Lot 130A personal account of the ascent of Everest...

Auction Date: 2/09/2014 at 01pm



A personal account of the ascent of Everest by Hugh Ruttledge – Everest – autograph – Hugh Ruttledge typed account of Mouth Everest signed twice by Hugh Ruttledge, the leader of the 1933 and 1936 expeditions, dated May 30th 1939. Folio 5pp, with a few ms corrections in his hand, together with a holograph poem on mountaineering , a press cutting written during the fateful Malory and Irvine 1922 expedition and a few press cuttings on the eventually successful 1953 expedition. An important document in the history of mountaineering, especially for the conqueror of Everest. This was probably written as an article either for a magazine or newspaper. ‘The attempt to climb Mount Everest provides one of the last of the great primitive adventures still open to us. The fact that six first-rate expeditions have failed to reach the summit is the measure of its difficulty and the challenge to persevere. Its extreme fascination lies in the belief that success is perhaps only just within the reach of human ability...’ ‘I have seen nothing more terrific than the great face: some 16,000 feet of fluted ice, up which no human being could force a way. On the west is a colossal precipice, equally impossible, while the east is defended by an enormously long, marrow ridge which provides no sites for even the smallest of camps. No we are left with the north face...’ ‘...in our attempts on Mount Everest we have reached a height of about 28,100 feet which is considerably higher than what physiologists expected of us (at one time they thought that life would be impossible above 23,000feet). ‘....temperatures of more than 50 degrees of frost coupled with such winds affecting men already weakened by altitude and exertion will wreak havoc on the strongest party. Then it is that the real test comes. I have seen powerful and active men so overcome by this paralysing cold that they have prayed to allowed to sit down and rest on an exposed ridge where certain death would overtake them in a few minutes. Ruttledge (1884-1961) a civil servant and mountaineer was chosen to lead both the attempts on Everest which followed the tragic 1922 attempt of Mallory and Irvine. Both attempts were unsuccessful but in 1933 Ruttledge reached 28,116 ft and it was during this expedition that they found the ice axe which had belonged to Irvine. Ironically one of the Sherpa’s rejected for this attempt was Tenzing Norgay – but for his later attempt three years later Ruttledge ensured that Tenzing was involved. It was Tenzing who eventually with Edmund Hillary reached the summit in 1953. Tenzing said of Ruttledge that he was ‘...a wonderful man, gentle and warm-hearted and all the Sherpas were very glad to be with him.’

Hammer Price: £950.00

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