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Jerome Ryan (Toronto, Canada)

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To a Mountain in Tibet
To a Mountain in Tibet
par Colin Thubron
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 17,11

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent description of Saga Dawa and the kora around Mount Kailash, 3 janvier 2012
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : To a Mountain in Tibet (Broché)
This book tells the author's trek from Simikot in Nepal to Mount Kailash in Tibet for Saga Dawa in 2009, undertaken to commemorate the recent death of his mother. The first half of the book follows Colin as he treks up the Karnali River from Simkot to Tibet. Colin describes the landscape, his small crew and the villages, villagers, and Buddhist monasteries he encounters. He also reflects on his father and mother along the way.

After entering Tibet they drive to Thalladong Pass for his first view of Lake Manasarovar and Kailash: "we are gazing on a country of planetary strangeness. Beneath us, in a crescent of depthless silence, a huge lake curves empty out of sight. It is utterly still. In the plateau's barren smoothness it makes a hard purity, like some elemental carving, and its colour is almost shocking, a violent peacock blue. There is no bird or wind touched shrub to start a sound. And in the cleansed stillness high above, floating on foothills so faded that it seems isolated in the sky, shines the cone of Mount Kailas. In this heart-stopping moment pilgrims burst into cries and prayer. Even our seasoned trekkers spill from their Land Cruisers to gaze. There seems no colours left in the world but this bare earth-brown, the snow's white, and the sheen of mirrored sky. Everything else has been distilled away. The south face of Kailas is fluted with the illusion of a long, vertical stairway, as if for spirits to climb by. It shines fifty miles away in unearthly solitude. Void of any life, the whole region might have survived from some sacred pre-history, shorn of human complications. We have entered holy land."

He travels to Lake Manasarovar and experiences the Saga Dawa ceremony, with all the pilgrims, the monks and the raising of the Tarboche Pole. He then treks around Mount Kailash, visiting Chuku Gompa and Dirapuk Gompa, describing their statues, and meeting some Hindus who were finding the Kailash parikrama extremely difficult. He passes Shiva Tsal and climbs to the Dolma La. "Now hoarse cries sound above us in the wind, and a hillock of brilliant colour bursts from the gap above. I climb on a wave of relief. The slopes ease apart under a porcelain sky. A few minutes later I am walking through a blaze of prayer flags. They are festooned so thick on everything around that only at their top does the double summit of the boulder sacred to Tara - the Flaming Rock - break free in a surge of granite." He continues the kora down the Eastern Valley to Zutulpuk Gompa and out to the Barkha Plain, where the book ends abruptly.

I enjoyed reading the story once it got to Tibet and to Mount Kailash; the trek in Nepal was a little too long. There is an excellent description of Saga Dawa and the kora around Kailash, but only a basic review of Buddhism and the Tibetan deities. Photos would have helped me visualize the story.

The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak
The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak
par Ed Viesturs
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 24,10

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great history of the Annapurna climbing, especially first ascent of the East Ridge, 3 janvier 2012
America's first mountaineer to climb all 14 8000m peaks and twelfth overall, all without oxygen, Viesturs describes the major events on Annapurna along with his own three attempts featuring his diary entries. You should buy this book first and foremost for Viesturs account of the first ascent of the East Ridge by Swiss Erhard Loretan and Norbert Joos in 1984, second for the miraculous survival of Simone Moro and tragic death of Anatoli Bookreev on Christmas Day 1997, third for his own three attempts and eventual success, and finally as a history of the main events in Annapurna's history including the first ascent by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal in 1950, the first ascent of the south face by Dougal Haston and Don Willans on a Chris Bonington British expedition in 1970, the first ascent of the northwest face by Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander in 1985, the first winter ascent by Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer in 1987, and the second ascent of the east ridge by J.-C. Lafaille and Alberto Inurrategi in 2002. There are 8 pages of colour photos and a 2-page b/w photo.

The book starts with Ed describing his attempt to climb Annapurna North Face in 2000 with Veikka Gustafsson, Neil Beidleman, and Michael Kennedy. After witnessing "the biggest avalanche any of us had ever seen", they decided to give up their attempt because "the risks are too great."

