Naomi recently bought me this book for our first wedding anniversary, the title says it all really, it’s the epic story of the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 (read into that as an anniversary present what you will!). It charts the adventure from reconnaissance expeditions several years prior; through the planning, training and preparation of the successful summit expedition, and culminates in the legacy left by the team who first conquered the highest peak on our beautiful planet.
The thing that makes this book such a great addition to the Everest literature is that it tells the story from the human perspective. It’s a real mix of collective vision, leadership, teamwork, technical innovation and that most human of qualities, the spirit of endeavour. But it also deals with the flipside of these, the personal disappointments, sacrifices and perseverance required in pursuit of that collective vision.
The 1953 Everest expedition was a team of people setting themselves a hugely ambitious goal, using their collective expertise to prepare as best they could for setting off into unchartered territory, then trusting in the team’s ability to overcome unexpected problems they encounter en-route towards that goal. In many ways this is how we feel when embarking on a building project, each project we do involves unknowns and I always find it inspiring what can be achieved when you put your faith in people!