“The best Everest book I’ve read since Into Thin Air. Synnott’s climbing skills take you places few will ever dare to tread, but it’s his writing that will keep you turning pages well past bedtime.”


Just finished The Third Pole by Mark Sinnott. Non-Fiction. Audio version.
We all know about the North and South Pole,but the Third Pole is the top of the world, Mount Everest. This book was also a documentary on the Disney Plus channel called Lost on Everest. While the book is about a summit attempt, the real story here is for the search to try and solve the biggest mystery about Mt. Everest. What is the entire story behind the 1924 summit attempt of Mallory and Irvine, last seen through the clouds about 800 vertical feet from the summit, apparently going strong, and then the clouds closed up and they were never seen alive again.

This was the first major expedition to climb the mountain and ever since they disappeared it has always been wondered about whether they made it to the top. It is felt that once they managed to complete the section where they were last seen, then the path to the top was open and theirs for the taking.
Everest is finally climbed for the first time by Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide in the early 1950’s . Since then, hundreds have made it to the top.
Everest takes its toll and the book relates how Everest is a living cemetery, with dozens of bodies lying where they died, too high up the mountain to bring down.
The book has many individual stories about climbers who survived by way of miracles, and so many that failed and now lay on this mountain forever.
The interest in solving the Mallory mystery was intensified when in 1999 his body was discovered. Still in almost perfect condition, he was identified because of his name stitched into his clothing and letters from his wife that were found in his pocket. Missing was a camera that was brought with them to take pictures from the summit if they made it. It is assumed that Irvine had the camera.

Based on two climbers who claimed to see Irvine’s body many years ago, they feel they have a reasonable chance of finding him and solve the mystery. The preparations for the climb, including the use of drones to help locate the body are told in a real page turner fashion, and their problems with the Chineese government concerning the climb adds to the tension before and during the search.
A well written, fascinating account about one of the most dangerous places on earth, where climbers pay up to eighty thousand dollars for the privilege to make the attempt, this book is a fascinating look at what has become a place of controversy and death.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 31st August 2021

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Richard Franco