Climbing the Pole: Edmund Hillary & the Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-1958.

An excellent book which skewers Hillary for his disingenuous claim that his trip to the South Pole, upstaging Vivian Fuchs, was a spur of the moment decision, while convincingly documenting that it was Hillary’s intent from the outset of his involvement with TAE.

p. 65—In 1956 Arthur Helm had this conversation with Hillary: We worked closely together on his proposal of carrying on to the South Pole once the depots had been laid to the specifications of Bunny Fuchs. Sitting around the fireside of our home, we secretly prepared the plans.

Ed’s idea was to leave very early (in the Antarctic summer season), and I said I thought it was a month too soon. I went into the study and brought out a copy of Roald Amundsen’s-two volume work, The South Pole, dealing with his Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the Fram from 1910 to 1912. [Goes on to recount Amundsen’s problems with too early a start.]

I opened the book where it dealt with this part of the expedition and gave it to Ed to read. He did so in silence, and then went over it again carefully before he handed it back to me. “We better put our start back a month too,” was his comment, and the plans were changed accordingly.

[Nothing at all about any recreational reading among the TAE, but that seems true of most accounts which tend only to mention that there was a library or some polar books around.]