Charles Houston was just a young Harvard medical student when he first met Bill Tilman. He and three other climbers had been instrumental in organizing a Himalayan expedition to Nanda Devi—at that time the highest mountain in the British Empir—-in 1936. Nanda Devi had not been the students’ first choice; they had originally wanted to climb Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak. But Tilman persuaded them to try Nanda Devi which he and Shipton had attempted two years earlier. The expedition was a great success, and Houston and Tilman were to meet again in 1950 on the first Everest reconnaisance expedition in Nepal. The two men became life-long friends and corresponded periodically over the years until Tilman’s disappearance in the southern oceans in 1977.
Charles Houston was himself to become renown for his climbing exploits, especially his attempts to climb K2 recorded in his book “K2 – The Savage Mountain”. He also was to research and write the first definitive book about the effects of altitude on humans entitled “Going Higher”. Charles Houston, now in his 90s, lives in Vermont, USA.