8 Greatest Books on Mount Everest

What are the most popular books written on Mount Everest? If you are looking for a list of books related to Mount Everest, you have come to the right place. Welcome Sirs! Mount Everest – the highest mountain on the planet, rising 8,850 m (29,035 ft.) above sea level, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet, is said to be the most desired mountain to climb among serious high-altitude climbers. It’s one of the seven wonders of the natural world and the highest peaks in the Himalayas.

Mount Everest. Photo Credit: Rupert Taylor-Price at Flickr.

Reaching the summit of Everest is relatively easy and secure than descending it. There is a list of heartbreaking stories of the climbers who successfully ascended the mountain, but on their way back to base camp, the glory faded away by the Mother Nature’s unforgivable sin. You might have heard the story of the tragic accident of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. The incident actually took place while descending the summit. It was an absolute disaster!

Today, you will encounter some of the greatest books ever published on Mount Everest written by the climbers who successfully reached the summit and descended. The following books don’t only highlight information on Everest but also provide useful guides to ascending and descending the summit, including impressive photographs, their inspiring and tragic tales of the trips to Everest.

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

Photo Credit: Amazon.com.

I always love reading non-fiction books of different kinds and have admired reading adventure genres written based on true story. “High Adventure” is Sir Edmund Hillary’s exciting account of the first successful summit of Mount Everest in 1953. The book tells you the story of their heroic journey to become the first explores to reach the summit of world’s tallest mountain “Everest.”

A true classic adventure book like this should never be ignored. If you have not read this yet, I highly recommend you to collect it. It’s a treasure on your bookshelf. The story telling is quite straightforward and when reading the pages, it may seem to you like you were one of the members of that expedition group with the iconic mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary, and Tenzing Norgay. Read the story of their historic journey which had gone through a difficult time. In fact, climbing Mt. Everest would never be easy as everyone knows it as a death zone.

2) Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer – arguably the most recommended book you would ever read when it comes to a trilling yet very tragic adventure in the Himalaya’s Mount Everest. You can even put it in the basket of some of the very finest heartbreaking books ever written in World literature. Krakauer’s writing style is great, and he without question is a born writer, I have to admit it because I have figured it out while reading his other bestselling book, Into the Wild.

The author takes the readers on a journey highlighting everything that was part of the 1996 Everest expedition. Indeed the journey was interesting, but the outcome was awfully destructive and heartbreaking with eight climbers died in a blizzard. No one had expected it. Despite all the criticism regarding the incident, Krakauer revealed the true story (from his perspective) that he witnessed on that unimaginable day. The bad things happen to our lives even when we make a little mistake. Yes, something went wrong on the day!

This astounding adventure book has become one of the classics that every mountaineering enthusiast should read. And it does not matter whether you dream of climbing Mt. Everest or not. If reading is in your blood and love adventure genre, it’s a must-read book for you.

3) Touching my Father’s Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the Top of Everest

Mt. Everest is a real deathtrap. It’s alluring and has taken the lives of many climbers including the Sherpas over the last decades. Climbing the summit requires a lot of experiences, planning, respect, commitment, patience, team work, and perseverance. In fact, forming a group of experienced mountaineers is must thing to do, which includes the Sherpa – often called elite mountaineers who are to help, guide and carry the equipments of climbers. Whether you believe it or not, despite their crucial role in Everest exploration, they often remain unnoticed and neglected whatever the result of an expedition.

Touching Father’s Soul” – a comprehensive book written based on the life of Sherpas, who dwell in the Himalaya. The author of the book, Jamling Tenzing Norgay (the son of Tenzing Norgay), gives you an insider’s view of the Sherpa world including the Buddhist culture, rituals and beliefs that belong to them. This is obviously the best and exclusive book I have read about Everest from a Sherpa’s perspective. Hats off to you Jamling for writing this wonderful book, and running an adventure travel company “Tenzing Norgay Adventures” – which I believe could help climbers teaching the ultimate mountaineering guides.

4) The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest

If you read Krakauer’s classic Into Thin Air, you have to read Boukreev’s The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest. These books are controversial, yet engaging and very informative on the tragic accident of the 1966 Everest Disaster. This book is about Boukreev’s response to Krakauer’s criticisms of him in his book (Into Thin Air). When you read it, think yourself as a judge and try to find out the facts on what had really happened on that day.

Although his kind responsibility and heroic effort have been exposed in poor light in the book of Krakauer, he was considered a hero to among survivors of that disaster. It’s true that after the disaster, his bravery in rescuing his 3 clients made him the main protagonist.

