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hansw - Mar 3, 2012 2:13 pm - Voted 10/10

reWARDing to read

How interesting! A lot of information to digest! Ward seems to have been a man of high integrity. I usually say; everyone knows about Hillary and Tensing, only I know about Evans and Bourdillon. Life is not always fair. This article should be interesting reading for many SPers.



markhallam - Mar 4, 2012 2:32 am - Voted 10/10

Thanks for a great article!

I have read Ward's 1st book, along with Hunt, Hillary and Tenzings! I shall now look out with this other Ward book which I missed - thanks a lot.
You have teased out a fascintating piece of history. It is extraordinary that so much contraversy and friction can arise from such a success story... everybody had a part to play surely - including the mountain, who I am given to understand is blasted by Jet Stream most of the time and only opens the way to the summit on a rare few days per year! But I suppose both Hunt and Ward were forceful men, with disparate views - and friction would therefore be inevitable.
By the way, if any are interested in another piece of fascinating history from this time: "No Place for Men" by Peter Mulgrew is a (another)superb account of Wards's Silver Hut expedition which included the success on Ama Dablam but also dramatic failure on Makalu. Mulgrew almost died on Makalu - and ended up losing both legs to frostbite. His account of his subsequent battle with addiction to Pethidine is as absorbing as his account of the mountain drama. By a sort of tragic irony, Mulgrew was to die in the famous Air New Zealand aircraft crash - where a passenger DC 10 crashed into the frozen slopes of Mount Erebrus, down in Antartica - in the 1980's. (Mulgrew was on the flight, on the flight deck, from where he was delivering a PA commentary on Antartica, where he had expeditioned prior to the Silver Hut Expedition with Ward & Co - infact his polar experience was why he was selected).
Anyway - thanks again for a fascinating and important piece of mountain history.
Best wishes, Mark


dadndave - Mar 4, 2012 2:49 am - Voted 10/10


An interesting perspective on the group dynamics involved in an expedition which has passed (without too many questions) into folklore.

I remember when I was young, that it was scarcely mentioned that Ed Hillary was a New Zealander and Tenzing Norgay was Nepali/Indian. In fact there was not even the courtesy of using Tenzing's full name. He was almost always referred to as "Tenzing" as if he was a mere servant. After all this was a BRITISH expedition!

I recently met a man whose father regularly skied with Raymond Lambert. I hope to get some stories about the relationship between Tenzing Norgay and Raymond Lambert. I get the impression that Tenzing Norgay thought much more highly of the members of the Swiss expedition than he did of the British.


ericvola - Mar 4, 2012 4:05 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Excellent

Thanks. You can find more about Raymond lambert and Tenzing Norgay's very strong friendship by contacting his son, Yves Lambert (a mountain guide) from Geneva, who did climb Everest in 2002 in his father's memory and came back with a nice film showing well his father and companions's techniques and equipment of the time compared to those of the modern expeditions and also showing still today the friendly links between the Genevan's climbers and the sherpas.
You see, unlike the British, it was normal conduct for the Swiss as for the French to share a tent with a sherpa then, but not to the British. It all comes from different attitudes. The French and Swiss going to the Himalayas then were most of them (but not all) tough mountaineers and not "gentlemen" as most British climbers then. As Tenzing stated: "with the Swiss and the French I had been treated as a comrade, an equal, in a way this is not possible for the British. They are kind men, they are brave, they are fair and just, always. But always, too, there is a line between them and the outsider, between sahib and employee, and to such Easterners as we Sherpas, who have experienced the world of 'no line', this can be a difficulty and a problem."

But that has now all changed. Just look at what Doug Scott has done with his CAN organisation for the Khumbu valley inhabitants, and he is not the only British to do so.

It is true that Tenzing did write in a letter to Raymond Lambert that he was invited as Sirdar and lead climber to the John Hunt's expedition but that he had not accepted the offer since he preferred to wait for Raymond Lambert to return and make another attempt. Raymond Lambert who knew then that the British had got the permit to attempt Everest in 1953 and the French in 1954, the Swiss therefore for 1955 only, wrote to Tenzing strongly telling him to accept the British's offer which Tenzing then did. Tenzing wore the silk red scarf that Raymond had given him when he summited and as Tenzing wrote: "Any moment now I would turn and see his big bear face grinning at me. I would hear his voice saying, 'ça va bien, Tenzing, ça va bien !" Well at least his red scarf was there." Tenzing invited by the Swiss and Raymond Lambert after the success brought him back his scarf!


ericvola - Mar 4, 2012 3:26 am - Hasn't voted

Peter Mulgrew

Thanks for letting me know about Peter's book which I did not know of and now ordered. The "Silver hut" expedition was such a fantastic scientific success (and remained the largest ever made scientific expedition on high altitude for more than 40 years), another great feat to the credit of Griffith Pugh who made it happen and directed it brilliantly and as always Griffith never claimed anything for himself, had no publicity whatsoever made after his return home and on the contrary was very happy with the other scientists, particularly the Americans, building their scientists' status and fame on the expedition' scientific results. For Griffith Pugh, Science was to be shared freely among all scientists to the benefit of mankind. He was a true scientist who never put himself in front of the "picture".

I hope that Michael's Everest book in its English version will be published in numeric format before the end of the year. When published, the editor, Peter Hodgkiss (who died two years ago) was in financial trouble and only managed to issue 750 copies in two sets, sold out very quickly, so today his book is difficult to find. I have organised the contractual aspect of its publishing with Michael's widow, Jane Ward, but we are still waiting for the editor to do the work.

I sincerely hope that many more English speaking readers will have soon a chance to read it. Among the hundreds of books about Everest's conquest, it is, one of the three best ever written, and this is not my sole opinion, but of a number of very know mountaineers ans scientists, among whom, I will name Jane Morris, whom I quote in my article, who being part of the successful expedition has more than anyone else a clear and inside view on the matter.

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