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Book of first Everest conquest to be sold.

Byline: Darren Devine Reporter darren.devine@walesonline.co.uk

ARARE book signed by the group of mountaineers who first conquered Everest is to go under the hammer.

The Ascent of Everest, by John Hunt, details the first successful attempt to conquer the world's highest mountain when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of the 29,028ft peak on May 29, 1953.

The book, being sold by the National Trust Wales at Cardiff auction house Rogers Jones & Co, contains the signatures of Sir Edmund and expedition leader Colonel Hunt.

Route planners George Lowe and Mike Westmacott, equipment man Wilfred Noyce, George Band, who helped force a route through an icefall, and official photographer Alfred Gregory also added their signatures to the book's pages.

Wales played a major role in the historic ascent of the mountain, which was named after Welshman Sir George Everest. Born in 1790 in Crickhowell, Powys, Everest joined the East India Company as a teenager, eventually winning promotion to the post of Surveyor-General of India in 1830 and serving in the role until 1843. His successor, Andrew Scott Waugh, renamed the world's highest mountain, previously known simply as "Peak XV", after his forerunner.

And Norgay and Hillary had a number of Welshmen to thank for helping them to immortality.

The team's deputy leader Charles Evans grew up near Llangollen in Denbighshire while expedition doctor Griffith Pugh was from Aberystwyth, Ceredigion.

The group trained in Snowdownia for their ascent, forging close bonds with the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, at Nant Gwynant.

Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones said: "These men made history and stunned the world when they conquered the treacherous - and potentially fatal - challenge of Everest.

"The book, with such a collection of signatures, is a brilliant memento of an historic expedition, which saw the team battle extraordinary obstacles in extreme conditions and capture the imagination of millions across the world.

"As a Welsh auction house we're particularly proud to have this wonderful piece of history as Wales played such a significant role in the conquest of Everest."

Evans, who went on to become principal of Bangor University, came close to beating Hillary and Norgay to the summit.

Alongside Tom Bourdillon he made the first attempt on the summit three days before Hillary and Norgay did so successfully - but turned back because of a fault with the oxygen supplies.

CAPTION(S):

<B The book's title page signed by members of the 1953 Mount Everest Expedition

<B Charles Evans, a Welsh-speaking surgeon, came within 300ft of Mount Everest's summit

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 23, 2016
Words:419
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