it is at least twice as hard to find two competent companions as it is to find one.
Kangchenjunga: The Untrodden Peak by Charles Evans, foreword by Prince Philip, the 1956 hardcover from E P Dutton, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
I was wandering in a particular small independent bookshop in Portland, OR and noticed this library discard on a shelf, definitely showing its age and that it had seen better days. Of course, I recognized Kangchenjunga as one of Aleister Crowley’s expeditions, and a rather ill-fated one at that, so I had to find out what, if anything, the book mentioned. The book is about a later, and successful, expedition, so the background mentions of Crowley are minimal, but it’s an interesting find natheless. It’s also an interestingly technical narrative of mountaineering on its own merits.
“A Party under the leadership of Aleister Crowley visited the Yalung; they met with an avalanche accident, and four men were killed, Lieutenant Pache and three porters. Pache was buried at the foot of the slope on a moraine hillock, now called Pache’s Grave.” (2-3)
“So far, every visit to the mountain had been either at the end of the monsoon, or during it: Crowley had met with disaster on September 1st …” (3-4)
“These are the slopes above Pache’s Grave, and it was probably on these slopes that the accident happened to Crowley’s party.” (8)
“… it looked, had we not known that it was not so, as if above Pache’s Grave there was a straight route right up to the lower part of the Upper Icefall. The interruption, the steep east wall of the Western Buttress, did not show from here. It was easy to understand that to Crowley’s party this must have seemed the direct way towards the Great Shelf.” (29)
Another fun thing about this book is the Library of the Mazamas bookplate, which is really quite awesome and could easily be symbolically interpreted from a Western Esoteric perspective.
Library of the Mazamas bookplate
“The Mazamas, founded in 1894 on the summit of Mt. Hood, is a nonprofit mountaineering education organization located in Portland, Oregon. Mazamas offers over 900 hikes and 350 climbs annually for over 13,000 participants. A variety of classes and activities are offered for every skill and fitness level and are open to both members and non-members.” [via]
The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.