We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Everest 1953 Audiobook

Everest 1953: The Epic Story of the First Ascent

On the morning of 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the first news ebbed through to the British public of a magnificent achievement: Everest had finally been conquered. Drawing on first-hand interviews and unprecedented access to archives, this is a groundbreaking new account of that extraordinary first ascent. In a thrilling tale of adventure and courage, Mick Conefrey reveals that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned attempt was actually beset by crisis and controversy, both on and off the mountain.
    • 1 audiobook per month
    • 180,000+ titles to choose from
    • $14.95 per month after free trial

Publisher's Summary

On the morning of 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the first news ebbed through to the British public of a magnificent achievement: Everest had finally been conquered.

Drawing on first-hand interviews and unprecedented access to archives, this is a groundbreaking new account of that extraordinary first ascent. In a thrilling tale of adventure and courage, Mick Conefrey reveals that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned attempt was actually beset by crisis and controversy, both on and off the mountain.

From funding panics to Sherpa rebellions, hostile press to menacing weather, John Hunt and his team had to draw on unimaginable skill and determination, as well as sheer British ingenuity, to succeed. An intimate insight into the forgotten personalities behind the ascent including Eric Shipton, the enigmatic Mr Everest, and Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, who came within 100 metres of being first to the summit. Everest 1953 recounts a bygone age of self-sacrifice and heroism, using letters and personal diaries to reveal the immense stress and heartache the climbers often hid from their fellow team members.

©2012 Mick Conefrey (P)2013 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Groundbreaking... a magnificent book that deserves to become the definitive version. We cannot hope for a more human, funny or meticulous account of what was a very British expedition" (Independent)

"An exciting, moving account... a fascinating piece of documentary writing, as readable and poignant as Into Thin Air or Touching the Void." (Spectator)

"Conefrey describes this frenetic scramble for ownership of the mountain brilliantly... I often found myself deeply moved." (Observer)

"Mick Conefrey painstakingly studied the vast volume of detail surrounding the British expedition and can claim to have filled in some significant blanks on the map." (The Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (58 )
5 star
 (24)
4 star
 (25)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.3 (49 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.2 (49 )
5 star
 (19)
4 star
 (23)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jack 11-28-13
    Jack 11-28-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I've read many too"
    What would have made Everest 1953 better?

    I've read many mountaineering stories and can remember vividly reading Edmund Hillary's account of the assault on Everest; it literally gave me the chills and made my palms sweat.

    I really wanted to like this book and was hoping for a similar thrill. Sadly, the book doesn't include much description of the climb (about 45 minutes 3/4 of the way through the book). I could almost never "see" the action from the description and overall the book left me wanting.

    I would recommend Hillary's "High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest" (not on audiobook). On audiobook I'd strongly recommend "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis which gives an excellent historical account of Mallory's attempt at climbing the mountain or for a later description of climbing Everest, two modern-day thrillers like Anatoli Boukreev's "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest", or Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". On the whole Conefrey left me wanting much more than he delivered.

    Finally, the narrator did a credible job of portraying quoted passages of the characters in the book (English, French, New Zealander, and Asian) although there really wasn't a great deal of that in the book.


    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 11-27-13
    John S MA 11-27-13 Member Since 2014

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1158
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    189
    186
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    100
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "When men were men"

    It's hard to forget that only 60 years ago there were places on earth that were not explored by man. Today you can see everywhere with google earth. You can see all the approaches to the mountain in 3D.

    I read Into Thin Air about an ascent in the 1980s and it was shocking how things have changed. No gps receivers, high tech fabrics, etc. Now that Everest is climbed by teenagers it's great to read a story where the likely outcome was death. The same could be said about Lindbergh and first flight across Atlantic.

    I wish there was some unexplored place on earth that I could conquer. There will never be one for my generation. This was the last one.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark MURRINDAL, Australia 03-13-14
    Mark MURRINDAL, Australia 03-13-14

    new here

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nice Book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Everest 1953 to be better than the print version?

    The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest" (not on audiobook). On audiobook I'd strongly recommend "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis which gives an excellent historical account of Mallory's attempt at climbing the mountain or for a later description of climbing Everest, two modern-day thrillers like Anatoli Boukreev's "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest", or Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". On the whole Conefrey left me wanting much more than he delivered.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest" (not on audiobook). On audiobook I'd strongly recommend "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis which gives an excellent historical account of Mallory's attempt at climbing the mountain or for a later description of climbing Everest, two modern-day thrillers like Anatoli Boukreev's "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest", or Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". On the whole Conefrey left me wanting much more than he delivered.


    Which character – as performed by Barnaby Edwards – was your favorite?

    I wish there was some unexplored place on earth that I could conquer. There will never be one for my generation. This was the last one.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?


    Any additional comments?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 12-03-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 12-03-13 Member Since 2010

    Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1764
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    511
    217
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    784
    57
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Race to the peak!!!"

    Everest is the muse to many thrilling and tragic stories. This is a fascinating account of the first complete ascent (and descent) of the world's highest mountain peak. I was surprised that the mountain was not successfully climbed until the mid 50's. The book follows the insane competition among countries and individual climbers to be the first to the top. Along with the rivalries, the strong bonds that team members formed and the sheer exhilaration of their success made for a fantastic human interest story. I definitely recommend the book.

