A tribute to an iconic hotel steeped in Everest history…

Welsh Books Council

A tribute to an iconic hotel steeped in Everest history… - 21 July 2016

When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first stood on the top of Mount Everest, only a handful of people knew the debt of gratitude they owed not only to the mountains of North Wales but also to a little hotel in the lee of Snowdon.

It was at the Pen y Gwryd Hotel that the members of the 1953 Everest Expedition stayed during their training for that historic adventure, and it subsequently became  – and remains – a place of pilgrimage for mountaineers the world over.

A new book to celebrate this iconic hotel known as 'the home of British mountaineering in the heart of Snowdonia' was launched on 20 July 2016. The Pen y Gwryd Hotel - Tales from the Smoke Room  includes an introduction by Jan Morris, the Times reporter who accompanied that first successful expedition and broke the story to the world, and Jan will be joining the guests at the book launch.

Presenting the story of 'one of the great climbing inns of Europe' through a series of anecdotes, reminiscences and tributes, the book includes contributions by a veritable who's who of walkers, climbers and writers.

The book's delightfully easy-to-digest vignettes cover a broad cross-section of extraordinary people. These include contributions from many of the world’s greatest living climbers and adventurers: Welshman 'Crag' Jones, American Ed Webster, Indian climbers H.P.S. Ahluwalia and Neeraj Rana, as well as English climbing superstars Chris Bonington, Joe Brown, Doug Scott, Julian Freeman-Attwood and Rebecca Stephens. There are also contributions from Peter Hillary and Norbu Tenzing Norgay, respective sons of the first men to climb Everest on 29 May 1953.

Behind the bar of the hotel, guests frequently gape in awe at the historic Everest memorabilia which includes the rope that held Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay together on the summit, a wealth of photographs and engraved beer tankards as well as the signatures of the famous mountaineers scrawled on the ceiling of the 'Everest Room'.

The curious thing about the hotel — 'A venerable, modest and celebrated inn' — as Jan Morris so eloquently describes it, is that the premises are not nearly as important as its remarkable patrons.

And so, this book is not about the hotel as much as it is about everything around (and inside) the Gwryd; stories about people, their observations and adventures, achievements and celebrations.  The Pen y Gwryd Hotel: Tales from the Smoke Room  is compiled and edited by Rob Goodfellow, Jonathan Copeland and Peter O'Neill.

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