This anthology, devoted to climbing on the world's two highest mountains, spans the years 1933 through 1996. It describes the development of climbing these two peaks, reminds us that Everest and K2 are among the world most dangerous places, and explains why the world's best climbers cannot stay away from them. The book includes prose about ...
This anthology, devoted to climbing on the world's two highest mountains, spans the years 1933 through 1996. It describes the development of climbing these two peaks, reminds us that Everest and K2 are among the world most dangerous places, and explains why the world's best climbers cannot stay away from them. The book includes prose about mountaineering's ultimate challenges by writers such as Jon Krakauer, David Roberts and Chris Bonington. Matt Dickinson tells what it is like for an amateur to climb a swaying aluminium ladder on Everest's North Col route; Jim Haberl waits high on K2's Abruzzi Ridge for sunrise over China to warm his extremities; Maria Coffey mourns the loss of her beloved who died on Everest's unclimbed Northeast Ridge; and Doug Scott summits Everest via the difficult Southwest face.
I very much enjoyed and highly recommend this book. I've read many of the books from which these chapters are selected, yet there was much fresh material for me. The editing was so masterful that even though the chapters are from different writers, mountains, and times, they flowed together seamlessly High does for climbing what the movie The Thin Red Line did for combat: It explores not the details of the event, but the inner thoughts of the participants. You read what it feels like to have a climber dying in a tent next to you. You learn about the humilation of having frostbite while back at home. You are with the widows who trek in the paths of their husbands to glimpse the mountain graves of their loved ones.
While I can understand that some reviewers felt the selections dropped one into the middle of a big problem high on a mountain without the broader context of the expedition, I didn't feel this was a problem. I don't need the beginning, middle, and end to enjoy a brief tale. There are plenty of books that give all those details, yet few that are gripping to read from the first page to the last.
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