Here the British Everest story is portrayed as a story of incompetence and failure, mixed with a liberal sprinkling of diplomatic scheming. But this is also contradicted elsewhere. I am not being compensated in any way save the joy of doing it for writing this blog, either for what I say or whether I post. I should mention that I genuinely enjoyed it, and have felt under no pressure to write a favourable review. He found more cooperative volunteers when he started studying the effects of hypothermia on long distance swimmers, and even persuaded one of them, Jason Zirganos, to swim the entire length of Windermere with a thermometer inserted five inches up his rectum. Mindful of previous deficiencies, Pugh advocated new oxygen and fluid-intake regimes and a detailed acclimatisation programme.
Many things hill walkers now take for granted were discovered by Pugh during his research. This is standard practice for athletes today, but back then it was a great discovery. Despite this, he was able to observe that four litres a minute was the optimum flow rate, a statement that proved remarkably accurate. He had a string of affairs and was still seeing prostitutes at the age of 80. Tuckey pieces together his efforts, both through official channels and behind the scenes, to get his scientific innovations to be used, including a drawn-out conflict over how much oxygen should be carried and used. Based on the evidence Tuckey presents, I can understand why John Hunt was on board with Pugh's recommendations, but I am still astonished that he got the climbers for the most part to follow through with them as well. Ward, by contrast, was convinced that a more scientific approach was needed and he managed to get Pugh involved first in the preparatory British expedition to Cho Oyo, a 26,865ft peak near Everest, in 1952, and then on the Everest expedition proper in 1953.
When left to his own devices Pugh thought Hunt was no good at choosing equipment. Numerous books have been written on the expedition and what we think to be the truth has become part of accepted history. He proved scientifically that the complaints were perfectly true, and the apparatus was redesigned to be as light as possible. Hillary is shown to take his place on the long list of people who failed to give full credit to Pugh, both for the 1953 expedition and other achievements later on. Sherpas lift heaven and earth to help people climb Everest, but often their contribution goes unacknowledged. During this period he also conducted experiments on slipstreaming, and discovered athletes could gain a second per lap if they hung on the shoulders of the athlete in front. A far more satisfying reading experience is provided by Letters From Everest — a beautifully-presented collection of the letters Lowe wrote to his sister Betty while on the climb, to be copied and forwarded on to his various friends and relations back home.
Pugh was a pioneering physiologist who studied the effects of hypothermia on the body and contributed a vast amount of scientific research to the expedition, without the results of which Hillary and Norgay could not have reached the summit. On the approach to Everest, he made sure the climbers spent more than twice as long as usual getting used to the effects of altitude before embarking on the final stages of the ascent; he made sure they drank enough at every stage of the climb three to four litres of water a day ; and — vitally — he ensured that enough oxygen was shipped to India for the expedition — substantially more than a Swiss party had used on an unsuccessful Everest attempt the previous year. To receive my weekly blog post about mountains and occasional info about new releases, join my mailing list and. I hope another edition might recover some that were put away into archives. I would have been more than happy to read another 100 pages of it, but I suppose publishers know best. When Hillary and Tenzing bedded down at their final camp on 28 May 1953, the night before they became the first men ever to set foot on the summit of Everest, Tuckey points out that they had Pugh to thank for pretty much everything around them.
I have read it with care and I found no inaccuracies and the review comments about Hillary and the Silver Hut scientific results are absolutely true. Everyone thinks they know the Everest story. Michael Ward, in 2003 , made initial arguments that Everest would not have been climbed without Pugh's help with authority - he was there. We were deeply involved in oxygen designs for Kangchenjunga 1955. I think that without this book, history would have eventually come around on Griffith Pugh. As it turns out, her subsequent researches show that he was comprehensively ripped off - either ignored entirely by the official Everest histories or presented as an eccentric figure of fun, whereas, in fact, he had been pivotal to the success of the whole operation.
Later in his career, his impact in helping athletes enhance their performance lasts to this day in the fields of cycling, swimming and running. In any sane society, Pugh would have been feted as a national hero alongside Hunt, Hillary and Tenzing when the triumphant Everest party returned to London, but his contribution was shamefully swept under the carpet. While Pugh was conducting experiments at 6100m on the Menlung Glacier, he was off on a jaunt down the Barun Valley with Edmund Hillary and George Lowe. Though he would later be almost entirely written out of the official history of Everest, he never bothered to defend or highlight his pivotal role in getting climbers to the summit. Everest — The First Ascent is quite simply a compelling book and provides vital insights into the 20th century history of Himalayan mountaineering. Harriet Pugh Tuckey writes a biography of her father, Griffith Pugh, while setting the record straight on his role during the 1953 expedition in Everest: The First Ascent: How a Champion of Science Helped to Conquer the Mountain.
He discovered jeans are no good for walking when they become soaked in wet and windy weather, and that youngsters would be better off walking naked. His scientific contributions were, quite simply, at odds with old-fashioned notions of derring-do and the gentlemanly amateurism that dogged the sport. October 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm I read this book with avid interest. Look out for an in depth review soon! He also made two very important discoveries which are bread and butter to Himalayan climbers these days. Many pioneers are Janus-faced in this way — those fervent, half-mad, ambitious men and sometimes women who scale mountains, chart the uncharted and meanwhile terrorise or abandon their families. An example of this tendency was one occasion at base camp when Pugh climbed for five hours up the Khumbu Icefall with Sherpas in order to carry out experiments into anoxia, only to open his box of equipment and find it full of jars of mango chutney.
She writes a sophisticated tale of a man who was terrible to his family, and yet treated others with deference and worked tirelessly to solve adventurers and athletes' problems with altitude, cold, and heat. Expedition doctor Michael Ward always had time for him and there is a suggestion that Hunt himself thought it was useful to have someone other members of the team could laugh at. Tuckey does a good job of placing the conflicts among Committee members, climbers, and scientists into the context of British society at the time. Today most mountaineers focus on their own exploits when providing accounts of their expeditions, and fail to give due credit to many of the people who help them, with the possible exception of their sponsors for those who have them. By the way you might be interested to know that my father's book which you mention , Everest: A Thousand Years of Exploration, previously only available in a limited edition that sold out years ago, is about to be re-published. Griffith Pugh was a figure of fun for many on the 1953 expedition.
On May the 29th, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the highest point on planet Earth. Amundsen was transfixed by details, and, in extreme conditions, details support or condemn you. ? Two of the most important rules for anyone going to high altitude are not to over-exert and not to become dehydrated. After fifty years of dreaming and hair-brained schemes, of failed expeditions and death, of legends and heroes, Everest had finally been climbed. This book is no sentimental memoir by a doting daughter, but a candid warts-and-all tale of a man she never actually liked.