The best books about the climbing history of the Himalayas

Who am I?

I fell in love with the Himalayas in the 8th grade and vowed to go there one day. Eighteen years later I fell in love again, with a woman this time, who was living in Nepal. While living there I trekked extensively and read everything I could about the mountains, especially Everest. I thought it was odd that all the Everest books started in 1921, but the mountain was discovered in 1853. What took them so long? Hence my book The Hunt for Mount Everest.


I wrote...

The Hunt for Mount Everest

By Craig Storti,

Book cover of The Hunt for Mount Everest

What is my book about?

The height of Mount Everest was first measured in 1850, but it would be 71 years before any westerner got closer than 40 miles of the famous peak. The Hunt for Mount Everest tells the gripping back story of the quest to find the world’s highest mountain and claim the last great prize in the history of exploration, climaxing one June morning in 1921 when George Mallory and Guy Bullock became the first westerners—and almost certainly the first people—ever to set foot on the mountain. It is a story of high drama, two disastrous wars, larger-than-life characters, a few quiet heroes, hundreds of mules, thousands of camels, and two zebrules—all playing out against a backdrop of the most spectacular geography on earth.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes

Craig Storti Why did I love this book?

If you’re a Himalayan enthusiast, this book is a must. Heck, even if you’re not yet an enthusiast, you will be after you start reading Fallen Giants. Its sweep is magnificent, its story-telling superb. You’d think this book would get repetitive, so many mountains and so many climbs, but you’d be wrong.

By Maurice Isserman, Stewart Weaver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fallen Giants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the world's highest peaks and the remarkable people who have sought to climb them

The first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa teammate Tenzing Norgay is a familiar saga, but less well known are the tales of many other adventurers who also came to test their skills and courage against the world's highest and most dangerous mountains. In this lively and generously illustrated book, historians Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver present the first comprehensive history of Himalayan mountaineering in fifty years. They offer detailed, original accounts of the most…


Book cover of Everest: The Ultimate Book of the Ultimate Mountain

Craig Storti Why did I love this book?

This is the Everest Bible. It has it all: every fact, every myth, every attempt, every failure, and the ultimate success. By rights, this book shouldn’t really work—so many attempts, so many near-misses, so many personality clashes, so many tragedies—but somehow it builds. The personalities are outsized, of course, the egos gigantic, and that helps, but the mountain is just too famous to ever be dull.

By Walt Unsworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This complete history tells the truth about many of those who have attempted to climb to the roof of the world.


Book cover of Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

Craig Storti Why did I love this book?

For anyone interested in George Mallory and the famous first three British Everest expeditions, it doesn’t get any better than Into the Silence. The research here is unparalleled and unprecedented, yielding a level of detail not found in any other books on this topic. If you think you’ve read all there is to say about these expeditions, you may be surprised. It’s a real stunner.

By Wade Davis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Into the Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive story of the British adventurers who survived the trenches of World War I and went on to risk their lives climbing Mount Everest.

On June 6, 1924, two men set out from a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge just below the lip of Everest’s North Col. George Mallory, thirty-seven, was Britain’s finest climber. Sandy Irvine was a twenty-two-year-old Oxford scholar with little previous mountaineering experience. Neither of them returned.
 
Drawing on more than a decade of prodigious research, bestselling author and explorer Wade Davis vividly re-creates the heroic efforts of Mallory and his fellow…


Book cover of The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest

Craig Storti Why did I love this book?

This book is of the incredible-but-true genre. A man who knows neither how to fly nor how to climb buys a plane which he plans to fly to India, crash land on the lower slopes of Everest, and climb the rest of the way to the top—all for the (married) woman he loves. Does he make it? What a question! It’s the premise that matters.

By Ed Caesar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moth and the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“An outstanding book.” —The Wall Street Journal * “Gripping at every turn.” —Outside * “A hell of a ride.” —The Times (London)

An extraordinary true story about one man’s attempt to salve the wounds of war and save his own soul through an audacious adventure.

In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Mount Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceives his own crazy, beautiful plan: he will fly a plane from England to Everest, crash-land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit—completely alone. Wilson doesn’t…


Book cover of Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak

Craig Storti Why did I love this book?

Annapurna is a classic: a classic book about a classic climb. Annapurna is only the 10th highest mountain in the world, but it is the most dangerous of all 14 of the giants, those peaks over 8,000 meters. It should not even have been attempted under the circumstances described in this book. But never mind: the odds were utterly against success. No worries on that front; the French—they were the ones trying—were never going to be the first to summit a giant. Only no one told them. (Craig Storti’s forthcoming book retells this classic tale.)

By Maurice Herzog,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Annapurna as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Top 100 Sports Books of All Time, Sports Illustrated "Those who have never seen the Himalayas, those who never care to risk an assault, will know when they finish this book that they have been a companion of greatness."-New York Times Book Review In 1950, when no mountain taller than 8,000 meters had ever been climbed, Maurice Herzog led an expedition of French climbers to the summit of an 8,075-meter (26,493-foot) Himalayan peak called Annapurna. But unlike other climbs, the routes up Annapurna had never been charted. Herzog and his team had to locate the mountain using crude maps, pick…


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Book cover of An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

Clifford A. Wright Author Of An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

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Interested in mountaineering, the Himalayas, and Mount Everest?

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