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If there is one mountain that is known across the whole world, it must be the highest – Everest. To the people who live at its foot she is Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World. The disappearance of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine close to the summit in 1924 gave the mountain a tragic romanticism, of young men risking everything for a dream. When Norgay Tenzing and Ed Hillary became the first men to stand on the summit in 1953, it was the crowning glory for the coronation of Elizabeth 11.

But forty-four years on, there are scores of ascents nearly every season, many by climbers who have paid to be guided up it. There are stories of bodies and heaps of garbage abandoned on the slopes, of the loss of cultural identity among the Sherpas and Tibetians who live at the foot of Everest. The author talked to politicians and environmentalists, to mountaineers and local people about life around the mountain. He found a poor region struggling to develop and change, which has environmental problems, far greater than rubbish left by climbers. The local people are resourceful and cultured, reliant on the work the mountaineers and the mountain provide, but striving to find a balance between the new and the old.

Ed Douglas author, Constable & Co Ltd publisher 1997, 226pp, h/c, b/w photos.

Ex library copy in reasonable clean condition.

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  • Seller location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, NZ

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