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Lunch à la Base Camp, 1924

Thursday, 10 December 2015

What was food like during the early days of Everest exploration? In this extract from the new edition of The Fight for Everest 1924, Bentley Beetham describes a meal shared with friends during the expedition team's homeward journey.

Before we left the Chumbi Valley we invited the Macdonalds and the Noels to a little lunch à la Base Camp, served, with true local colour, in the mess-tent. Perhaps it was not a strict copy of the meal as usually served in that well-known restaurant, but at least every course was founded on fact, that is to say it had been evolved and more or less approved of at some period of the Expedition. The only real innovation was the lettuce.

Every one entered thoroughly into the spirit of the thing and was very jolly, and if some of the courses did get a little mixed and somebody was offered, and in all innocence accepted, brandy sauce while still busy with chicken pie, it only helped to enliven the proceedings. The menu, as it appeared, was as follows:

Lunch à la Base Camp

Sardines, hard-boiled eggs, potato cream and Chumbi herbs.

Quails in pâté de foie gras and lettuce.

Pea soup, Erbowurot; fried bread and grated cheese.

Mutton cutlets, sauce Kyetrak; green peas.

Chicken-and-ham pie à la Teuchutta; new potatoes.

Plum pudding; sauce, trois étoiles cognac.

Baked custard, French plums, très ordinaires.

Cheese omelette à la Rongbuk.

Tea, mixed biscuits, crystallised ginger.

Grace – anglaise.


The Fight for Everest 1924 is the official record of the third expedition to Everest. The newly updated edition was published on 1 December 2015. It features the original text as well as previously unpublished materials, including Norton's sketches and watercolours, original planning documents, Mallory's last note to Norton, and a moving letter to Norton from Mallory's widow. 

For more information or to order a copy click HERE.

The Fight for Everest 1924, Mallory, Irvine and the quest for Everest, by E.F. Norton

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