Winner:Banff Award for Mountain and Wilderness LiteratureThe British Sportsbook Award for Outstanding General Sports WritingThe Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain LiteratureFinalist for the HW Fisher Biographer's Prize
Everest was not conquered by force of will alone. It required immense planning, research, and preparation. Dr. Griffith Pugh’s role in the first successful ascent of Everest in 1953 by Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay was absolutely pivotal, yet this story has until now remained untold. As the expedition’s physiological consultant, Pugh designed almost every aspect of the survival strategy for the expedition, the acclimatisation programme, the oxygen- and fluid-intake regime, the diet, the clothing and the high altitude boots. A spirit of gentleman-amateurism had prevailed previously and this new scientific professionalism ensured the success of the expedition and opened the way for a stunning stream of mountaineering successes. Within five years climbers had scaled nearly all of the world’s highest peaks in relative safety. Dr. Pugh became known as one of the fathers of altitude medicine, saving the lives of several members of Hillary’s expedition to Mount Makalu, and pioneering safety techniques for mountaineers and hill walkers.This is also the story of Griffith Pugh, the man, a troubled and eccentric person who had difficulties in sustaining personal relationships in both his personal and professional lives. His daughter and author of this biography, Harriet Tuckey, did not discover the extent of her father’s role in the success of the climb until he was honored late in life at the Royal Geographical Society. His story shines a necessary and fascinating light on one of mankind's greatest achievments.
"In this illuminating and well-researched portrait of an eccentric, brilliant scientist, Tuckey demonstrates Pugh’s important contributions to the British success on Everest, while also openly addressing his faults and her own troubled relationship with him" - Library Journal
"Harriet Tuckey’s gripping account finally establishes her father’s role as the difference between triumph and failure, and the man himself as the real hero of the expedition."- The Daily Mail (UK)"Marvelously enjoyable and exciting...poignant." - The Times"Remarkable...complex and multi-dimension...intensely compelling." - High Altitude Medicine & Biology"Terrific, a priceless gift. Harriet Tuckey’s journey to find her dad is a beautiful, no-holds-barred bit of writing that tells not only about physiologist Griffith Pugh but also a big hunk of Everest history that has somehow stayed discreetly under wraps for six decades. As the story of Pugh’s seminal but under-recognized contribution to the success of Everest ‘53, it fills in a big blank on the map and is a window on the interpersonal dynamics and politics surrounding that first ascent.” - Tom Hornbein, US Mountaineer, Emeritus professor of anesthesiology and physiology and author of Everest: The West Ridge
"Shines an entirely new light on the great expedition - a riveting read, full of surprises" - Sir Chris Bonington"A most remarkable work about a perfectly extraordinary man. I much admire it." - Jan Morris
"The most important addition to the story of Everest" - Doug Scott'Superb...this compulsively readable and data-rich book is a tribute to a very distinguished applied physiologist of extraordinary vision, ability, energy and tenacity" - Craig Sharp, Emeritus Professor of Sports Science, Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, Brunel University
"Moving...meticulously researched...New insights that will set many people thinking again of the great achievement...This book should help to set the record straight...Superb..." John West, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology, University of California, San Diego