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Everest, before the fixed ropes
Kenneth D Neame, Mar 1947
© Kenneth Neame
Route: S. Col Route
Camera used: Leica II
5*VOTING: number of votes 158

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Taken from a Spitfire XIX by my Dad while he was in the RAF.
I'm still consumed by jealousy!
pneame - 17/Jun/13
Wow! Thanks for letting us in on some top family history.
Mark Collins - 18/Jun/13
Nice one Pete!
deepstar - 18/Jun/13
Well that's well and truly trumped everyone else's historical photos! Absolutely amazing!
jon - 18/Jun/13
Great bit of history, both Everest and the Spitfire. Thanks for uploading it.
Skyfall - 18/Jun/13
Thabk you from me for sharing
Neil Watson - 18/Jun/13
Super shot, thanks for uploading!
wee jamie - 18/Jun/13
Flying a Spitfire AND seeing the summit of Everest!!! How do you follow that??
mgco3 - 18/Jun/13
Ah, but he did - it also wasn't exactly "approved". He was supposed to be at Kanchenjunga photographing the glaciers for irrigation planning, but they were covered in cloud. So, full tank of gas, Everest just over there, turn right and bob's your uncle.
So, a bit of a rebel (easier to apologise later than ask for permission - he was also out of radio contact for most of the flight)!
pneame - 18/Jun/13
Photo of the year so far in my book.
Chris63 - 18/Jun/13
turn left, left, dammit. Everest is West of Kanchenjunga!
pneame - 18/Jun/13
One of the most unexpected photos ever on UKC. Thank you very much indeed.
ericinbristol - 18/Jun/13
Enable voting please! Absolutely guaranteed to be photo of the week and prob one of the all time best photos for historical interest.
ericinbristol - 18/Jun/13
Agreed with eric. Enable voting please....and send a copy to the Alpine Club. This stuff is important for the Himalayan archive.
Chris63 - 18/Jun/13
I have registered the first 5 of very many I am sure
ericinbristol - 18/Jun/13
What a moving photo! Incredible to think back to that time, before I was born, the summit as yet unclimbed and the South Col approach as yet unexplored! Thank you
David Dear - 18/Jun/13
Fabulous photo, of great interest.
abseil - 23/Jun/13
What an amazing, wonderful thing! I agree with all the comments. Why can't we get Everest back like that?!!
colinakmc - 24/Jun/13
I agree with all these comments - but I expect that in fact it looks about the same now as then from this height and distance - man leaves few traces at that height - especially with his hands alone. Did Spitfire XIX's really fly so high for such a long distance - the aerodrome must have been
a long way off for to use for Kanchenjunga surveys! But what do we know, who only saw the vapour trails.
tom wiseman - 24/Jun/13
Spitfire XIXs were capable of flying to 13000 meters (and have been documented to go higher) and with a drop tank (which this one had) had a range of up to 2250 km. This particular flight took 3 hours 5 minutes.
pneame - 24/Jun/13
Now if you could get hold of the original negative...!
Sean Kelly - 24/Jun/13
An enquiry is on it's way....
pneame - 24/Jun/13
Incredible!
Adam Booth - 24/Jun/13
Your Dad was clearly a total legend. Absolute cracker.
Tom Last - 24/Jun/13
1947, fantastic
jcw - 27/Jun/13
pneame, have you got any more photos from that flight? Thanks.
abseil - 28/Jun/13
Congratulations! This photo was chosen as Photo of the Week, based on votes by registered users over the past 7 days.
UKC Photos - 30/Jun/13
Trying to find a superlative that has not been used Peter. I'll settle for brilliant, which it is in every way : the subject, the date, the aircraft and the personal connection.
boje - 02/Jul/13
Thanks Ian - my Dad is extremely pleased with the positive reception. If you (or anyone!) wants a copy of his 1955 Mountain World article, just drop me an email. I'm somewhat planning to do some sort of blog thing about his India RAF experiences (he's written a self-published book that I'd need to scan), but progress is a bit glacial.
pneame - 02/Jul/13
Can we have a reference for the book, please? Great story. Spits had higher critical Mach number than the early jets, dived to Mach 0.92.
athonybiebuyck - 03/Jul/13
When I say self-published, I'm afraid it's a very limited edition! I'm not sure how many copies - as few as 3 and as many as 10 - actually exist. Hence the need to scan it.
pneame - 03/Jul/13
It dosent get any better. I think we should pull the ropes down and ban people from climbing Everest
drsdave - 04/Jul/13
Smashing photo ! My dad served in Burma 1944/45, where he was a mechanic on Mosquitos. Instead of taking the usual troop ship back to Blighty he hitched a lift in a Mosquito ! I know he flew over the Himalayas, but he was rather secretive about his war memories and I don't know anymore details, except that he flew via Tehran and Cairo. Dad's died over 10 years ago,, so I'll never know more.
Pyreneenemec - 04/Jul/13
It's tragic when parents die - apart from the personal loss, they take a bit of history with them. My dad discusses a Mosquito flight - his source was P.K. Clark at the RGS.
11th June 1945 a Mosquito XVI of 684 squadron out of Alipore. The crew were C.G. Andrews (NZ) and C. Fenwick (British). From Walt Unsworth's "Everest". Just like my dad's , not an officially sanctioned flight. although they used an RAF camera!
pneame - 04/Jul/13
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