The exciting tale of the first two German expeditions to Kangchenjunga brings vividly to life the conditions of life in the subcontinent at the time.
At this time, India was part of the British Empire, but this was not an obstacle for the German team. "Our personal relationship with the English presented no problems.. We felt at home... with the British.. made a strict rule never to discuss religion or politics.. one can understand whey I smiled to myself when the British Consul-General in Munich described us as tourists. But I raised no objections as long as he enrolled us among the ranks of those who had permission to enter India."
Not only does the author describe the actual climbing, he also depicts the necessities of life such as shopping for fruit in the crowded bazaars, and choosing expeditions staff from among hundreds of young hopefuls. When the successful staff were paid an advance, they passed it on immediately to their wives; an early form of Women's Liberation? The female porters demanded their own tent, and were given one "which was bound to rejoice every woman's heart. It was beautiful, white, lofty, and bore a magnificent coat of arms.