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Everest Collection: American Alpine Journal 1929-2012

Announcing a new e-book on

This 1,150-page volume collects everything ever printed about Mt. Everest in the American Alpine Journal from volume one in 1929 until 2012. It is bookmarked by year, but requires scrolling to discover articles within each year. This is the D1.0 edition at 79mb. Purchasers of this early edition who sign up for the newsletter will receive free or deeply discounted future editions with improved scans and annotations. PDF. Hundreds of reports, articles, and historical photos. $19.95

Buy the e-book here.

Preface to The Everest Collection
American Alpine Journal 1929-2012

This is not a normal anthology built with stories carefully chosen for their timeless appeal. No, this is everything that’s ever been published about Everest in the American Alpine Journal (until 2012). These pages have been chosen purely because they exist. You’re on your own to decide how interesting they are.

Though I served as the AAJ’s editor for a decade (2002-2012), I’ve never been all that concerned about Everest. I think too many people only care about its height. If the continental plate shifts and Everest’s altitude drops below that of another peak, these people will spurn it like a damaged rope. This is not the spirit of climbing that I love so deeply.

And yet I found myself increasingly fascinated as I poured through these pages. They reveal a wealth of human drama, displaying the best and the worst of our species. Okay, not the very worst, but it gets pretty ugly at times. Also spectacularly beautiful. There are stories here that will melt your heart.

Reading the AAJ is watching history unfold. Each year’s journal reports on the new routes of the previous year in the climber’s own words. The exception is in the book reviews, which often offer wider perspectives. You’ll find in these pages reviews of nearly every book ever published about Everest in English.

What I enjoyed most about compiling this volume was spotting the trends. In one year we’ll hear rumors or plans. The next year we’ll learn what actually happened —typically a failed attempt. Later another attempt. Eventually success. But those are just routes. There are also trends in the use of bottled oxygen, in the size of expeditions, in attitudes about the environment and the people who live there. We meet up-and-coming climbers. Years later, we read their obituaries.

This volume does not attempt to guide you through history. It merely reprints it and lets you make the discoveries. I’m preparing another version that highlights passages that captured my personal interest. And I invite you to comment on pages that you find compelling. Soon there will be a digital room for this discussion; if you sign up for the newsletter at, you’ll learn when the salon opens. You’ll also be notified about the annotated edition. And best of all, you’ll learn when we upgrade the Everest Collection with top-quality scans (alas, some of the scans in this first edition are as lousy as Everest’s rotten limestone). As a first-edition purchaser, you’ll get free or deeply discounted upgrades. Just sign up for the newsletter and we’ll keep in touch.

Now it’s time for discovery. Click the bookmarks, scroll the pages, and enjoy!

John Harlin III
AAJ Editor Emeritus
22 February 2013

The cover image for The Everest Collection is a watercolor painting by Dee Molenaar. It graced the cover of the 1993 American Alpine Journal

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One Response to Everest Collection: American Alpine Journal 1929-2012

  1. VAN KIMBALL February 4, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    I have several copies of AMERICAN ALPINE NEWS. MOST ARE FROM THE 1990’S. I’D LIKE TO SELL THEM…….?


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