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Problems of Conquering Everest

Nature volume 140, page 394 (04 September 1937) | Download Citation



THE problem of reaching the summit of Mount Everest is discussed in a paper in the Himalayan Journal, 9, and takes the form of a memorandum prepared by the Eastern Section of the Himalayan Club, with some comments on the conclusions by Mr. E. Shipton. Two main suggestions are made in the light of past experience. The first is that expeditions have been foredoomed to failure because they have attempted to climb the north ridge too quickly. It is contended that men who have stood the strain of reaching the North Col cannot hope to do the remaining 6,300 feet in three days. The writers quote much evidence in favour of their statement, but Mr. Shipton is equally sure that above 23,000 feet a man deteriorates in muscle and energy quickly, and therefore delay at and above that height must be avoided. The second suggestion is that instead of trying in May and June when the effort is a race with the approaching monsoon, it would be better to make the attempt after the monsoon, in October or even in April. Days in October are certainly shorter than in May, but wind velocities so far as is known are slightly lower. Mr. Shipton admits that post-monsoon conditions should be studied, but prefers the pre-monsoon season. Major K. Mason points out that one obvious drawback to October ia that it is a month of increasing wind, while May is a month of west winds decreasing owing to advancing monsoon currents.

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