South Col, One Man’s Adventure on the Ascent of Everest, 1953, by Wilfred Noyce. 303 pages, 5 maps, 4 colored plates, 71 photographs, and 16 drawings. Melbourne, London, Toronto: William Heineman Ltd., 1954.
In this interesting and well written book Wilfred Noyce carries up Everest as far as the South Col and lets us live the climb with him and see everything as it happened through his eyes. We feel his hopes, aspirations, joys, and disappointments. We suffer with him hunger, thirst, and the monotony of a high-altitude diet. We plod up endless snow slopes and know what it is to lack oxygen. We feel the peace and contentment that living and striving upwards in the high mountains brings. We find ourselves a member of the team and get to know our climbing companions. We gain deep affection for the faithful, happy, and lovable Sherpas and even catch a whiff of the unmistakable Sherpa odor. This is what Wilfred Noyce succeeds in giving us. The volume is no official account of all the details of the expedition; for that we have already seen Sir John Hunt’s admirable book. The sum- mit climb, for example, is indeed recounted, but it is seen as Noyce saw it, awaiting Hillary and Tenzing on the South Col. The format is excellent. The many fine photographs are well reproduced. A. J. Veilhan’s drawings well catch the spirit of the climb. Here is a book well worth reading and owning. If you have been in the Himalaya, it brings back pleasant moods and memories; if you have not, it lets you imagine that you have.
H. Adams Carter