Review: The Last Great Mountain, Mick Conefrey


Kangchenjunga… The name would leave most cold and unknowing until reading Mr Conefrey. Another excellent adventure in the mountains, this book is more international as the author himself likes to state in the very beginning of the story because this mountain was only climbed after teams from many nations made their effort.

Much of the book focuses on the first failed efforts, including a reconnaissance in the late 19th century. Many of the mountaineering names that are familiar from histories of the Himalayas also show up here, making this a good book to support an understanding of the early Himalayan explorers.

The most interesting and tragic aspect is provided by the very same failures although even the successful mission that draws the story to a close had its own troubles. The author tries to understand these human issues by using available diaries from members of the expedition, and indeed his narrative shirks away from blame. Instead, we get the emotions of the climbers.

Overall, a splendid mountaineering book! This story was crowned for me by the final abstinence of the two who made it to the top.

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