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ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472273673

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 SPORTS BOOK AWARDS

‘The best Everest book I’ve read since Into Thin Air. Synnott’s climbing skills take you places few will ever dare to tread, but it’s his writing that will keep you turning pages well past bedtime.’ – Mark Adams

Veteran climber Mark Synnott never planned on climbing Mount Everest. But a hundred-year mystery lured him into an expedition where a history of passionate adventure, chilling tragedy, and human aspiration unfolded.

George Mallory and Sandy Irvine were last seen in 1924, eight hundred feet shy of Everest’s summit. A century later, we still don’t know whether they achieved their goal of being first to reach the top, decades before Hillary and Norgay in 1953. Irvine carried a camera with him to record their attempt, but it, along with his body, had never been found. Did Mallory and Irvine reach the summit and take a photograph before they fell to their deaths?

Mark Synnott made his own ascent up the infamous North Face to try and find Irvine’s body and the camera. But during a season described as ‘the one that broke Everest’, an awful traffic jam of climbers at the summit resulted in tragic deaths. Synnott’s quest became something bigger than the original mystery that drew him there – an attempt to understand the madness of the mountain and why it continues to have a magnetic draw on explorers.

Exploring how science, business and politics have changed who climbs Everest, The Third Pole is a thrilling portrait of the mountain spanning a century.

Reviews

The Third Pole is an elegy of extremes, a white-knuckle tale of obsession and survival. From the archives of London's Royal Geographical Society to a tent battered by howling winds in the Death Zone, Mark Synnott puts it all on the line in his quest to solve Mount Everest's most enduring mystery.
Susan Casey, author of The Wave and Voices in the Ocean
A hundred-year-old detective story with a new twist. A high-altitude adventure. The best Everest book I've read since Into Thin Air. Synnott's climbing skills take you places few will ever dare to tread, but it's his writing that will keep you turning pages well past bedtime.
Mark Adams, author of Tip of the Iceberg and Turn Right at Machu Picchu
Almost seventy years after my father, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, climbed the summit of Chomolungma with the British 1953 Expedition, Western narratives about Mount Everest continue to be haunted by the question whether it was Mallory and Irvine who had been the first to stand on the summit. Mark Synnott's The Third Pole pursues this mystery and brings us closer to closing this chapter of mountaineering history. I learned a lot from this book.
Norbu Tenzing Norgay
Join Mark Synnott on a quest for an artifact that could change Everest mountaineering history. Part detective story, part high adventure, Synnott engages obsessed historians, dodges Chinese bureaucrats, and ultimately risks his life high on the mountain's north face. As the tension rises, he discovers astounding strengths in his fellow climbers, tragic frailty, and an ineffable truth he never imagined.
Andy Hall, author of Denali’s Howl
The author and adventurer Mark Synnott skillfully describes early-twentieth-century exploration, then dives into a story about Everest that merges mystery, adventure, and history into a single tragic bundle. . . . Synnott knows how to keep readers turning the pages, and they will speed their way to his mystery's resolution.
The New York Times
Both a gripping adventure story and an engrossing historical mystery.
Maggie Shipstead, author of Great Circle
If you're only going to read one Everest book this decade, make it The Third Pole. . . A riveting adventure.
Outside
Uncovers the dangerous obsession that tackling this behemoth holds today.
Newsweek
A hold-your-breath story that features the author's own hazardous journey and exploration of the motives behind climbers' obsession with reaching dangerous heights.
AARP
Captivates with mystery and adventure.
National Parks Traveler
The book is a fascinating tale and forces the reader to constantly ask themselves, What would I do? in each situation.
Fodor's
Mark Synnott's new book . . . is as rewarding as any Everest book can be, with history and geography wonderfully woven into the author's own climb, in 2019.
Air Mail
As in his previous book, the author's writing comes alive when he recounts life on the mountain. . . . This is a must-read for outdoor enthusiasts and readers of Everest and exploration history.
Library Journal, starred review
[A] hair-raising mountaineering story . . . A fine tale of adventure and exploration sure to please any fan of climbing and Everest lore.
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Synnott weaves back and forth between the early climbing pioneers' experiences and his 2019 expedition, harrowing in its own right. A gifted storyteller, he proves firsthand the irresistible lure and perilous dangers of climbing Mount Everest.
Booklist