    I was a bit surprised and sometimes irritated by the special voices and accents the narrator used for specific quotations. The use of "character" voices and accents in nonfiction like this is unnecessary and sounds forced. However, the general narrative was well-performed and I became used to the voices after a little while. Not an impediment to enjoying the story.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • carrosvoss
    London
    9/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Man! That story is epic!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book can be divided into three parts. First is the history of discovery and attempts to summit the Everest. I found it fascinating how late Europeans actually got anywhere near the mountain, not to mention the summit.
    Second part is about the British attempts. There are moments when you think that, surely, author is joking, creating caricatures of men in power, grandiose characters with outdated racial, national and cultural attitudes. But than you realise, that it really was like that. And you just love it.
    Third part is about 1953 attempt itself. It's a story of experience, preparation, racial and cultural tensions and the hell a lot of good luck.
    If I wasn't obliged to go to work I would have listened it to it non-stop it was so good.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • GORDON
    United Kingdom
    2/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "tremendous"
    If you could sum up Everest 1953 in three words, what would they be?

    engaging, interesting, frightening


    What other book might you compare Everest 1953 to, and why?

    it's an adventure book, which really held my interest, despite my knowing the outcome. it included loads of details which didn't hinder the telling of the story at all. i also found myself becoming really involved with the story and wondering how the mountaineers held their nerve.


    What does Barnaby Edwards bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    he kept my interest - he included a few varied accents, etc., but generally played a straightforward game. really good.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    (like the book): epic


    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Steven Feeney
    Northants, UK
    9/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic narration!"

    A truly excellent look at the 53 Everest expedition with some of the best narration I have heard.

    Pacy, historical, authentic and well written.

    Fantastic lines such as "Tenzing Norgay stood atop the summit and gazed upon the topography of his life - Khumbu, Darjeeling and the plains..."

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Rathgar, Ireland
    9/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Page turner"

    A wonderfully thorough and well written account of a landmark in human achievement.

    The writing brings the whole expedition and its many personalities to life. I was sorry to reach the end. Highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    UK
    4/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thorough telling of the '53 ascent and since"

    Obviously any book about the 1953 accent to the peak of Everest is read knowing it was successful.

    The author sets the scene well, covers in detail the preparations for the ascent (previous expeditions and the '52 training) and the eventual success. He also makes to create a sense of time and place - the motivations of the team, the political environment, the privations, mistakes and upsets along the way. This gives the listener a better appreciation for the experiences of the team and done of the post decent turmoil.

    I found it very interesting, well narrated and edited and didn't feel like I was listening to 11 hours.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Joy
    HengeloNetherlands
    1/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Once you've reached the top the only way is down!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes - I've already done so. It is an excellent account for a famous event. It gives a lot of insight into the before and after reaching the top. I had no idea about how poor the equipment was and how Hunt, Hillary and Tenzing had suffered personally after the euphoria very quickly died down.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tenzing Norgay. He demonstrates that non-Europeans can also be global heroes.


    Any additional comments?

    Even if you aren't interested in mountain climbing (I've not got a head for heights!) this book is sill worth listening to. It is an amazing story which many people know the event but maybe not the details of overcoming odds, poor equipment and prejudices. It is well written - even though we know they made it to the top the author still keeps the suspense going. I found what happened afterwards fascinating and also very sad - particularly Tenzing who had once been tea-total but died an alcoholic possibly because of the strains of fame and the behaviour of politicians.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Dave Bolton
    Manchester
    1/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boys-Own Adventure."

    Top performance by Mick Conefry reading this 1950's boys own adventure. Of course, we all know the basics of this story, or think we do, but this book adds meat to the gristle and there was so much new to me to make it a very worthwhile listen. At times I found myself holding my breath as the climbers progressed higher and higher. Wonderful stuff!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Suzy
    12/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good chronological story of the climb"
    Where does Everest 1953 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is a good non-fiction book that I really enjoyed as it keeps a steady pace and the chronological story telling makes it ideal to follow on audio. The only thing which is missing in parts is a sense of who the main characters really are before climbing. Although the book starts with the 1951 expedition to Everest, I didn't feel I really knew the characters well and so in places it was just became a list of names of the various climbing teams and it didn't matter who reached the summit. I think the pace would have suffered if the author had included backstory using flashbacks, so I'm unsure how he could've tackled this problem.

    The description of the climbing and the struggles to adjust to high altitude and media attention etc was moving and not too technical like some books on this subject. There was also a short chapter following up their lives post 1953. Overall recommended as an informative read from all sides but rather bland from an emotional viewpoint.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel
    NORWICH, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Facinating history"

    This is a facinating history of the first ascent of Everest. It gives the build up to the exbitition, including details of the previous year's exbiditions, and also the fall out of the sucessful ascent. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it. It is well written and is an easy listen, not just a dry history book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • John
    St Leonards on Sea, United Kingdom
    10/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not bad at all. I enjoyed this."

    it's not my typical thing. but it was on a daily deal and only £1.50 so I thought if try it. glad I did. it kept me entertained for a while, and I felt I learned some history too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.