John Keay

High Altitude, Low Profile

Everest: The First Ascent – The Untold Story of Griffith Pugh, the Man who Made It Possible


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It’s fair to say that Dr Lewis Griffith Cresswell Evans Pugh was not the most appreciated member of the 1953 expedition to Mount Everest. In The Conquest of Everest, the award-winning film of the expedition, Pugh appeared just twice, once in a catatonic state to demonstrate how oxygen deprivation affected the brain, and once in the process of subjecting an ‘unfortunate’ climber to what the narrator called a ‘not very popular’ experiment. This apparently involved a ‘contraption of glass and rubber’ to which the subject was connected, before being made to work out until he dropped.

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