Ed then describes the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950 by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, chronicled by Herzog in Annapurna, the best-selling mountaineering book of all time. In 2000, Ed's co-author for this book, David Roberts, wrote True Summit, a book fairly critical of Herzog, stating that the 1950 team was ridden with dissension, acrimony and envy, and that the book was little more than a gilded fairy tale. Ed disagrees with David: "For me, Annapurna is still an amazing book, essentially a true story, and all six of the leading climbers' ability to pull together to save one another's lives far outweighs the kinds of squabbles and disagreements David dug up." After searching for a route on Dhaulagiri, the French team switched their energies to Annapurna. Even though the maps of the day were wrong, the team managed to find a way to the Annapurna North Face, and in just a few days were ready to tackle the summit. Herzog was "indulging in the kind of ecstasy" and stayed on the summit while Lachenal wanted to go down. "As much as I admire Herzog and empathize with his rapture, I have to concede that Lachenal was using better judgment." He briefly describes the horror filled descent and escape from the clutches of death,

The authors then describe the first ascent in 1970 of the enormous Annapurna South Face rising "in one unbroken, gargantuan sweep more than 10,000 feet from the glacier at its base to the summit". Dougal Haston and Don Willans, "two brilliant climbers with huge egos, blazing ambition, and sharp tempers", reached the summit. The British Expedition was led by Chris Bonington who "despite his conservative, military background ... has always been a firm proponent of the tell-it-like-it-is school of adventure journalism." The lead climbers were supported by five "good soldiers", including Tom Frost who provides some perspective on the expedition. "For me, the day-to-day details, disputes and all, painted a complete and accurate picture of expedition life ... Despite the dissension within the team ... the ascent of the south face of Annapurna ranks today as one of the geatest deads in Himalayan history."

My favourite chapter is when Ed Viesturs tells the next story of the 1984 ascent of the East Ridge by Erhard Loretan and Norbert Joos. After a brief review of the 1978 ascent by an all-women's expedition led by Arlene Blum, Ed uses Loretan's book Les 8000 Rugissants to tell the story. The two Swiss climbers left Base Camp on October 21 and climbed to Camp II, and the next day to Camp IV at 7500m, a snow cave above Roc Noir. They set out on October 23 at 4:30, reached the Col below the East Summit at 8:30 and reached the East Summit at 14:00, descending in an hour to the col below the central summit at 8020m where they decided to bivouac in a snow cave. In a call to base camp they announced their intention of "descending by the north face after having reached the principal summit." Rather than what was believed to be a desperate last resort, Loretan and Joos had pre-planned to do the traverse of Annapurna. On October 24 they climbed the Central Summit and then had to rappel down a 100m rock cliff that blocked any idea of retreat along the East Ridge. They reached the main summit at 13:30. "We fell into each other's arms. A great happiness spread through me. ... The statistician in me told me that we had succeeded today on a new route on Glacier Dome (Tarke Kang), the third ascent of the Roc Noir (Khangsar Kang), and the first of the east ridge of Annapurna with its three summits (east, middle, and main) ... to celebrate ... it would be necessary to arrive on the north-side base camp alive, and that, as the one-armed say, is another pair of sleeves." After only 10 minutes on the summit, they started their descent of the north face which neither climber had seen before and bivouacked again at around 6800m. On October 25 the men spotted the top end of a fixed rope just 100m below them, but below an overhanging wall. "The descent of those 300 feet would turn out to be the most desperate passage of the whole traverse." After reaching the fixed rope, the two climbers continued their descent and had to bivouac again before stepping off the glacier at 13:00 on October 26. Loretan: "The doors of hell had just closed behind us, enclosing inside them our fears, our doubts and our anguish." Viesturs: "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the 1984 traverse of Annapurna was one of the greatest feats in Himalayan history."

In the next chapter, Ed detours to look at competition in mountaineering, specifically between Loretan and Benoit Chamoux to be the third person to climb all 14 8000ers. In September 1995 Both Loretan and Chamoux were on the south side of Kangchenjunga. Loretan arrived a little earlier and was more acclimitized and stronger than Chamoux. Loretan: "I understood that Benoit Chamoux was absolutely determined to beat me to the top." Both climbers left Camp IV (7800m) on October 5 with Loretan's team breaking trail, and Chamoux lagging behind. Loretan reached the summit at 14:35 and passed Chamoux still heading up as he climbed down. Chamoux was never seen again.

