dated May 23, 1953: The Mountain's Final Demand

From an interview In London with Raymond Lambert who had reached 28,215 feet on Everest with the Swiss Expedition: In the final 1,000 feet going up Everest all the powers of Nature reach their climax in fighting the climber seeking to attain the summit. As the air grows thinner your legs grow heavy as though they were sticking to the ground, and your arms feel as though they were made of lead. To take off your gloves and look at your watch is almost more effort than you can make and your light alpenstock feels like a navvy's sledge-hammer. Your brain plays tricks on you. It seems to work only 50 per cent. You have difficulty in concentrating or thinking and a veil seems to form over your eyes. Only if you have continuous oxygen can you keep your head clear. But, at nights and in the camps, you do without it and then you must keep still for you cannot move about much in that rarefied air. You cannot even afford to get irritated by anybody or lose your temper, because that uses too much of the little oxygen in your blood.

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