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1982, Hardback with dustjacket. First edition in good condition.


The unexplored mountains of Tibet and Chinese Central Asia have been a focus of fascination ever since the 1950s when the main Himalayan chain was opened to the west. Gazing north from the summits of Everest or K2, climbers have yearned for access to the unnamed endless ranges, melting into a distant brown and purple horizon. Now in the 1980s the Chinese Mountaineering Association is starting to open some of the peaks in its great mountaineering treasury to foreigners. The British Mount Kongur expedition was the first to be allowed into China, its choice a 7, 719-metre peak in Southern Xinjiang province. Its purpose was twofold - to combine a four-man alpine-style ascent of one of the world's highest unclimbed peaks with the research of a four-man scientific team, under the direction of the expedition leader, Michael Ward. Chris Bonington tells an exciting climbing narrative with great verve, honesty and the sheer readability readers have come to expect from the author of Everest the Hard Way and Quest For Adventure. But this was only part of the story. At Base Camp the scientists, Michael Ward, Charles Clarke, Jim Milledge and Edward Williams, monitored the climbers' performance and obtained valuable data to help research into oxygen lack related illnesses such as chronic lung and heart disease, and being no mean climbers themselves, they carried loads in support of the climbing team to over 6, 000 metres. Kongur, China's Elusive Summit blends the excitement of climbing exploration in the best tradition of Shipton and Tilman, with a layman's summary of a valuable high-altitude scientific programme, all taking place in the remote world west of the Karakol Lakes where the ancient horseback game of buzkashi is still played at furious speed, and the influence of Peking, 2, 500 miles away to the east, is filtered through the timeless nomadic lifestyle of the people of the old Silk Road.

Kongur: China’s elusive Summit, By Chris Bonington

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