National Geographic : 1954 Jul
31 © lR.G .S . and Alpine Club Sherpas Demonstrate Proper Technique in Crossing a 2-pole Bridge During the early days of the icefall lift, one young cook's helper tried to negotiate a span like this, turned rigid with fright halfway across, and plummeted into the crevasse. Hauled out "like a dead seal" by Evans, he returned sadly to kitchen duties. As veteran Everester H. W. Tilman once said: "We live and learn, and big mountains are stern teachers." Kerken with his prizefighter's face; wizened, pig-tailed Da Tensing; jaunty Annullu; sol emn Ang Namgyal; my companion on the South Col, Da Namgyal; husky, jocular Pasang Phutar II; little Gompu; and a score of others-good men all (page 40). Fifteen days out of Katmandu we climbed the last ridge overlooking the village of Namche Bazar. There ahead of us, over whelming the horizon, loomed suddenly the solid mass of Everest, its peak swept almost bare of snow. Mallory, seeing it for the first time from the north, had called it "a pro digious white fang excrescent from the jaw of the world." Wind-whipped, the fang was now black. But it was no less awesome. From Namche Bazar we climbed with ever increasing exhilaration to the monastery of Thyangboche-surely the most magnificent grandstand ever provided for mountain scen ery (page 7). Here, on a grassy 13,500-foot alp where yaks grazed, we pitched camp (page 18). We had much to do; yet again and again we looked up from our tasks, transfixed by the majesty, the sheer icy splendor of the peaks that rose around us: the Everest group; Ama Dablam, whose cruel summit makes the Matterhorn look tame; the twin spires of Kangtega and Thamserku, delicately fluted; Kwangde's long and lofty barrier. Abbot Tells of Abominable Snowman Paying off most of our carriers we sorted out our kits, issued mountain gear to the Sherpas, and called upon the local abbot, who entertained us with an account of an Abomi nable Snowman-five feet high and covered with reddish hair-which had wandered across the monastery grounds a few years before and been driven off by loud blowing of horns and conch shells. I promised to keep a sharp lookout for one of these "Yetis," as the Tibet ans call them, as we proceeded to Everest.