pugh received, but not completely surprised The dynamics of jock vs nerd will continue to play out This is the story of how the jocks would not have made it without the nerd, if only they had realised it at the time. Loved the science behind Everest and the first successful summiting.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the
- 424 pages
- Everest - The First Ascent
- Harriet Tuckey
- 20 October 2019 Harriet Tuckey