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Last Days Hardcover – October 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; 1st edition (October 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811708896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811708890
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,760,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Roskelley, one of mountain climbing's more prominent figures, describes two of his Himalayan climbs: Tawoche's East Face in Nepal (summited 1984) and Menlungste's Southeast Ridge in Tibet (attempted 1990). In addition to detailing the climbs, Roskelley offers his climbing ethics: a quick alpine-style climb is preferable to porter-supported battering of the route by teams of climbers; depend on skill and experience; opt out when luck is given too big a part in the climb. His point of view is that of a family man approaching middle age, yet his language is that of latter-day climbers. Recommended where there is a climbing clientele.
- Paula M. Strain, MLS, Rockville, Md.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on September 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Though Mr. Roskelley was only in his early 40's when this book was written, it was meant to be his last hurrah of high altitude climbing. His credentials are enormous. Not only is he one of the top climbers of his generation, he writes with great force, grace and originality. His previous books "Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition" and "Stories Off the Wall" belong in any enthusiast's collection.
The attempts on Himalayan peaks Tawoche and Menlungtse are the foundation of this book. What? Not Everest, or at least K2? Been there and done that. With John, it is the Route, the Complexity, and the Satisfaction of Solving the Problem. His writing is so clear, he can write of very technical maneuvers and be interesting. But this book is more than just a recapitulation of the climb. He has strong opinions on many facets of the sport and the people who take part. He strongly favors alpine style climbing, which is basically climbing light (small team, little equipment as possible and minimal "porter" help). The large "expedition" style (think 1996 Everest) does not win many points with the author. He is at his strongest when he writes of the interaction between teammates on the climb; he puts a human face on the endeavor like no other mountaineering author I have read.
Just when I have about given up on mean, tough John Roskelley, he writes a passage of such grace, I have to do an instant re-evaluation:
---" Tibet has a beauty all its own. It isn't found in a single rock or within a village or even along a meandering creek, no more than a single brush stroke in a Renoir captures the mood of the painting. No. Tibet's beauty, its inner soul, is in the depth and breadth of a distant horizon, the magnificence of time and space, of peaks and valleys and plains that never seem to end. When I look out upon Tibet's endless views, I dream of riding a horse into the distant hills forever and never coming back."-
Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love mountaineering literature, and I thoroughly enjoyed Roskelley's other books, "Stories Off The Wall" and "Nanda Devi". But for some reason, his endless (and at times ridiculous) use of metaphors in this book began to irritate me. When a book stops the reader, that's not a good thing. Books should flow effortlessly, but this one continually stopped me in my tracks. I felt like Roskelley was trying way too hard to be clever. And the other reviewer was right about how technical this book is. As someone who almost exclusively reads climbing books, I certainly am familiar with the terminology, and I like books with a fair amount of technical descriptions, but unless you've mastered a 5.10 mixed climb, this book would not fly with the average reader. Sorry, John. Please don't let this be your last book. I know you can do better.
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Format: Hardcover
The first half of the book details the first ascent of Tawoche's massive Northeast Face, with Roskelley and Jeff Lowe reaching the summit on February 13, 1989 after in 9 days on the face. There are nine pages of colour photos. "The only solid was at my back. Everything was air - above, to my sides, roward the valley. ... Above me only was four thousand feet of potential rock and ice sewage ready to flush."

The second half of the book starts with a brief story about the first ascent of Gauri Shankar by Roskelley and Dorje Sherpa on May 8, 1979. It then documents the attempt on Menlungtse's main summit via the southeast ridge. Roskelley and Greg Child were stopped at 6460m by bottomless snow and teetering cornices. There are seven pages of colour photos. "... above our heads was the ugliest, meanest avalanche-prone face that ever funneled a rock onto a climber's helmet. ... With the axe handle, I jabbed into the cornice, felt a vacuum where solid ice should have been, then pulled it out. I was looking through the cornice at Cho Oyu".

I really like the writing style, honest, humorous and thoughtful.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Truth on November 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found the book too rock climbing technical for a non climber like myself. It seemed to lack depth in all areas except the "on rock" period of the book. I shall donate it to Goodwill.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Stories off the wall is better, but this book is worth the read. Much better than many other books. Worth the 20
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