Tigers of the Snow

How One Fateful Climb Made The Sherpas Mountaineering Legends

Jonathan Neale

Thomas Dunne Books

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The true story of the tragedy and survival on one of the world's most dangerous mountains.

In 1922 Himalayan climbers were British gentlemen, and their Sherpa and Tibetan porters were "coolies," unskilled and inexperienced casual laborers. By 1953 Sherpa Tenzing Norgay stood on the summit of Everest, and the coolies had become the "Tigers of the Snow."

Jonathan Neale's absorbing new book is both a compelling history of the oft-forgotten heroes of mountaineering and a gripping account of the expedition that transformed the Sherpas into climbing legends. In 1934 a German-led team set off to climb the Himalayan peak of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain on earth. After a disastrous assault in 1895, no attempt had been made to conquer the mountain for thirty-nine years. The new Nazi government was determined to prove German physical superiority to the rest of the world. A heavily funded expedition was under pressure to deliver results. Like all climbers of the time, they did not really understand what altitude did to the human body. When a hurricane hit the leading party just short of the summit, the strongest German climbers headed down and left the weaker Germans and the Sherpas to die on the ridge. What happened in the next few days of death and fear changed forever how the Sherpa climbers thought of themselves. From that point on, they knew they were the decent and responsible people of the mountain.

Jonathan Neale interviewed many old Sherpa men and women, including Ang Tsering, the last man off Nanga Parbat alive in 1934. Impeccably researched and superbly written, Tigers of the Snow is the compelling narrative of a climb gone wrong, set against the mountaineering history of the early twentieth century, the haunting background of German politics in the 1930s, and the hardship and passion of life in the Sherpa valleys.

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Book Excerpts

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PART ISherpas and SahibsChapter OneTHE SHERPASAbout five hundred years ago there was fighting in Kham, in eastern Tibet, and many refugees fled. A few families went to the region north of Mount Everest, and then over the Nangpa La, the high pass east of Everest, down into the valleys of Khumbu in Nepal. Those families were the first Sherpas.Khumbu was three parallel glacial valleys. In the western valley, below the Nangpa La, the Sherpas built the village of Thame. The central valley came down from Cho Oyu, the ninth-highest mountain in the world, and there they founded the village of Phortse on

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Reviews

Praise for Tigers of the Snow

"If there were six people on an expedition who wrote a book about it, a reader would feel he'd been on six different expeditions. And now we have a version from the Sherpas' perspective, in many ways the most important."--Doug Scott, mountaineer and author of The Shishapangma Expedition and Himalayan Climber

"By turns comprehensive and dramatic...The kind of thoughtful and informed portrait that the Sherpas richly deserve."--Kirkus Reviews

"This is a very personal story of Sherpas and how they developed from casual laborers to skilled mountain men. Jonathan Neale has lived with them, learned their language, and he has gotten into their psyche and iron determination. From the Sherpas' point of view of expeditions, he has gotten it right."--George Lowe, C.NZ.M., O.B.E.

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About the Author

Jonathan Neale

Jonathan Neale was born in New York, grew up in India and Texas, and lives in England. He has written three nonfiction books, three novels, and eleven plays. Neale has done anthropological field research with nomads in Afghanistan, sailed the Atlantic in a small boat, worked for several years as an AIDS counselor, written a Ph.D. thesis on naval mutinies in eighteenth-century Britain, and was part of the organizing committee for the protests against the G8 in Genoa in 2001. This book grew out of his love for trekking in the Himalayas.

Ph.D. Jonathan Neale

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Available Formats and Book Details

Tigers of the Snow
How One Fateful Climb Made The Sherpas Mountaineering Legends
Jonathan Neale

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
June 2002
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429978583
ISBN10: 1429978589
320 pages
$7.99
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Thomas Dunne Books

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