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Lot 301
A Mitten worn by John Hunt on the final assault on Everest, May 1953,

£ 2,000 - 3,000
US$ 2,500 - 3,700
A Mitten worn by John Hunt on the final assault on Everest, May 1953,
the down-filled right hand cotton mitten with nametape lettered "HUNT" applied to the front, together with a letter signed by John Hunt and dated 29th December 1986 on Royal Geographical Society headed paper stating "..Yes; the mit is indeed one of the pair I wore during the final assault on 24th-28th May 1953..."

Footnotes

  • John Hunt was a surprise choice as leader of the 1953 assault on Everest however the Himalaya Committee believed he had the drive and leadership skills to force the team to succeed and permits to climb were hard to come by: the French had the one for 1954 and the Swiss, who had already nearly succeeded, were going back in 1955.

    Hunt carries out the monumental task of organising the major expedition with a skill that even his detractors had to admire. Following the expedition's first failed attempt, the two climbers who had turned around at the South Summit, returned to camp exhausted. They had to descend to base camp immediately and as leader, Hunt had to decide who would accompany them. Being a support climber for the first team and already having climbed on the upper mountain, Hunt would have been the natural choice, but that would have meant the end of any chance he would have for a summit attempt.

    Hunt decided a support climber from the second team would accompany the climbers on the descent. The climber protested but Hunt would not detract his decision. It wasn't until they were packing up to leave that Hunt reconsidered and chose to go down himself. Hillary later wrote "I have never admired him more than for this difficult decision".

    Hilary and Tenzing made the historic ascent on the 29th May and on the 2nd June, the Queen's Coronation Day, the Times published the scoop of the summit success. Hunt had not only given great Britain the summit of Everest but helped pull of a masterful coup in giving them full possession of the story.

    Hunt was knighted in 1953 and elevated to the House of Lords in 1966, taking the title Baron Hunt of Llanfairwaterdine. He died in 1998.
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