Reading these two books doesn’t actually motivate you to make the final decision to judge their true characters. Maybe there was something hidden which is still unknown to us except the authors. No matter whose account you believe, or which account is more truthful, these books are quite thrilling and you could hardly put them down.

Please note Boukreev was killed in an avalanche on Annapurna on December 25 in 1997.

5) Everest: Mountain Without Mercy

Everest: Mountain Without Mercy” is a great companion of the many books on the 1996 Everest Disaster. The main theme of the book is based on that tragedy took place in the spring of 1996. However, this book is quite different than Into Thin Air, and The Climb. Along with reading the part of the tragic accident, this book covers some of the very important topics which an Everest enthusiast must know, especially if he or she dreams of climbing such great high altitudes.

The author of “Everest: Mountain without Mercy”, Broughton Coburn’s writing style is very concise, who was commissioned to write a book about the filmmaking expedition, known as IMAX documentary film “Everest”. David Breashears, a friend of the author, he and his film crew were supposed to climb the summit on the same day of the 1966 Everest disaster but they postponed the plan and participated in the rescue of the climbers trapped by the deadly blizzard.

In the book, you see many colorful awe-inspiring photographs of the Himalayas, which had never been photographed by anyone before. By reading this classic you embark on a journey of exploring the true story of the tragic event, Sherpa culture, altitude sickness, history of climbing Everest, geology of the Himalaya, base camp, and the triumph of reaching the summit. Without any doubt, the book is very educational at the same time entertaining.

6) Blind Descent: Surviving Alone and Blind on Mount Everest

No one can predict the outcome of a trip to Mount Everest. Every climber hopes for a happy ending though. Hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration, headache with or without dizziness, vomiting, insomnia, and other common altitude sickness including running out of oxygen, and bad weather are said to be the major concerns, which may hamper your journey to the summit and descending from the top of it.

What would you do if you encounter one of those hazards? What if your guide becomes ill and leaves you alone on the way to the summit? What if you become snow blind? Will you ascend the mountain alone? I don’t know your answers but what I have learned from reading “Blind Descent” was “don’t lose your hope”. If you ask these questions to Author Brian Dickinson (US Navy Air Rescue Swimmer), you would probably get the right answers with a lot of inspirations.

He ascended the summit of Mt. Everest on May 15, in 2011, after his guide became awfully ill. As a result, the guide had to turn back down to base camp. The situation was unimaginable, though he decided to climb the mountain all alone. He successfully climbed it, but on his way down to base camp, he became snow blind. What a terrifying moment it was! Why don’t you manage some time to read his great surviving story?

7) Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

There are some books that I really adore, and I don’t mind rereading them. “Into the Silence” is such a kind of book that I am not reluctant to reread. Here, the story of the Everest expedition is as captivating as the writing itself. The book’s author “Wade Davis” has explained everything very comprehensively, and to be honest with you, it has an excellent descriptive style.

Along with other mountaineers, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine had participated in the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition with an intention to be the first explores of climbing Mt. Everest. Mallory and Irvine were believed to disappear on the North-East ridge during their attempt to make the first ascent of the world’s tallest mountain. Don’t you think that the book only covers the story of Everest expedition of these two British climbers; instead it’s a powerful book telling you about the terrible influence of the Great War at the time, the spiritual effect of the great mountain, Tibetan history and culture, the Great Game, and much more.

The book is very educational, and extremely well-researched. I think every library around the world should preserve a copy of this historic book. Please note Davis had taken about 10 years to finish the writing. Imagine yourself how dedicated he was!

8) The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent

Reading stories based on Mount Everest fascinates me, despite the heartbreaking Everest expedition tales. The glory of climbing the world’s highest top is a great achievement for serious mountaineers. It’s also a greatest achievement when the toughest guys in the world attempt on the summit without supplemental oxygen. On 8 May, 1978, Reinhold Messner did it along with his mate Peter Haveler (An Austrian born mountaineer). They were the first men to climb Mt. Everest solo without the use of supplemental oxygen, and Sherpa support, ropes, crevasse ladders, and radio.

The Crystal Horizon” does not only cover the story of the heroic attempt on climbing Everest, rather it takes readers on a journey which reveals the technique they used to climb the mountain, history of people who attempted to climb Everest solo before he did, the culture of the Tibetan people, and wonderful photographs. The book also provides a lot of stuff about his girlfriend who accompanied him to base camp. This incredible book is beautifully descriptive, well-written and if you need some serious inspirations in climbing Everest, this is your next read. It’s worth a read if you like adventure!

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