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The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent Paperback – 1989

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The controversial Messner, revered by some as the spiritual leader of mountaineering and denounced by others as a macho peak-bagger, chronicles his extraordinary 1980 solo climb of the world's tallest mountain. Messner's philosophy dictates that he climb without the aid of oxygen and unencumbered by the people and equipment of large-scale expeditions; he carries only a tent, camera, some climbing equipment, and food. Climbing from the Tibetan side, Messner provides intriguing observations of that mysterious region. He also includes fascinating stories of the climbers who preceded him. Messner presents selections from the diary of his American girlfriend, who accompanied him to base camp. Messner's reflections, coupled with those entries, show Messner to be egotistical and self-centered, perhaps the very characteristics that make him such a determined, ambitious, and great climber. Highly recommended for adult as well as YA collections.
- Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svces., Boulder, Col.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Metaphors of Mind: An Eighteenth-Century Dictionary by Brad Pasanek
Metaphors of Mind: An Eighteenth-Century Dictionary by Brad Pasanek
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books (1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898865743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898865745
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Tim Schmidt on February 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Great story, poorly translated, and bogs down in details you may not care about.
Reinhold Messner is clearly one of the great climbers of all time and maybe arguably the greatest. Having climbed all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters by himself without supplemental oxygen, this is the story of the tallest-Everest.
Like good fiction, the story has several dimensions that work together. The three basic themes include: · The story of the opening of Tibet · The story of climbing Everest · The story of a waiting love one
For the pure climbing enthusiast, much of this book is likely to be pretty boring. Approximately half the book is dedicated to the story of obtaining permission to climb Everest on the Tibetan side and his traveling through Tibet on his way to the mountain. Reinhold Messner has a deep love for Tibet and its people. For him this first trip through Tibet was as exciting as the assent of Everest. For someone less interested in this, the first half of the book is excruciating. Interwoven in this section is Messner's political agenda to free Tibet from Chinese domination.
The story of the actual climb is amazing. Undeniably one of the most amazing ascents ever, he climbed Mount Everest, alone, without supplemental oxygen, during the monsoon period! Obviously crazy, the accomplishment is undeniable. What was especially great is getting a sense of what it was like for him to make the climb, the obstacles he faced, and the nearly robotic drive to the top of the mountain. It is both inspiring and daunting. During the ascent, he finds himself in impossible positions like his having fallen into a crevasse or crack in the glacier. You know that he survives but you still find your self on the edge of your seat in total suspense.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
this guy, Reinhold Messner, is at least one standard deviation beyond the world's greatest mountain climbers. he climbed everest solo and in the alpine style: not relying on any artificial means such as bottled oxygen, or assistance from Sherpas or even a climbing partner. it was the first solo ascent of the highest mountain "by fair means". note: Reinhold Messner was also the first to climb everest without oxygen, with his climbing partner, Peter Habeler, previous to this solo ascent. it was such an incredible feat at the time that many people frankly doubted it. the man is physically gifted, has tremendous will, and the courage to attempt not just an act that had never been done, but one that most experts believed was impossible. he was a visionary. and, he made his attempt from the tibetan side, which is the more difficult route. plus, he was also not getting along with his girlfriend at the time which may or may not have made it easier. his literary talents are passable, but that's not important. most important is content. he comes across as genuine, and gives the reader biographical glimpses of his personality which opens him up to petty criticism from sources whose main accomplishments probably have been reading books. this man is a purist and a rare genius of extreme climbing whose unparalled feats of mountaineering did not receive adequate recognition. so be it. let history be the final judge of his deeds. he will come out on top.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Woutersen, Remco on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book tells the story of one of the greatest feats in high-altitude climbing history. It also tells the story of a human being coping with relationships and society in his own way. In my opinion this gives an interesting perspective to his great achievement (this is actually something I look for in all the climbingbooks I read, so far about 25). Together with his views on the politics in Tibet, this becomes a very interesting book. The writing isn't the greatest in the world, but considering the fact that this is a translation, it's not bad either.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Boris Aleksandrovsky on December 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I could not say anything less then that Reinhold Messner's "The Crystal Horizon" is a great book. It is not a usual climber's book, but rather a strange mix of history, politics, religion, geography, meteorology, personal history and world views of the man who is beyond doubt the greatest living mountaineer. The book deals with the first solo accent of Mnt. Everest, accomplished during the monsoon season. It is ravenously illustrated and photographed. It is an exciting adventure. It is a riot and a sad story of a man who escapes to the mountain to find peace. It is well worth you time.
One should forgive Messner (or rather his translator) some awkward sentence structures, punctuated by the action and verbal phrases put at the end of sentence, and quite frequent exercises in the obscure mix of native religion, Buddhist witticisms and Central European Christianity. I do however, applaud the honesty and occasional beauty of those philosophical excesses, particularly when he talks about feeling akin to Sisyphus when climbing and when he exhibits the diary entries of his girlfriend which does not always portrays him in the best light possible.
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was a fantastic book. Having read at least a dozen other books on Everest and K2 it was nice to read a book that filled me in on the local people and cultures of the Himalaya region. Not only does Messner give a exciting detailed description of his solo climb of the worlds highest mountain(from the north side),but he also gives you knowledge of Tibet and the changes it has been through since the vicious Chinese takeover.Other people may feel that Messner "whines" about his stature as a mountainer, but I feel these are just examples of a person who is uncomfortable with our society simply being misunderstood. Messner is one of the worlds most prolific mountaineers,and deserves more respect thean the other reviews here give him. A fantastic book and highly recomended. Great pictures too!
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