Earl Denman's expedition to Everest was born of a strong faith and idealism that lured him to travel alone, all but penniless and in preparation, first to the Virunga mountains of the Belgian Congo. Travelling there in 1946, on leave from his job as an electrical engineer in Anglo Egyptian Sudan, he faced problems of equipment, native guides and living with nature, by himself. Writing of the experiences with vigour, there is a keen observation of everything around him-plants, animals, weather, customs- that builds his philosophy as he climbs the eight Virunga peaks: for Denman it was not the journey alone that counted, but the circumstances under which it was made. Virunga was sound preparation for Everest. The author ""succeeded"" in 1947, with no less a person than Tenzing as guide- for if they did not reach the top, their meagre three-man expedition to a height of 23,000 feet was a triumph in itself. As a nature study alone, the book makes its definite contribution. Perhaps its greater value is its reflection of the ideals of mountaineering, those of the author and of Tenzing who both thought their way of climbing preferable to the army-like onslaught of the 1953 expedition. Though the spot light on Everest has been placed to advantage in other books, this is a revealing fill in.