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High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest
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High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  701 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Fear lives among Everest's mighty ice-fluted faces and howls across its razor-sharp crags. Gnawing at reason and enslaving minds, it has killed many and defeated countless others. But in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stared into its dark eye and did not waver. On May 29, they pushed spent bodies and aching lungs past the achievable to pursue the impossible. At a ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1955)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,399)
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Feb 28, 2008 Stephanie rated it liked it
Hillary is quite amusing - even when he's not intending to be - and I was pleased to read about the ascent in his words.
(Bone to pick: how many WEEKS did you do pre-ascent training? And in all that time you couldn't take five minutes to teach Tanzing to use a camera to take your picture on top of Everest?)
Feb 09, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
really interesting account... a little slow but slow is OK for 250 pages.
Dec 31, 2007 Audra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: exploration
The funny thing is that people probably eschew this book, thinking it's written in "old fashioned" terminology or it's "just another summit book."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Hillary's enthusiasm for mountain climbing punctuates every page (literally; I don't think there's a page in the book that lacks an exclamation point). He talks about the technicalities of climbing with ease and in accessible language, and he regards the mountains as beings in their own right, worthy of respect
Mar 02, 2013 Janis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember the last time I held in my hands a book that was printed in the 50's. It smelled musty and the lack of a paper cover and the black-and-white photographs promised a dull account.

However, Hillary speaks plainly (and provides a glossary) so you get pulled right into his story that boils down to "When I grew up in New Zealand, I learned to climb mountains. I got hooked. Ten years later, I climbed Mount Everest. This is how we did it. We got down again, too. The End." :-) He tells a
Jim Morrison
Jan 14, 2016 Jim Morrison rated it really liked it
I have read quite a few books on climbing and I found this one exceptional in several respects. I would have given it 5 stars, but I realize that some people might consider the series of grand adventures in this book redundant. I did not. I believe he writes honestly and it was easy for me to feel his emotions as they played out in the book. I passed it on to a climbing buddy who also enjoyed it also and passed it on to another. I must say that the recon two years before the summit was every bit ...more
Tobias Taylor
The attributes that got them to the top: average climbing skills, willing to go fast and hard!

This will always be a classic mountaineering tale read for generations to come and Hillary's comedic and highly personal voice makes it an enjoyable 250 pages to read.

Even if you're a climbing/adventure fan it can be dry at times and the author's autobiography 'Nothing Venture, Nothing Win' includes this account in much more concise terms as well as countless other brilliant and formidable tales.

...a tr
Pratik Tale
Aug 27, 2015 Pratik Tale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been remarkable tale. No high words, no twisted analogies. Simple tale of how the ascent of Everest was. With his way of telling the story, visualization becomes more realistic.

Another appreciable aspect I found about Edmund Hillary is his modesty. Since he met Tinzing Norgay, he talk about him in very high regards. Often in my eyes, Edmund commanded regards by making Tinzing look good.
Anubhav Baweja
Nov 30, 2015 Anubhav Baweja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first ascent of Everest! It is just amazing to read the journey from climbing mountains in NewZealand to attempting to scale the sky! The book somehow transports you to the story and you are living it first hand with Hillary and the crew and experiencing their hardships..
A must read for anyone who wants to be pumped up !!
La La
Jul 29, 2016 La La rated it really liked it
I chose this book to write a paper about for Social Studies class in 7th grade. I remember liking the book and getting an A on the paper. I was inspired to have a dream of climbing Mt. Everest one day, but when I became an adult I realized that I hate extreme cold and love my oxygen a little too much.
May 31, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was 3.5 stars but gets an extra half since it is writen by the first guy to climb Everest. It is a very methodical telling. he just walks right through the story of climbing Everest. Not a lot of background. Just gets right to it.
Great story of the historic climb of the world's highest peak by the famous climber himself Sir Edmund Hillary. He describes not only the effort in summitting the Everest in 1953 but also the prior expeditions in the Himalayas that served as a preparation for the 1953 British expedition.

