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High: Stories of Survival from Everest and K2 (Adrenaline Books) Paperback – December 23, 1998
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But there are other angles as well. Tucked in the middle of High is a gem told by an Everest widow, Maria Coffey, who traveled to the base of the mountain that took her husband and his partner: "I could pick out the ridge where Joe and Pete were last seen. The image blurred, tears were washing down my face and collecting in the jacket collar pulled tightly around my chin." In a collection of writing that soars it is a moving--and grounding--reminder of mountaineering's risks. --Tipton Blish
From School Library Journal
Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
I found some of the K2 stories especially 'breath-taking' and the edge-of-the-seat drama present everywhere. I agree with the review that says the piece by widow Maria Coffey is a gem - another perspective on the mountain climbing experience.
I also liked the older, more historical tales, contrasting some of the worls views about climbing with more modern attitudes evident in some of the newer books, especially now focussing on the commercial aspects of climbing especially Everest.
Am I alone in thinking that mountain climbing to the point of summiting used to be a more collective, comradely pursuit, and now it is 'everyone for themself' ? I know there is a lot of bunk that could be said - and I don't hold that the class-ridden older (especially Bristish) school of mountaineering in the days of Mallory et al was some kind of 'golden age'. But on the other hand, there was something in the spirit of the times then lacking now...and the difference is not just money. The old Siege-like expeditions required vast amounts of sponsorship....but it was aimed at the collective effort, whereas now it is anyone who can stump up $65 000 of their own wealth.
I might be wrong, but I think there is something different now. Not being an expert, I'm interested to continue exploring this. This volume is a good place to start reflecting on some of those issues.
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.
Some expeditions take a massive army-style assault on the peaks, using complicated supply chains, support teams, hundreds of Sherpas, and tons of equipment. This is sort of the "Humanity Conquers Nature" approach. Others plan for basically a sprint up the mountain, traveling light with minimal support and small groups, and eschewing the use of oxygen cylinders and fancy gadgetry. This is the "Triumph of the Will" approach. These purists are always keen on trying routes no one else has attempted, and they avoid using the ladders and fixed ropes and stuff left by previous expeditions.
It's that latter style of climbing that has become especially dangerous, because once someone has reached the pinnacle without oxygen, the bar has been dramatically raised, and anyone who follows and doesn't try the same looks weak. So ever-escalating feats of bravado must necessarily follow, where it won't be long before we'll see accomplishments such as "first to climb Everest while naked" or something like that.
While there are a number of gripping scenes related in this book, there's also a great deal of repetition. A whole lot of verbiage is devoted to, essentially, "Man, it's cold up there!" So we read again and again about firing up stoves and snuggling into sleeping bags and taking an hour to put on boots and the like.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some amazing stories in this book. They will have you on the edge of your seat. Particularly, if you've watched the movie "K2" or "Into Thin Air" and other... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Beanball55
Another tale collecting tour de force by Clint Willis who again invites we armchair mountaineers to join him and his pals in some positively hair raising expeditions.Published on December 17, 2013 by Christina McCann
These arent short stories, they are excerpts from full books about Everest and K2.
If I had known that I would have skipped it. Read more
You don't have to be a climber to appreciate this book. You will almost certainly question the sanity of some of the individuals and teams in the assembled stories, but at the same... Read morePublished on August 1, 2010 by Ilya Grigorik
This is a classic. Well told stories of the difficulties encountered climbing Everest and K2. The machismo seems to have been left far below the altitudes these climbers struggle... Read morePublished on January 27, 2005 by W. N.
Like all of you who read this review,you're Everest junkies who probably won't even get near this mountain, but are hooked on all books about it. Read morePublished on March 6, 2002 by Movie Fan
I ready Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" before this book. I was mezmorised and enthralled by that book. Read morePublished on June 25, 2000