J.C. Lafaille and his mentor Pierre Beghin's attempted the south face of Annapurna in 1992, where Beghin fell to his death. "The ordeal he endured during the next several days would eventually become one of the most amazing self-rescues in mountaineering history." After attempts in 1995 and 1998, J.C. teamed up with Ed Viesturs and Veikka Gustafsson to try the East Ridge in 2002. "In Jean-Christophe Lafaille, I would discover one of the best partners of my mountaineering career." Alberto Inurrategi joined the climbing team. "In May a pattern began to form, with J.-C. doing most of the leading on our route. In part that was because he was so fast and so technically gifted." As J.-C. and Alberto pushed on the East Ridge, Ed "started getting the heebie-jeebies ... Deep snow on the face - not good. ... [Veikka and Ed] both agonized but finally after hours of silence knew we would go down." J.-C. and Alberto completed the East Ridge and reached the summit of Annapurna on May 16. J-C.: "There, at an altitude of 8,091 meters, a deep cry of joy, of liberation, came from the bottom of my lungs ... We held each other in our arms. I started crying, my emotions were so strong. Alberto clasped [Felix's] ice ax to his heart." They returned along the east ridge to safety, with J.-C.'s obsesssion with Annapurna finished, but with Ed still needing to climb Annapurna for his quest to climb all 14 8000ers.

Ed then describes the competition between Reinhold Messner and Jerzy Kukuczka to become the first person to climb all 14 8000m mountains. Messner and Hans Kammerlander climbed a new route with "delicate friction moves on rock slabs interspersed with steep snowfields" up the northwest face of Annapurna in 1985. Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer climbed the north face, reaching the summit in winter on February 23, 1987. Kukuczka: "it is impossible for a moment to get away from that bitter, penetrating frost, that takes away one's will and hope. ... We climbed on ice so hard that even the tips of our crampons could hardly penetrate it."

After briefly commenting on Anatoli Bookreev and his involvement in the 1996 Everest tragedy, Ed takes excerpts from Simone Moro's book Comet on Annapurna to describe Simone, Anatoli, and Dimitri Sobolev's attempt in December 1997 of "a line attacking the fiercely glaciated southwest flank of Annapurna, well to the left of all the south-face routes." After making slow progress in the terrible conditions, sinking in snow up to their waists, they went down the valley for some R&R before heading back up the mountain. Moro: "Above my head there was a terrifying, gigantic cornice of snow and ice stretching out like an ocean wave. Death was hanging right over our heads ... A fraction of a second later, a deafening roar announced the end of that gigantic cornice, and with it our lives. 'Anatoliiiiii ...' That desperate cry was all I could manage before the explosion of ice and rock started pouring down on me. ... After that there followed an interminable phase of bouncing, sliding, spinning around and round." It was 12:36 on Christmas Day, December 25, 1997. Miraculously Moro survived. Simone shouted to Anatoli and Demitri, but there was no answer. Simone himself was in a desperate situation and, with shades of J.-C. Lafaille, had to throw caution to the wind and descend off the mountain by himself.

Ed closes the book with his successful ascent of Annapurna with Veikka Gustafsson on May 12, 2005, completing his Endeavor 8000 project and becoming the 12 person to climb all 14 8000m peaks. They first acclimitized on Cho Oyu to reduce their time spent on Annapurna to an absolute minimum. Ed had to forego his summit attempt to help Jimmy Chin, sick with pulmonary edema, descend from their high camp (7070m), while Veikka reached the summit solo. They then turned their sights on the 1950 French route on the north face, "the least of all evils." With help from Silvio Mondinelli's Italian Expedition in using their fixed ropes, "It would mean that we could climb alpine style, having to traverse that dangerous face only once on the ascent." After waiting for the weather to clear, they left base camp on May 8 and climbed to Camp II. The next day, "we had to dash up and across what I called the Gauntlet, that frightfully exposed face down which in 2000 we'd seen the avalanches pour" to Camp III (6800m). "I was pretty wired - the culmination of an eighteen-year quest might come the next day." After waiting out May 10 and 11 due to high winds, the left for the summit early on May 12. "The scale of this upper north face was truly monstrous." "It was 2:00 P.M. Veikka and I hugged each other as tightly as we could, feeling clumsy with cold. My mind was racing. Oh my God! It's not just my fourteenth, it's Annapurna. ... We spent almost an hour on top. I wanted to savor every sweet moment of this."

