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Eric Shipton

(1907—1977) explorer and mountaineer


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(1907–77), British writer on mountaineering, born in Ceylon; he received an irregular education in the course of a highly mobile childhood. Having made the first ascent of Kamet, at that time the highest mountain ever climbed, in 1931, his four attempts on Mount Everest (1933, 1935, 1936, 1938) established him as the foremost Himalayan climber of the day. His distaste for large expeditions is said to have cost him the leadership of the successful 1953 Everest expedition, for which he surveyed the route, publishing The Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition in 1952. Nanda Devi (1936), an account of the exploration of the approaches to Nanda Devi, is among the most highly regarded mountaineering books of the century. His works, characteristically unassuming and witty in style, include Blank upon the Map (1938), on his 1937 Shaksgam expedition; Upon That Mountain (1943), an autobiography; Mountains of Tartary (1951), a record of climbs in Central Asia; and Land of Tempest (1963), on exploration and climbing in Tierra del Fuego; all the above titles were collected as The Six Mountain Books in 1985. Among Shipton's other publications is the autobiographical That Untravelled World (1973).

From The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).


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