From the Ocean to the Sky

Hillary, Edmund
Year Published: 

"After his triumphant ascent of Everest, Hillary busied himself with lesser tasks. Then, in 1973, he began getting the glimmer of a dynamic adventure for his middle years: a 1500-mile trip by jet-propelled boat up the holy Ganges from its mouth in the Bay of Bengal to its mountainous source. He and his film team would leave the river when it became impassable and climb to the summit of the most likely mountain. Arrangements took about four years: gathering backers and equipment, getting three jet-boats refined for the rigors of the journey, and tapping the right men as team members - there were finally 19 men involved, only a handful of whom were to make the final ascent. They were known as the ""Ocean to Sky"" team and their adventure captured the imagination of all India: here were Western jet-boats that could fly over the worst hurdles that ""Mother Ganga"" would surely present. School holidays were declared at cities along the way and businessmen ran to the river, leaving their stores and tills open (""the thieves have gone to the river too""). Adventures occur daily, with treacherous white water rapids, Royal Bengal tigers that swim alongside, a yogi whose powers withstand the pull of a jet-boat he's roped to. And, during the great ascent, Hillary comes down with pulmonary edema though his team goes on to final success. Exciting and involving: West meets East on the river of the gods."