Eye on Everest

Publication Year: 1956.

Eye on Everest; A Sketch Book from the Great Everest Expedition, by Charles Evans. 123 pages of black and white sketches with brief explanatory notes. London: Dennis Dobson, Ltd. Price 12s. 6d.

Everest has been climbed only once actually, but it seems at the present time that we will be allowed to climb it vicariously many times. One of the more recent opportunities comes in Dr. Evans’ sketch book. In attitude his efforts are more a supplement to Wilfred Noyce’s book, South Col, than to Sir John Hunt’s treatise on mountaineering. He does not attempt "to tell a full consecutive story,” but rather to note the high points and give his personal impressions, pictorially.

His view is a unique one. The sketches are not so true as a photograph, but are more immediately understandable. There is humor, and pride, and dignity in these drawings, qualities hard to capture in a camera’s lens, and they have a professional polish. Another aspect of this book which pleased me was the quality that let me feel that this was familiar, and at the same time exotically new. This feeling of intimacy is rare in expedition literature.

As the book cover makes immediately apparent, Charles Evans sees things in his own way, but the subtlety here is that there is no distortion or falsehood, but merely a removal of superfluous details and a cast given to the resulting portrait which is indicative of character and approach. This book gives the impression of a fine sense of humor and an alert grasp of essentials. It is certainly a necessary addition to the Everest shelf of the library.

David A. Sowles