Following the abortive recorded attempts on Mount Everest that had taken place in 1921, 1922, 1924, 1933, 1935 and 1936, Tilman and his small party, which included Himalayan stalwarts such as E E Shipton and F S Smythe, set out in 1 938 for a fifth attempt on this peak.
This particular expedition was highly innovative in its approach. Following the example set by Shipton's 1935 reconnaissance expedition, Tilman decided to limit the number of participants in his party as well as the supplies they would require, hoping that this would facilitate their attempt on the peak.
Mount Everest 1938 deals with how the party planned the expedition on a limited budget, the problems that they faced and how they overcame them. Some of the important problems that the book discusses are:
- The problems of the right kind of food
- The numbers to be considered for the expedition and the number of support personnel required
- The right kind of equipment to be used
This book related from Sikkim to the foot of Everest and the subsequent on the summit. It also discusses the previous expedition, their faults and their success. The book is replete with numerous photographs and maps many of which are attributed to F S Smythe, the renowned cartographer and explorer of the Himalayas.