Going back to my earlier pointm, however, there is a double pleasure in collecting books on the world’s highest peak. We don’t only have to look for the most daring of tales, but also to the very fine body of rare books that encapsulate them. Take for example, The Great Plateau (1903) by Captain C.G. Rawlings, who recounts two expeditions through Tibet, with the second tale ‘The Gartok Expedition’ featuring Everest. This very fine volume in attractive blue-cloth bound hardcover is one of the earliest available accounts of the Tibetan plateau, at a time when few of the Western world even knew of its existence. A wonderful addition to any collection of the art and history of human exploration, and is available currently (if you are quick) at under a thousand dollars!
Similarly, the collector of the rare and interesting might take interest in the William Hunter 1908 recounting of his expedition Ice-Bound Heights of the Mustagh which offers another similarly personal and immediate account of mountaineering history at a time when the perils were far greater than they are today. A true first edition of the same would have to have a very find hard cover, with its cover illustration of a mountain scene in good order. A good specimen might be worth up to a thousand US dollars, but can be found at auction for less.
Lastly, what can be said about collecting books about the Himalayas without referring to Sir Edmund Hilary and, of course, Sherpa Tensing Norgay. There are many fine editions of the tales and autobiographies of Hilary’s ascent up Everest, but a special note for collector must be reserved for Malcolm Barnes’s 1977 revelatory After Everest; An Autobiography not of Sir Hilary of course, but of Sherpa Tensing. The book itself is too recent to be of great collectible value, unless you manage to find one in very fine condition with Tensing Norgay’s characteristic and unique lightning bolt-style signature. If so signed, then a true first edition of After Everest in good condition would also be worth around a thousand US dollars at auction.
Rawling, Captain C.G. The Great Plateau. Edward Arnold: London (1905). Full title-The Great Plateau: Being An Account Of Exploration In Central Tibet, 1903, And Of The Gartok Expedition 1904-1905
Bullock, Fanny. Ice-Bound Heights of the Mustagh. Constable and Co. Ltd (1908). Other author-William Hunter Workman; Full title-Ice-Bound Heights of the Mustagh: An Account of the two seasons of Pioneer Exploration and High Climbing in the Baltistan Himalaya
Bruce, Charles Granville. The Assault on Mount Everest 1922. Edward Arnold: London (1923). Introduction by Francis Younghusband
Noel, J.B.L. Through Tibet to Everest. Edward Arnold: London (1927). First U.K. Edition
Ruttledge, Hugh. Everest 1933. Hodder and Stoughton: London (1934). First U.K. Edition
Ruttledge, Hugh. Attack on Everest. National Travel Club: New York (1935). First U.S. Edition; 3-D glasses included in rear pocket
Hunt, John. Ascent of Everest. Hodder and Stoughton: London (1953). Foreword by HRH Duke of Edinburgh; Other authors Alfred Gregory and Ed Hillary
Hunt, John. The Conquest of Everest. E.P. Dutton: New York (1954). First U.S. Edition; Signed by Edmund Hillary (contributor); Foreward by Duke of Edinburgh
Hillary, Edmund. High Adventure. Hodder and Stoughton: London (1955). First U.K. Edition; Signed edition; Illustrated by George Djurkovic; Maps by A. Spark
Norgay, Tenzing. Man of Everest. George G. Harrap and Co.: London (1955). First U.K. Edition; Signed by author; Other author J.R. Ullman; Full title-Man of Everest: The Autobiography of Tenzing Norgay
Hillary, Edmund. East of Everest. Hodder and Stoughton: London (1956). First U.K. Edition; Other author George Lowe
Lowe, George. Mount Everest. Oxford University Press: London (1963). Translated by E. Noel Bowman; Other authors Toni Hagen, Gunter-Oskar Dyhrenfurth, Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, and Erwin Schneider; First U.K. edition; Full title-Mount Everest: Formation, Population, and Exploration of the Everest Region
Ullman, James. Americans on Everest. Lippincott: Philadelphia (1964). Signed edition; Full title-Americans on Everest: The Official Account of the Ascent Led by Norman G. Dyhrenfurth
Hornbein, Thomas F. Everest: The West Ridge. Sierra Club: San Francisco (1965). Edited by David Brower
Norgay, Tenzing. After Everest. Allen and Unwin: London (1977). Full title-After Everest: an Autobiography by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa As Told to Malcolm Barnes