The Ascent of Rum Doodle

"The Ascent of Rum Doodle" is a short 1956 novel by W. E. Bowman (1911-1985). It is a parody of the non-fictional chronicles of mountaineering expeditions (notably Maurice Herzog's book "Annapurna" chronicling the first ascent of the mountain of the same name) that were popular during the 1950s, as many of the world's highest peaks were climbed for the first time. A new edition was released in 2001 with an introduction by the contemporary humorist Bill Bryson. It has been critically well received. Though a parody, it has become one of the most famous and celebrated books of mountaineering literature.

A small restaurant in Kathmandu, called Rum Doodle and decorated with pictures from the book, has become a popular staging point for expeditions to Mt. Everest. Individuals who successfully summit Everest are invited back to the restaurant to sign the wall. The wall bears signatures from many famous mountaineers, including Sir Edmund Hillary, Reinhold Messner, Ed Viesturs, Rob Hall, and many Sherpas.

A small mountain in the Masson Range in Antarctica, near Mawson Station, bears the official name Rumdoodle Peak inspired by this book. The northeast ridge of Pikes Peak, in Colorado, has been unofficially nicknamed Rumdoodle Ridge by local climbers.

Bill Bowman worked for the RAF as a radar mechanic during World War II and afterwards worked as a volunteer for International Voluntary Service in Germany. He was a structural engineer by profession and retired in 1971. Bowman's only other published work is "The Cruise of the Talking Fish", a parody of Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki expedition.


*cite book | author=Bowman, W. E. and Bryson, Bill | title=The Ascent of Rum Doodle | publisher=Pimlico | year=2001 | id= ISBN 0-71266808X

External links

* [ Web page devoted to the book]

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