Travelers' Tales Nepal
Travelers' Tales Nepal
par Rajendra Khadka
Edition : Broché

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting stories beyond what a guide book can offer, like a leech crawling up your nose, and how to get it out, 29 septembre 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Travelers' Tales Nepal (Broché)
Another in the Travelers series of travel anthologies, this time capturing the experience of Nepal in 38 stories organized into five sections: Essence of Nepal, Some Things to Do, Going Your Own Way, In the Shadows, and The Last Word.

My favourite stories are: A Nosy Neighbour by Broughton Coburn about a leech who had crawled up his nose, and how to get it out; The Art Of Walking by Jack Bennett about how to trek; Jewel Of The Nagas by Ian Baker about trying to buy a sacred jewel; The Call Of Kala Patthar by Jimmy Carter about his trek in the Solu-Khumbu; Democracy Day by Alison Wright about how the 1990 revolution in Kathmandu became deadly dangerous; Avalanche by Brian Weirum about being trapped on Mount Meru in the 1995 deadly snowstorm.

I am a fan of the Travelers Tales series and find that they provide more memorable ideas about a place than just reading a guide book.

The Kathmandu Valley
The Kathmandu Valley
par Frederik Arvidsson
Edition : Relié

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent crisp and clear photos of Kathmandu and the Kathmandu Valley, 29 septembre 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Kathmandu Valley (Relié)
A coffee-table photographic book, with some text by Kerry Moran. The book features Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, and other valley locations. It includes the scenery, the houses, the temples and stupas, the people, and their religious practices, with a hint of the mountains visible on clearer days from the valley.

The 160 colour photos are superb, crisp and clear. Moran's text is fairly brief and basic.

If you want to glance through one coffee-table photographic book before traveling to Kathmandu or to recapture memories, this is the book.

Nepal : Kathmandu valley, Chitwan, Annapurna, Mustang, Everest
Nepal : Kathmandu valley, Chitwan, Annapurna, Mustang, Everest
par Richard I'Anson
Edition : Relié

5.0 étoiles sur 5 My favourite Nepal photo book has spctacular photos of Kathmandu, Chitwan, Annapurna, Upper Mustang, and Mount Everest, 29 septembre 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Nepal : Kathmandu valley, Chitwan, Annapurna, Mustang, Everest (Relié)
A large coffee-table type book featuring over 400 photos from renowned photographer Richard L'Anson. Chapters include Kathmandu and Kathmandu Valley (112 pages), Chitwan (20 pages), the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary (54 pages), Upper Mustang (20 pages), and the Mount Everest Khumbu region (51 pages). The front cover is Annapurna South Face.

Kathmandu is the largest portion of this perfect pictorial book. In addition to Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur tourist attractions, there are photos of other smaller villages in the valley and from Nagarkot. There are also photos of many of the festivals including Dasain, Indra Chatra, Holi, and Losar.

The Everest chapter includes Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Thami, Khumjung, Phortse, the Gokyo Valley, and the views from Gorak Shep and Kala Pattar.

The Annapurna chapter begins with Pokhara and Sarangkot. The views from Dhampus, Ghandruk and Poon Hill precede the photos from the Sanctuary itself.

Upper Mustang features photos from Kagbeni to Lo Manthang, pasing through Chuksang, Chele, Ghemi, Charang, Drakmar, and Tama Gaon.

This is my favourite Nepal photo book. It features all of the main tourist areas. The photos are spectacular.

The Mountains of My Life
The Mountains of My Life
par Walter Bonatti
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Exciting and dangerous alpine climbs by world-famous mountaineer Walter Bonatti, and analysis of the 1954 K2 controversy, 18 septembre 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Mountains of My Life (Broché)
This book collects the classic writings of world-famous mountaineer Walter Bonatti (many from On The Heights and The Great Days). The cover is Bonatti's route on the south-west pillar of the Aiguille du Dru. The book has 26 pages of b/w photos, an additional 3 b/w photos, and 8 route maps.

