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Only Two For Everest: How a First Ascent by Riddiford and Cotter Shaped Climbing History

Author(s): McKinnon, Lyn

Copyright: 2016, NZ
Specifications: 1st, 8vo, pp.352, photo frontis, 55 color & 102 bw photos, 4 color maps, appendices, wraps w/ French flaps
Condition: new

The 1951 First New Zealand Himalayan Expedition was initiated by Earle Riddiford who, together with Ed Cotter (Guy Cotter’s father), Edmund Hillary, George Lowe, and Pasang Dawa Lama made the first ascent of Mukut Parbat (7242m), their target peak in the Garhwal Himalaya.

Hearing of the success on Mukut Parbat, the New Zealand Alpine Club suggested to the Alpine Club in London that acclimatised New Zealanders would be a valuable asset on the forthcoming 1951 British Reconnaissance of Everest, to be led by Eric Shipton. This resulted in an invitation for two New Zealanders to join the party: thrilling news the four climbers received while they were ensconced in the hill-country village of Ranikhet. A day and a half of bitter dispute rent the party asunder. Which two should go to Everest?

In this enthralling narrative, journalist McKinnon tells the stories of Earle Riddiford and Ed Cotter, two extraordinary New Zealanders whose climbing achievements were forever eclipsed. She draws on private papers as well as published work, and extensively interviews Cotter himself, and the families of both men, as well as many other contemporary climbers, to set the record straight. This is an important book in the events leading up to the first ascent of Everest in 1953.





















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