Having recently read Jon Krakauer's account "Into Thin Air" of the disastrous 1996 expedition up Everest, it's all the more impressive and meritorious that Hillary and Tenzing, plus John Hunt and the entire crew
Ankur Bose
Aug 08, 2015 Ankur Bose rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
Another factual account by the ones who did it first. Makes you realise what true mountaineering was done before all the equipment and the technology...a sport of the balls and of the heart!!!
Eduardo Teixeira
Sep 10, 2010 Eduardo Teixeira rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-english
The only criticism I have about this book is when he mentioned he never trusted science again, after a experimenting doctor who cleary made some mistake regarding Ed's condition (the doctor said Ed wasn't supposed to be alive in that particuarly moment according to his blood count and altitude). He was quite hipocrytical there, because the same science played a vital role on this quest to the summit - the oxygen bottles. I hope he had changed his mind about science in the following years. It's a ...more
Sadie Engwall
Nov 24, 2015 Sadie Engwall rated it it was amazing
Really good, I think if you would like a exciting,adventures book about Mt Everest I would really prefer this one.
Mar 28, 2013 Vasudham rated it really liked it
A truly passionate account of several mountaineering attempts in the Himalaya and of course, the first successful summit climb on Mt. Everest. Though at times, its difficult to even imagine what the terrain must feel like, the descriptions are detailed and filled with enthusiasm. What amazes me is Hillary's passion, bordering on the obsessive at times, for the snow-clad heights and the drive to get up each day to a new challenge at unimaginable altitudes. Makes me think he must be terribly unhap ...more
Yoginder Agarwal
A tale of perseverence, grit and determination. A good read
Dec 09, 2015 Sonny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
“High Adventure” is Sir Edmund Hillary’s exciting account of the first successful summit of Mount Everest in 1953. Though the events are often dramatic and the accomplishments great, he tells the story in a rather humble, straight-forward manner. Despite this, the intensity and difficulty of the expedition come through clearly. At times, I suffered from a vertigo-like uneasiness just reading his account of their climb near the summit. I was left with great respect for Hillary, Tenzing, and the e ...more
Jun 15, 2009 Dana rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, adventure
An interesting account of the years before the big climb. Truly amazing feat considering the equipment, clothing, O2 systems, etc. I will say that Hillary does not shy away from patting himself on the back, although he also not paint his accomplishments as extreme as he could. I enjoyed it, and it really gives a good description of how difficult it was, just establishing the various camps and getting all of the supplies up, having to cut hundreds of steps in the ice with and axe for all of the s ...more
May 04, 2013 Carrie rated it it was amazing
This was fascinating. Perhaps because of the modernization of mountaineering gear and the mobs of climbers on Everest each year, I was captivated by Hillary's memoir and the clear difficulty by which they forged a route and made their way up after so many previous unsuccessful attempts, in what we would now consider to be primative gear. All I wanted upon finishing this book was a warm fire and a hot cup of soup. Or, rather, to read about Hillary's next warm fire, hot cup of soup, and good night ...more
Edmund Hillary's "High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest" is a bit like a Primus stove at high altitude. It's slow to get going and sputters along for a bit but once it really gets cooking everything is good.

Hillary writes very simply but effectively of various climbs in the Himalayas, including the first ascent of Everest by himself and Tenzing Norgay. The Everest ascent itself is pretty riveting... the other climbs aren't quite as interesting, but why would they be?
Oct 04, 2014 Joel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
This is the exciting account by the man who was the first to summit Mt. Everest. He recounts his adventure and tells of the trials and travails he and his Sherpa, Tenzing, have along the way. I believe it was his first book, so he's not a polished author at this point but the story is so amazing that it pulls into the pages and onto the mountain with him and Tenzing.
Jennifer Boyce
Jul 10, 2011 Jennifer Boyce rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book! Written factually and to the point, Sir Edmund Hillary takes you on an adventure through all the hardships of getting to the summit of Everest, as well as telling the story of how they all got there. This book is very good and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes climbing or is fascinated with Mt. Everest.
Jennifer B
Jun 04, 2008 Jennifer B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I (along with the rest of the team) received this as a gift from my high school lacrosse coaches after winning the State Championships. Perhaps it was the feeling surrounding that victory, but I was swept away in the adventure and success of Sir Hillary's ascent. I would highly recommend as an inspirational tale or atleast an exciting story.
Having been disappointed by the first attempt at reading about Hillary, I decided to try another book but was left feeling just as frustrated with it. It just didn't flow well and I think it's clear that I just don't like the way he narrates his books. They just don't work for me which is a shame as I was fascinated by his exploits.
Jan 09, 2014 Charlie rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed it even though, or perhaps because, I think it was actually written for young boys.
May 03, 2007 Andrea rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Adult readers interested in different cultures
First book I read about Everest. There are several more that are just so much better. Mr. Hillary may be the first to summit but he is not the very best narrator of such. His cllimbing companion and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay narrated a far more fascinating account.
Aug 25, 2016 Ioana rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ioana by: Bocean Cosmin
A wonderful book, seen through the eyes of a passionate man who acknowledge the chance that it was given to him. Sometimes too many details are tiring and makes it slow to read.
A compelling story, I can't get enough of Everest stories, this one did not disappoint!
Mar 28, 2008 Jennisto rated it liked it
pretty slow read, but cool (ha!) if you think of the amazing nature of the accomplishment
Kim Much
Makes me want to go and run around in the Himalayas for a few years...
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Sir Edmund Hillary was born and grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.
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“You don't have to be a hero to accomplish great things---to compete. You can just be an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.” 32 likes
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