New Zealand climber slams Jeffrey Archer over Everest claim

March 15th, 2009 - 7:31 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, March 15 (DPA) A New Zealand mountaineer has criticised a claim by author Jeffrey Archer in a new book that a British climber conquered Mount Everest years before Sir Edmund Hillary, a newspaper reported Sunday.
Archer’s book, Paths of Glory, is a fictionalised account of the life of George Mallory, who died on Everest in 1924, 29 years before Hillary climbed the world’s tallest peak with Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Hillary, who died last year, remains a national hero in New Zealand, and a report about the book appeared on the front page of the Sunday Star-Times under the headline, “Jeffrey Archer’s Insult to Sir Ed”.

A secondary headline read, “He’s a failed politician and a convicted liar - and now Jeffrey Archer is making the absurd claim that Kiwi icon Sir Edmund Hillary wasn’t the first man to conquer Mount Everest.”

The paper quoted Graeme Dingle, a fellow mountaineer and friend of Sir Ed, as saying: “He’s dreaming. There’s essentially no chance Mallory got to the top.”

Dingle said Archer was reflecting wounded English pride at having been beaten by a colonial: “The English were desperate to get to the top, and they didn’t get there, even in 1953. I think the English are pretty sensitive about it.”

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