Foreword - Sir Chris Bonington; I Ten Years' Hard; II Buffaloes-and False Teeth; III Kilimanjaro: Kibo and Mawenzi; IV Kenya Mountain; V Business and Pleasure; VI Business and Pleasure; VII Ruwenzori: The Mountains of the Moon; VIII The Approach to Ruwenzori; IX The Ascent of Ruwenzori; X The Gold Rush; XI Amateur Prospectors; XII Kilimanjaro Alone; XIII A New Way Home; XIV Through Uganda; XV Lake Kivu to Stanleyville; XVI North to Bangui; XVII Westwards to the Atlantic.
Harold William 'Bill' Tilman (1898-1977) was among the greatest adventurers of his time, a pioneering mountaineer and sailor who held exploration above all else. Tilman joined the army at seventeen and was twice awarded the Military Cross for bravery during WWI. After the war Tilman left for Africa, establishing himself as a coffee grower. He met Eric Shipton and began their famed mountaineering partnership, traversing Mount Kenya and climbing Kilimanjaro. Turning to the Himalaya, Tilman went on two Mount Everest expeditions, reaching 27,000 feet without oxygen in 1938. In 1936 he made the first ascent of Nanda Devi-the highest mountain climbed until 1950. He was the first European to climb in the remote Assam Himalaya, he delved into Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor and he explored extensively in Nepal, all the while developing a mountaineering style characterised by its simplicity and emphasis on exploration. It was perhaps logical then that Tilman would eventually buy the pilot cutter Mischief-not with the intention of retiring from travelling, but to access remote mountains. For twenty-two years Tilman sailed Mischief and her successors to Patagonia, where he crossed the vast ice cap, and to Baffin Island to make the first ascent of Mount Raleigh. He made trips to Greenland, Spitsbergen and the South Shetlands, before disappearing in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1977.