Frank Smythe's mountaineering achievements in the decade before the Second World War became a part of climbing history. His intensive Alpine climbing, followed by two Himalayan expeditions - to Kangchenjunga in 1930 and success the following year on Kamet, the highest summit then reached - became the prelude to Everest. And in 1933 on that great mountain, climbing alone and without supplementary oxygen he got to within 820 feet of the top, a record height before efforts were resumed post-war and Everest was climbed in 1953. And as a superb Himalayan finale, in 1937 he returned to the Indian Garhwal to climb difficult peaks up to 24,000 feet in a rapid lightweight style.
This book is timely, well researched and written with the authority of a committed climber. The reader will be watching to see just how objective Frank's son will be and I can only compliment Tony Smythe on dealing with all the major events in his father's life in the most even-handed way. I found the quarrel between Smythe and Graham Brown one of the most interesting sections of the book for Tony's description of the climbing is riveting and his analysis of the disagreements masterful. The reader is left gripped... "The book does not lack humour either, and I found myself smiling, sometimes laughing out loud" Doug Scott