HIGH IN THE THIN COLD AIR: The Story of the Himalayan Expedition by

HIGH IN THE THIN COLD AIR: The Story of the Himalayan Expedition

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The press played up this Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition -1960-61-as the search for the mysterious Yeti- ""the abominable snowman"" -- and as the expedition on which Sir Edmund of Everest fame suffered a cerebral vascular accident. And yet-the complete story read- both phases drop into minor significance. Doig, press correspondent, who tells the first part of the adventure, does lay considerable stress on the pursuit of rumor, wherever Yeti were reported heard or seen; they followed footprints (only to decide they might even be snow-enlarged pugs of small animals); they examined Yeti scalps- and pronounced them probably those of the blue bear of Tibet; they found many of the rumors unsubstantiated- or pure legend. They failed to secure any scientific proof -- and yet acknowledge that the Tibetans and the Nepalese believe it. Hillary's half of the book this reader found vastly more interesting, for this examines not only the primary objective- the physiological program, but the minutely detailed record of a nine months' expedition,- the effect on the members of the team of scientists wintering at 19,000 feet, the scaling of the ""unclimbable"" Amadablam- and the near success, and even nearer disaster of the attempt on Mt. Makalu, and always the challenge of the mountains -- and their beauty. Members have contributed from their own experiences, and that of Leigh Ortenburger at 27,790 feet, confronted with one injured and one desperately ill companion, rivals the grim story of Annapurna. One has almost more than in any of the other mountain books a sense of knowing many things of the daily round- the gathering of equipment, the hiring of Sherpa guides, the food they ate- and the effect of altitude on appetite, the experiments of attempting a summit without oxygen, and so on and so on. Fascinating for the armchair aficionados.

Publisher: Doubleday