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The Ascent of Rum Doodle

The Ascent of Rum Doodle

by W.E. Bowman
Introduction by Bill Bryson

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ISBN: 978-1-56792-630-9
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Published: May 2019
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The world's highest mountain awaits (and the world's worst mountaineers are on their way).

Named by The Guardian as one of the “1000 Novels Everyone Must Read,” (and by Bill Bryson as “one of the funniest books you will ever read.”), this classic laugh-out-loud novel (something like Monty Python climbing the Matterhorn) was first published in 1956 and never out-of-print somewhere in the world since then. Our adventure begins as Sir Hugeley Havering, chairman of the Rum Doodle Committee, puts the challenge squarely, “to climb Mont Blanc by the Grépon route is one thing; to climb Rum Doodle is, as Totter once said, quite another.” Armed with that wise warning, yet with typical British aplomb, Binder assembles a team and heads for Yogistan. Their goal: the ascent of Rum Doodle: elevation 40,000 and 1/2 feet. The intrepid cast of characters include Dr. Prone, the expedition's doctor, constantly incapacitated by sudden illnesses; Mr. Jungle, charged with navigation, forever losing his way and cabling for money from obscure locations; and Mr. Constant, who alone speaks the native language of their guides and porters, through linguistic error provokes not just one but several riots. Led by Mr. Binder, whose narration would have you believe his crew and mission represent historic bravery and grit, these daring incompetents cut their path to the summit of Rum Doodle (sort of).

Strange but True Rum Doodle Facts!

Free dinner in Kathmandu: Reportedly, a bar and restaurant in Kathmandu, the Rum Doodle, named in the fictional expedition's honor, offers free dinners to those who successfully climb Mt. Everest.

Relax at the Rum Doodle B&B: Last we checked, there is B&B in Windermere, Cumbria, England named for Bowman's novel. Rooms are named for the characters.

Go for a climb in Antarctica: A small mountain in the Masson Range in Antarctica, bears the official name Rum Doodle Peak inspired by this book.

Rum Doodle skiing in France: A hard-to-find and complicated ski trail in France's Vanoise National Park is unofficially known as the Rum Doodle. It was discovered by a fan of The Ascent of Rum Doodle.

Wonderful…Rum Doodle does for mountaineering what Three Men in a Boat did for Thames-going or Catch-22 did for the Second World War. —The Sunday Times
Author: W.E. Bowman
W.E. Bowman was an unassuming civil engineer who, though he enjoyed writing and wrote often, published little during his lifetime. He served in the RAF during the Second World War and from 1947 to 1950 worked for the International Voluntary Service helping to rebuild Germany. In 1950 he joined an engineering firm in London for which he designed bridges, power stations and other imposing structures, filling his evenings by writing. The Cruise of the Talking Fish (1957) was his only other published work.

Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is an author of many books ranging in genre from travel, nature, and language, all told with his characteristic charm and humor. These titles include his acclaimed A Walk in the Woods (1997) and A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003).