The book starts with his climbs on Grande Jorasses, Grand Capucin and Lavaredo in winter. He was then invited on the 1954 Italian K2 expedition, where Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni became the first to summit K2. Controversy struck when the expedition leaders accused him of turning back before delivering needed oxygen to them below the summit. After staying quiet for 50 years, Lacadelli finally published his view of what happened, collaborating Bonatti's story.

Bonatti continued on to execute many great climbs, including a solo climb of a new route on the south-west pillar of the Aiguille du Dru, Cerro Torre, the first ascent of Gasherbrum IV, the North Face of the Grande Jorasses in winter, an unprecedented solo ascent of the north face of the Matterhorn in winter, and the tragic story of the death of four mountaineers from exhaustion attempting to be the first to climb the Central Pillar of Freney in June 1961.

This is one of my top 10 favourite mountaineering books of all time. The photos are good. Bonatti packs his pages with a total punch, introspective, exciting, and dangerous. You can just about feel the bitter cold.

About a quarter of the book is dedicated to K2 and the aftermath. Walter Bonatti and Mahdi carried the oxygen bottles to Camp IX on July 30, 1954. But Campagnoni had intentionally moved the camp from the planned site so Bonatti could not try for the summit. Bonatti and Mahdi survived the bivouac at 8100m, but Madhi had frostbitten toes.

In 1964 a reporter printed a 10th anniversary article finally bringing out into the open Desio and Campagnoni's views of what really happened. They accused Bonatti of treachery, trying for the summit and using the oxygen. Bonatti filed a libel suit held in Turin in 1966, and was exonerated. Bonatti then does his own analysis and uses diagrams and charts to prove that the oxygen had not run out. In The Price Of Conquest from 2004, Lacedelli disagrees with Bonatti, saying that the oxygen had in fact run out.

Marshall concludes quite convincingly: "The whole affair started because Mahdi thought he and Bonatti were making an independent attempt on the summit. ... Bonatti made a very convenient villain and an ideal sacrificial goat. He was never able to defend himself because he was never accused directly."

In 2008 the Club Alpino Italiano recognised officially that Bonatti's version of the ascent was correct. Compagnoni and Lacedelli reached the summit with oxygen after putting the life of Bonatti and the hunza Madhi in serious risk by denying them help at 8100m while they carried the oxygen supplies to the last camp.

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
par Joe Simpson
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 14,20

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Miraculous survival from a broken leg, falling into a crevasse when his partner cut the rope, and an 8km crawl back to camp, 18 septembre 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival (Broché)
If this was a fiction book, nobody would believe it. It's too far fetched. It was the winner of the 1988 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and was subsequently made into a movie in 2003. Simpson tells the story with the perspective from Simon Yates in the key sections.

Joe Simpson and Simon Yates make the first ascent of the west face of Siula Grande (6344m) in Peru in 1985. The descent is extremely dangerous and disaster strikes when Joe falls on the ridge and breaks his right leg. "I felt a shattering blow in my knee, felt bones splitting, and screamed." When Simon got to Joe, he thought, "You're fucked matey. You're dead."

Simon is roped to Joe and lowers him down, rope length by rope length. Disaster strikes again when Joe falls over a cliff and dangles in the air. Simon held Joe for an hour, but was starting to slip off. Joe: "I was pulling him off. I hung still, and waited for it to happen. Any minute, any minute ." Simon cut the rope, dropping Simpson into a crevasse.

Yates believed Simpson was dead, but in fact he had survived the fall. He miraculously crawled out of the crevasse, but was still over 8km from base camp. He spend the next three days crawling down the glacier and moraine days, without food and only splashes of water from melting ice. Almost completely delusional, he reached base camp a few hours before Yates intended to leave the camp to return to civilization.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
par Jon Krakauer
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 9,58

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 My personal favourite mountaineering book of all time - a chilling and harrowing story of the tragedies on Everest in May 1996, 18 septembre 2009
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster (Broché)
My personal favourite mountaineering book of all time. Krakauer provides a day-by-day journal to tell the chilling, harrowing and controversial story about the 1996 Everest season when 12 climbers were killed. He describes the trek to Everest Base Camp, the acclimatization climbs to Camps One, Two and Three, the final climb by 34 climbers towards the Everest Summit, the descent to the South Col, the killer storm, the rescues and failed rescues, and the descent off the mountain. The Illustrated Edition contains almost 250 b/w photos to bring the story to visual life. The photos are by Jon Krakauer, Neil Beidleman, Klev Schoening, Scott Fisher and others.

