Himalayan Dreaming

Himalayan Dreaming

Australian mountaineering in the great ranges of Asia, 1922–1990

Authored by: Will Steffen

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How did climbers from the world’s flattest, hottest continent become world-class Himalayan mountaineers, the equal of any elite mountaineer from countries with long climbing traditions and home ranges that make Australia’s highest summit look like a suburban hill? This book tells the story of Australian mountaineering in the great ranges of Asia, from the exploits of a brash, young colonial with an early British Himalayan expedition in the 1920s to the coming of age of Australian climbers in the 1980s. The story goes beyond the two remarkable Australian ascents of Mt Everest in 1984 and 1988 to explore the exploits of Australian climbers in the far-flung corners of the high Himalaya. Above all, the book presents a glimpse into the lives – the successes, failures, tragedies, motivations, fears, conflicts, humor and compassion – themselves to the ultimate limits of survival in the most spectacular and demanding mountain arena of all.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Nov 2017
First published July 2010
ANU Press
Arts & Humanities: Other
East Asia: China; South Asia: Nepal

PDF Chapters

Himalayan Dreaming »

Please read Conditions of use before downloading the formats.

Part 1: Deep history—the early days

  1. Unlikely mountaineers (PDF, 0.1MB)
  2. An outspoken Australian (PDF, 0.2MB)
  3. Quiet years (PDF, 0.2MB)
  4. The killing hills (PDF, 0.1MB)

Part 2: On top—first major Aussie triumphs

  1. Pilgrimage to the silver god (PDF, 0.2MB)
  2. Upwardly mobile young men (PDF, 0.2MB)
  3. Long necks on Dunagiri (PDF, 0.2MB)

Part 3: Everest I—success against all odds

  1. A powerful partnership (PDF, 0.1MB)
  2. Everest apprentices (PDF, 0.2MB)
  3. Tough trials (PDF, 0.2MB)
  4. Patience and persistence (PDF, 0.2MB)
  5. An unforgettable face (PDF, 0.2MB)

Part 4: Combat zone—soldiers in the mountains

  1. A colonel’s dream (PDF, 0.2MB)
  2. Ordered to climb (PDF, 0.2MB)
  3. By the book (PDF, 0.2MB)
  4. An arranged marriage (PDF, 0.2MB)
  5. Training on the big ones (PDF, 0.2MB)

Part 5: Team building—mail-order mountaineers

  1. Climbers wanted (PDF, 0.1MB)
  2. Turkeys on ice (PDF, 0.1MB)
  3. Innocence lost (PDF, 0.2MB)

Part 6: Everest II—the bicentennial ascent

  1. A strained relationship (PDF, 0.1MB)
  2. ABEE: the climb (PDF, 0.2MB)
  3. ABEE: an analysis (PDF, 0.2MB)

Part 7: Peak performance—tough climbs on big mountains

  1. Master of all trades (PDF, 0.2MB)
  2. An even score (PDF, 0.2MB)
  3. A quiet achiever (PDF, 0.1MB)

Part 8: New summits—beyond the trade routes

  1. Small is beautiful (PDF, 0.2MB)
  2. Where are the women? (PDF, 0.2MB)
  3. A Himalayan grand slam (PDF, 0.2MB)

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