May 1996 was one of the most eventful months in Everest's history - for all the wrong reasons. Fourteen expeditions were trying to climb the mountain from the southern side, among them the first South African team ever to attempt the summit. Sponsored initially by the "Johannesburg Sunday Times" and with the personal blessing of Nelson Mandela, the expedition was led by Ian Woodhall, and ex-British Army officer who had relatively limited high-altitude experience. The South Africans were dogged by early problems, which started when the three most experienced climbers in the team quit before even reaching base camp due to personality clashes with Woodhall, who also banished a reporter and photographer from the main sponsor, who then withdrew their support. At the South Col (26,000 feet) they sat out the huge storm of May 10-11 that led to the death of 11 climbers, but finally achieved their goal on Saturday 25 May when Ian Woodhill and Cathy O'Dowd reached the summit of Everest. Bruce Herrod, the deputy leader and a renowned photographer, reached the top later that day, unfortunately he did return - his body was found not far below the summit a year later.
Excellent pages, a little edge and cover wear.