Mount Everest towering above the clouds.
Photo taken in May 2004.
Thanks to Jeremy Bernstein's book "In the Himalayas" I was pointed to the following passage from James Ramsey Ullman's book "High Conquest"...
At last in June, the expedition arrived at the Great Rongbuk Monastery, where an isolated colony of priests and hermits dwelt, some twenty miles due north of Everest. And here, at last, they saw their mountain head on in its titanic majesty - the first white men ever to have a close-up view of the summit of the world. "We paused", wrote Mallory, "in sheer astonishment. The site of it banished every thought; we asked no questions and made no comment, but simply looked..." At the end of the valley and above the glacier Everest rises, not so much a peak as a prodigious mountain mass. There is no complication for the eye. The highest of the world's mountains, it seems, has to make but a single gesture of magnificence to be lord of all, vast in unchallenged and isolated supremacy. To the discerning eye other mountains are visible, giants between 23,000 and 26,000 feet high. Not one of their slender heads even reaches their chief's shoulder; beside Everest they escape notice - such is the pre-eminence of the greatest.