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A Prayer for Everest

Wilf Noyce was a member of the 1953 British team that made the first ascent of Everest. Widely respected for his climbing ability and with an impressive record of difficult and dangerous climbs in the Alps, he was said by Ed Hillary to be the most competent climber he, Hillary, had ever met.

A Cambridge graduate with a First in Modern Languages, Wilf was also a scholar and prolific author, writing books, poems, scholarly articles and contributing to mountain guidebooks.  Wilf had learned Japanese in the early stages of World War II and worked as a code breaker at Bletchley Park.  He later taught Modern Languages at Charterhouse School. He was a quiet and modest man, known for his patience and kindness.  Ed Hillary thought that Wilf might also have been capable of reaching the summit of Everest, had he and Tenzing not got to the top.  Wilf was killed with Robin Smith in a mountaineering accident while on a Russian/British expedition in the Pamirs with John Hunt in 1962,  after successfully climbing Mount Garmo.

Wilfred Noyce

A Prayer for Everest

These things I pray
That I may endure
And love of friends confirm me;
That I lend my ear
Kindest to those who vex me;
That I may be strong,
My will guide the faint footsteps;
That heart and lung
May learn, rhythm is conquest;
That in the storm
My hand may stretch to help,
Not cringe in the glove to warm;
That courage of mine
Bring to friends courage too,
As they brought it to me;
That in the lottery
(my last and worthiest prayer)
No envy bleed,
When –for I know my heart–
Others succeed.

By Wilfred Noyce

Prayer for Everest


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