The year 2006 recorded Mount Everest’s deadliest season on record since 1996 (the killer season that spawned Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air). To tell the story of the 2006 season, which made global headlines due to the troubling circumstances surrounding the death of a climber, journalist Heil, a climber himself, gives us extensive background (more than half the book is a prologue to the 2006 season, and while the backstory will be pertinent to aficionados, it may prove frustrating to those waiting for the real story). There is plenty of fascinating material here, especially the excellent profiles of the key players (including flamboyant Russell Brice, Everest’s most successful commercial operator, a larger-than-life figure who seems to belong on a movie screen), but as a chronicle of the mountain’s “most controversial season,” the book feels padded, as though the author felt he had only enough material for a long article. Recommend this one to mountaineering devotees only, but don’t expect it to attract the kind of general audience that found Krakauer. --David Pitt
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“In this authoritative, colorful look at the grimmest Everest season in years, Dark Summit carries forward Outside magazine's formidable tradition of high alpine literature. Nick Heil is alive to Everest's majesty but fiercely skeptical of those hubristic souls who attempt to ‘conquer’ her. Through rock-solid reporting and vital prose, Heil leads us up into this rarefied world, step by hypoxic step.”—Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder
“Here is humanity itself, personified in exemplary fashion by Nick Heil, addressing the Everest culture's lack of compassion and coming up with the right answers. Dark Summit is an extraordinary tale, ribboned with wisdom and profound insight, delivered by a first-rate storyteller. I consider the book not a sequel to Krakauer's Into Thin Air, but an equal.”—Bob Shacochis, author of The Immaculate Invasion
"Dark Summit illuminates the nuanced personalities of Everest's modern commercial age accurately, with neither heroic romanticism nor guile. Nick Heil takes a critical yet objective look at Everest and the community of Everest climbers, and then leaves you to pass judgment. If you couldn't put down Into Thin Air, you must read Dark Summit to understand what it means to climb Everest today and why anyone might accept the risk.”—Peter Athans, seven-time Everest summiter and The North Face athlete