"In March 1996, Outside magazine sent [Jon Krakauer] to participate in, and write about a guided ascent of Mount Everest", on Rob Hall's Adventure Consultants expedition. In addition to Hall's eight clients, Scott Fisher's Mountain Madness guided expedition also had eight clients. Scott Fisher: "We've got the big E figured out ... we've built a yellow brick road to the summit." Krakauer did reach the Everest summit on May 10, 1996 at 13:10. Worrying about his dwindling oxygen, he left the summit after just five minutes, finally making it back to his tent on the South Col at about 18:45, "more exhausted than I'd ever been in my life." "The storm abruptly metastasized into a full-blown hurricane, and the visibility dropped to less than twenty feet ... nineteen men and women were stranded up on the mountain by the storm, caught in a desperate struggle for their lives."

Two guides, two Sherpas, and seven clients had reached the South Col, but "staggered blindly around in the storm, growing ever more exhausted and hypothermic." In a small break in the storm, Camp Four was slightly visible. "Pittman, Fox, Weathers, and Namba were too feeble to walk", so Neil Beidleman, Klev Schoening, Lene Gammelgard, the two Sherpas, and Mike Groom stumbled off into the storm, making it back to the tents on May 11 at 00:45. Fisher's guide Anatoli Boukreev had descended to Camp Four in advance of his clients, and was the only strong climber left. Boukreev courageously single-handedly attempted to brave the storm to rescue the missing climbers, but had to return to the tents. But Boukreev didn't give up. He went out again by himself and was able to find the climbers, and brought back first Charlotte Fox and then Sandy Pittman and Tim Madsen. Yasuko Namba was dead and Beck was a lost cause.

Rob Hall waited for Doug Hansen to reach the summit at around 16:00, but Hansen turned into a "zombie" on the descent. Andy Harris picked up oxygen from the South Summit and walked back up towards Hall and Hansen. "at 4:43 on the morning of May 11 ... [Hall] had descended to the South Summit. And at that point neither Hansen nor Harris was with him." The continuing storm on May 11 stopped the Sherpa's rescue attempt. Rob's pregnant wife in New Zealand was patched through to speak to Rob late on May 11, " 'I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much.' These would be the last words anyone would her him speak."

Scott Fisher was not very strong on summit day, and reached the summit late at 15:40. Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa was able to help Fisher descend, but he collapsed just below the Balcony about 400m above the South Col. Anatoli Boukreev reached Fisher late on the evening of May 11. "Down suit is unzipped, pulled off his shoulder, one arm is outside clothing. There is nothing I can do. Scott is dead."

Amongst the tragedy, there was a ray of joy. Beck Weathers collapsed on the South Col late on May 10 and was left for dead. Miraculously he regained consciousness on May 11 and stumbled back to Camp Four at 16:35 with his "bare right hand, naked to the frigid wind and grotesquely frostbitten ... outstretched ... [looking like] a mummy in a low-budget horror film." Beck miraculously survived the night and the IMAX team with David Breashears and Ed Viesturs helped him descend to Camp Two the next day. Lt. Colonel Madan Khatri Chhetri rescued Beck from Camp Two in his helicopter on May 13.

Krakauer's writing is excellent, providing enough information, but keeping the story tight and to the point. He provides his inner thoughts and comments candidly on his own performance and mistakes, and the other clients and guides. Rob Hall's last minutes speaking to his wife are almost too heartbreaking to read. The photos are absolutely excellent. Although Krakauer is critical of Anatoli Boukreev's guiding practices, he fully acknowledges Toli's extraordinary performance in single handedly rescuing three clients during the storm. For a rebuttal from Anatoli Boukreev, read The Climb.

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