Book Review: The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman

Talk about hidden gems. This was an amazing little book, first published in 1956 and the version that I have was published in 2019. The book is almost worth buying just for the lengthy introduction, written in 2001 by Bill Bryson.


The book is a spoof all about the first mountaineering expedition to attempt the climb the legendary Rum Doodle, height 40,000 and a half feet.

To climb Mount Blanc is one thing; to climb Rum Doodle is quite another

The book has such a cult following that in the late 1950’s members of the Australian Antarctic Expedition had used names from the book for geographic features, and since 1966 Mount Rumdoodle has been an official designation. There is also the Rum Doodle restaurant in Kathmandu, still going strong.

Back to the book, and you just know that it is going to be special, as the ‘real’ Introduction, written by Sir Hugeley Havering, Chairman of the Rum Doodle Committee is exactly the same as the Forward written by O. Totter on the very next page.

There are some other gems in the book, with Humphrey Jungle, the route finder, always being lost, and Lancelot Constant, linguist expert, who doesn’t seem to be able to speak a single word that the local Yogastani porters speak, which leads to more than a few mishaps and almost war.

The book was recommended to me by a follower on WordPress, and I will have to thank him, as it was definitely the best spoof mountaineering book that I have ever read. Granted, that is a fairly narrow genre, but if you like to read travel or adventure books, then you’ll love this.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman

  1. Pingback: A Random Selection of Books | Beards and Triathlons

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