The Great Plateau being an Account of the Exploration in Central Tibet, 1903, and of the Gartok Expedition, 1904-1905 - Captain C. G. Rawling 1905 - Edward Arnold, London - First Edition First Edition of Rawling’s important account of his unofficial and official surveys through Tibet, illustrated with 57 photographs (on 32 plates) and two folding maps.

‘In 1903 Rawling explored the Zoji La, Leh, Chang Chemmo, Lanak La with Hargreaves and Ram Singh. Then he explored and surveyed, with C. H. D. Ryder, from Lhasa to Simla by the valley of the Brahmaputra and Lake Manasaro-war, as a detachment of the Younghusband Tibet Mission in 1904’.

In addition to taking part in a survey that established Everest as the highest mountain in the world, Rawling would have also been the first man to attempt a climb of the North Face of Everest if his senior officers had allowed!
  Rawling accepted a commission into the Somerset Light Infantry in 1891, and in 1897 his unit was dispatched to India where he served on the North-West Frontier during the Tirah Campaign. During this period, Rawling took numerous hunting trips up into the Himalaya mountains. In 1902, he unofficially entered Tibet with a friend, Lieutenant A.J.G. Hargreaves, and together they began an exploration of the region which would last another four years. In 1903 he re-entered Tibet to begin a professional survey although without official sanction, and in the following year Captain Rawling was attached to the British expedition to Tibet, charged with exploring and surveying the mountainous terrain. During the diplomatic expedition and the campaign which followed it, Rawling surveyed over 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of Tibet in addition to his military duties. His team even explored the foothills of Everest and included parts of the mountain in his survey, establishing it as the highest mountain in the Himalayas. It is said that had his seniors on the expedition not forbidden it, he would have become the first white man to attempt to climb the mountain from the north face. He was also the first person to successfully identify the source of the river Brahmaputra after a lengthy and hazardous journey across the war zone. Upon his return to England, Rawling received numerous accolades, including a CIE from the Indian government and in 1909 was awarded the Murchison Bequest of the Royal Geographic Society in London, of which he was a fellow. ‘The Great Plateau’ records his experiences in Tibet.

Brigadier-General Cecil Godfrey Rawling, CMG, CIE, DSO, FRGS (1870–1917) was a British soldier, explorer and author whose expeditions to Tibet and Dutch New Guinea brought acclaim from the Royal Geographic Society and awards from the Dutch and Indian governments. He published two books detailing his experiences and served in the British Army on the North-West Frontier of India and in France during the First World War. It was during this latter service that he was killed in action aged 47 during the Battle of Passchendaele.

A man of adventure in the Victorian mould, he was said to possess 'true courage, modesty and kindness of heart' whether in the snows of Tibet, the jungles of New Guinea or the muddy trenches of Flanders. His death was widely lamented in the scientific and geographic fields and was covered in
The Times, where a friend described 'his patient courage, his resourcefulness and constant cheerfulness' and described how he possessed the 'eternal boyishness of the Elizabethans' in his exploration.


References: Cordier, Bibliotheca Sinica 2897, 4386. Yakushi Catalogue of Himalayan Literature (1994) R98.

pp. xii 324. In publisher’s blue green cloth, spine and front panel lettered in gilt, vignette of rider on horse blocked in gilt to front panel.
  Condition: Near fine, minor rubbing to corners, small light mark to front free endpaper and frontis.   Ref: 107818   Price: HK$ 15,000