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Everest, Inc.

The Renegades and Rogues Who Built an Industry at the Top of the World

About The Book

Featuring original interviews with mountain guides and climbers—including Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker—this vivid and authoritative adventure history chronicles one of the least likely industries on Earth: guided climbing on Mount Everest.

Anyone who has read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air or has seen a recent photo of climbers standing in line to get to the top of Everest may think they have the mountain pretty well figured out. It’s an extreme landscape where bad weather and incredible altitude can occasionally kill, but more so an overcrowded, trashed-out recreation destination where rich clients pad their egos—and social media feeds—while exploiting local Sherpas.

There’s some truth to these clichés, but they’re a sliver of the story. Unlike any book to date, Everest, Inc. gets to the heart of the mountain through the definitive story of its greatest invention: the Himalayan guiding industry. It all began in the 1980s with a few boot-strapping entrepreneurs who paired raw courage and naked ambition with a new style of expedition planning. Many of them are still living and climbing today, and as a result of their astonishing success, ninety percent of the people now on Everest are clients or employees of guided expeditions.

Studded with quotes from original interviews with more than a hundred western and Sherpa climbers, clients, writers, filmmakers, and even a Hollywood actor, Everest, Inc. foregrounds the voices of the people who have made the mountain what it is today. And while there is plenty of high-altitude drama in unpacking the last forty years of Everest tragedy and triumph, it ultimately transcends stereotypes and tells the uplifting counternarrative of the army of journeymen and women who have made people’s dreams come true, and of the Nepalis who are pushing the industry into the future.

About The Author

Dave Mullin

Will Cockrell has spent more than twenty years as a senior editor, writer, and consultant for national magazines including Men’s JournalOutsideMen’s Fitness, and GQ. His work has been awarded by the American Society of Magazine Editors and Professional Publishers Association UK. A former outdoor guide, Cockrell has covered Everest throughout his career, and has visited Everest base camp in Nepal. He lives with his family in Los Angeles, California. Find more at his website, WillCockrell.com.

Why We Love It

“In April 2011, I landed at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal, and trekked for two weeks to Everest base camp and back. No surprise then that I love adventure books, especially about Everest. And for a long time, I’ve been looking for one that takes a fresh approach to the genre. Everest, Inc. is it, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with readers. Will Cockrell’s electrifying and authoritative book is not only rich with drama and insight, and packed full of larger-than-life characters, but gives the full picture of how the Everest industry has evolved, in tandem with the wider world.”

—Max M., Editor, on Everest, Inc.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (April 16, 2024)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982190477

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Raves and Reviews

“There are more worlds at the top of the world than most of us know. The Everest guiding industry has a strange, gnarled history and Will Cockrell has turned it into a fair-minded, engrossing tale. It’s a book full of unforgettable characters in a spectacular setting that's both physically and morally treacherous.”
William Finnegan, staff writer at the New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

“Cockrell chronicles the simultaneous democratization and commercialization of high adventure in his deeply researched debut account of the guided climbing industry on Mt. Everest . . . a sure-footed, and at times riveting, history of Everest. Fans of mountaineering adventures will want to add this to their shelf.”
Publishers Weekly

“Will Cockrell’s Everest, Inc. is a fast-moving, nuanced account of the peak's transformation from the ultimate mountaineering challenge into a booming business opportunity. Beginning with Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's historic conquest in 1953, Cockrell recounts how a colorful cast of moguls, entrepreneurial guides, and Sherpa visionaries expanded access to the summit and raked in big bucks in the process. His book is both a cautionary tale of the dangers of overexposure and a celebration of what remains the greatest terrestrial adventure of them all.”
Joshua Hammer, New York Times bestselling author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and The Falcon Thief

“In this enlightening book, Cockrell, an adventure writer for Outside, Men’s Journal, and other publications, expertly traces the industry behind the majesty… An astute history and powerful cautionary tale.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“It isn't only the mountain climbers finding their purpose at the top of the world's highest peak. In this fascinating look at the big, big business of guides on Mount Everest, Will Cockrell uncovers how a group of entrepreneurial adventurers began guiding well-heeled clients up the mountain to become an integral part of the big-money adventure economy and help change the way we see mountain climbing, and the mountains themselves.”
Town & Country, “12 Best Books to Read This April”

“Cockrell talked with guides, Sherpas, amateur climbers and Hollywood types to craft this compelling look at how the industry of climbing the world’s tallest peak came to be. But despite the tragedies and over-commercialization of the mountain in recent decades, Cockrell’s tall tale is ultimately an uplifting one.”
New York Post

“It’s high time our collective consciousness got an update on what it really means to climb Everest. In the deeply researched and cinematic Everest, Inc., Cockrell has mapped a new route expertly. Whether you want to climb the world's tallest mountain or laugh at those masochistic and wealthy enough to try, this is a page-turner."
Diana Helmuth, author of How to Suffer Outside and The Witching Year

“Although Mount Everest perpetually makes headlines, there have been precious few attempts to objectively chronicle its tumultuous recent history. With deft storytelling and in-depth research, Will Cockrell fills that void, providing a kaleidoscopic view that honors many different perspectives—most important, that of the local Sherpa guides who call the Himalayas home. Whether you are thinking about taking a crack at the world’s highest peak, or are simply an armchair mountaineer trying to make sense of the complex dynamics driving the modern Everest industry, Everest, Inc. should be required reading.”
Freddie Wilkinson, professional climber, documentary filmmaker, and author of One Mountain Thousand Summits

“With exhaustive reporting, eloquent prose, and spine-tingling pacing, Everest, Inc. deserves a spot alongside the great mountaineering narratives of the last decades. But it's also refreshingly different than any alpine tale before it. Unpacking the mountain's mystery like a detective on a crime scene, Cockrell shows that the story of Everest's industrial complex is every bit as gripping—if not more so—than the challenge of ascent. This book had me glued from the first chapter and gathered momentum like an avalanche.”
Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project and Saltwater Buddha

“Summiting Mount Everest has gone from a feat of almost superhuman achievement to something more mundane—a thing rich people do to say they’ve done it . . . [and] the transformation in scaling Everest has been brought about by the Himalayan guiding industry. Cockrell, who’s covered mountaineering throughout his career as a magazine writer and editor, tells the somewhat unknown story of these entrepreneurs, whose ingenuity, acumen and very hard work have created a boom industry.”
Bloomberg

“The book captures the personalities of the early pioneering guides, the triumphs and tragedies that unfolded as the industry grew, and the differing viewpoints on how the business of guiding on Everest has and should evolve. Cockrell draws on interviews with all the leading characters of the Everest guiding industry, from Conrad Anker to the late David Breashears, and climbing icons such as filmmaker Jimmy Chin and Patagonia-founder Yvonne Chouinard.”
Boston Globe

“There’s something both inspiring and off-putting about humanity’s fascination with Mount Everest . . . Adventure writer Cockrell (Outside, Men’s Journal) teases out both sides of the issue, clearly conveying how exceedingly difficult the climb can be while describing in great detail the exponential growth of the industry … Cockrell has done readers a service in setting it all down.”
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