Using unpublished diaries, Jim Perrin, the acclaimed author of The Villain and Menlove, tells the story of the greatest exploring partnership in British history. In the 1930s Tilman and the younger Shipton pioneered many routes in Africa and the Himalayas and found the key to unlocking Everest. They crossed Africa by bicycle, explored China with Spender and Auden, journeyed down the Oxus River to its source and, with no support, opened up much of the Nepalese Himalaya. In the words of Jim Perrin, 'The journeys of discovery undertaken through two decades by this pair of venturesome ragamuffins are unparallelled in the annals of mountain exploration.'
Jim Perrin writes of his source-material: 'These unpublished diaries, journals, and extensive correspondence have not previously been used to present a portrait of the most productive friendship in the history of mountain exploration. What they reveal is, in Shipton's phrase, "a random harvest of delight" gathered by two uniquely bold and engaging characters from the great mountain ranges of the world during the golden era of their first western exploration. Between geographical excitement, the nature of arduous travel in difficult and uncharted terrain throughout a lost epoch, and the quirkiest and most stimulating of friendships, the theme is a gift, and one that has long been waiting for adequate treatment'.