9 books about Everest that every mountain enthusiast should read

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File image: Mount Everest

Books about Everest are not a rarity. Over the course of history, over a hundred books have been written about the highest mountain on Earth. Some shed light on a particular year and an incident while some were written about the climbers’ experience reaching the top of the world. 

Every book about Everest is different and gives the reader a different insight. These books also tell people a lot about the mountain, what it takes to climb it and what goes through an expedition and how teams overcome challenges in the ‘death zone’.

But, what books to read? Today, we bring you a list of books about Everest that will help you understand the mountain a little more.

1. Into Thin Air

This is one of the most read books about Everest. Written by Jon Krakauer, the book details Krakauer’s experience in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a storm. The book is great evidence of how the rise of commercial climbing was posing a major threat to everyone on the mountain. A detailed and harrowing travelogue should be read by anyone who is remotely fascinated by Everest.

tiger of snows - books about everest

2. Tenzing Norgay: Tiger of the Snows

This is an autobiography about the first person to reach the summit of Everest – Tenzing Norgay. The book takes you into the life of Tenzing Norgay, how he got into mountaineering, the Sherpa culture and the first ascent of Everest with Edmund Hillary. The book will take you back in time to the early 1990s through to the time when he time and again went to Everest only to come back empty-handed. It is a gem to understand what it meant to climb the mountain for a person born in the Everest region. One of the timeless books about Everest…

the third pole - books about Everest

3. The Third Pole

This is one of the latest books about Everest, but it takes us back nearly 100 years to one of the early expeditions by Andrew Irvine and George Mallory. The book tells the story of a few ambitious climbers who search for the body of Irvine which, to date, has never been found. It also covers how modern-day commercialisation has broken the mountain and sheds light on issues including the infamous traffic jam on Everest.

4. Touching My Father’s Soul

This book about Tenzing Norgay’s son Jamling Tenzing Norgay is a riveting read. From his childhood to becoming the son of the guy who climbed Everest, the book takes you on a journey along with Jamling who reached the top of the world following his father’s footsteps leading the 1996 IMAX team. As one of the best books about Everest, it shows how desperate Jamling wanted to climb the mountain and how his father wanted his son to find his own way to the top. A must-have on the list of books about Everest…

5. Left for Dead 

This book is all about survival. Beck Weathers was a part of the 1996 team that Jon Krakauer was also a part of and was assumed dead after he fell unconscious due to fatigue and altitude sickness. Left for dead, Weathers woke up, frostbitten and near dead. Yet, he dug deep into his core to find strength and made it down the mountain the same year some parts of his team, including expedition leader Rob Hall, died. It is a great comeback story among the best books about Everest.

6. The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mount Everest

This is another book about the 1924 Everest expedition. In the book, adventurer Conrad Anker pieces together what might have happened to the two climbers who got lost forever on the mountain. Anker also writes how he and his team were able to find Malory’s body in the mountain. The manner in which the past and present have been intertwined makes this one of the most interesting books about Everest.

7. The Climb

A book about the 1996 disaster, The Climb tells the story from the perspective of the commercial expedition leader. Following the 1996 disaster, co-writer Anatoli Boukreev was criticised heavily for the failings of the expeditions. Boukreev had decided to climb without oxygen and has been criticised by everyone including Jon Krakauer who said Boukreev not using oxygen was not in the client’s best interests. In the book, Boukreev defends not using oxygen and tells how he went into the heart of the storm to rescue three clients alive. This book certainly should be on your list of books about Everest.

8. The Crystal Horizon

On August 20, 1980, Reinhold Messner reached the summit of Everest alone and without the use of oxygen. This book captures exactly that. Messner takes us on a journey to Tibet, a place that remained a mystery to a lot of people. He talks about the hardship of climbing a mountain like Everest alone and how the body feels when deprived of oxygen and why he takes risks. It also has the diary entry of his then-girlfriend Nina Holguin, which gives some nuance to people who wanted to learn more about Messner.

9. The Next Everest

The Next Everest is the true story of climber Jim Davidson who survived a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that set off avalanches across the world’s highest peak in 2015. Davidson had trained hard to prepare himself to climb Everest, but on April 25, 2015, an avalanche from Pumori wrecked Everest base camp. Jim survived. This book shows how he came back, both physically and psychologically, and reached the summit of Everest in the spring of 2017. It also answers some questions people pose. Why do climbers put themselves at such risk? How could Jim even think about doing Everest again? The questions are eloquently answered in this thrilling memoir and one of the most gripping books about Everest.

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