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The Chomolungma Diaries: Climbing Mount Everest with a commercial expedition (Footsteps on the Mountain Diaries) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
For over a decade he has been exploring the world's greater mountain ranges and keeping a diary of his travels. As a writer he strives to do for mountain history what Bill Bryson did for long-distance hiking.
Several of his expedition diaries are available as quick reads from the major online bookstores. His first full-length book, Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest, about his ten-year journey from hill walker to Everest climber, was published in November 2015.
His favourite mountaineering book is The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B00A9KMN2Y
- Publisher : Mountain Footsteps Press (November 17, 2012)
- Publication date : November 17, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 1088 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 173 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #15,562 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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However I did not know about the extremely long acclamation time for your body to produce more red blood cells so you can finish the climb with all mental and physical skills still working as expected.... unless you die. In that case you've wasted valuable time.
While waiting for weeks at base camp 1.(yes ..weeks!) These adventurers pass the time sleeping, boozing,taking short walks into town,drinking (see boozing) talking to other members from different teams ,then more drinking ,sleeping and blogging about whatever adrenaline junkies want to hear.....and more boozing. At 53% of the book that's all you read...!
Does it get any better? Wait, I'll look...... It does to an extent. Now we get into actual climbing and not to acclimating. No matter how much help you get getting to the top is a slog and hardship is never far away. Constant reminders of fatal decisions dot the landscape in the form of frozen bodies. The writer describes this crazy climb quite well and points out the problems he encountered. For one of the members of his group just the simple act of taking a pee could send you over the edge . If you need a book to reminded you to NOT climb Everest...this would be it.
Horrell goes in great detail describing their long and tedious acclimatisation climbs. To his credit, he does so without boring the reader. When the narrow window is found and the team gets ready for the summit push, Horrell seems to forget how to be funny and details his difficult and dangerous struggle up the North Col, First Step, Second Step, Summit Ridge etc.
The action doesn't end there. Unlike most books in this genre that merely skims over the descent, Horrells recounts the many dangerous moments he had while trying to get off the mountain alive, under the watchful eye of his personal Sherpa Changba who has climbed the mountain 12 times.
There are quite a number of dead bodies the author encountered on his climb. The one that bugs him most is an irrational climber he ran into on his descent. Horrell dedicates this him. Ridden with guilt, he wonders if that climber could have survived if he had advised him to turn around.
Overall, it is a highly readable book. However, I skipped chunks at the end as the author described how totally drained and humourless he was when he reached Base Camp.
Top reviews from other countries
This book is carefully written and one of Mark's similes will stay with me forever. He describes the dead body which - in his hypoxic state - seems to crawl across his path as being 'like a high altitude zombie'. Typical humour from this down to earth guy.
To start with, I found the narrative a little pedestrian and even wondered whether I might bother to finish it. But as the story unfolded, its pace quickened and became quite gripping. I guess much of the content of the tale was rather old hat to those with experience of this kind of venture or who have read much on the subject, but to me, as a complete novice, it was a revelation.
I had not realised before reading this, how many were each day attempting the climb, how commercial was the overall enterprise, how much the terrain had been despoiled by the paraphernalia and detritus which countless expeditions had left behind, how much of a 'highway' routes up the mountain had become, with ropeways and ladders semi-permanently in place, but most of all, how many each year, despite safety arrangements, lose their lives on the mountain and whose bodies are frequently left. It made me realise how truly magnificent was the 1953 conquest of Everest by Hillary and Tenzing.
I felt that Horrell could have done a little more to explain to newcomers to the subject, some of the technical aspects of climbing at high altitudes. For instance, I took some while to get to grips with the concept of 'rotations' which I came to understand are repeated limited ascents, followed by descents in order to acclimatise to the reduction in the availability of oxygen as altitude increases. But these were minor matters. Despite the commercial nature of much of the climbing, the book succeeded in convincing me of two things - that the Sherpas who provide the support network for the climbers are truly magnificent beings, and the climbers themselves are brave souls with real expertise and undoubted courage.
In addition, as the book progressed, I increasingly came to appreciate the quality of the writing - so much so - that despite only limited interest in the subject, I am tempted to read more of Mark Horrell's offerings.
The account is longer than his usual trekking publications and his writing style has grown with that extra space. I would even dare to suggest that this account is as good as Matt Dickinson's book, Death Zone which recounts a similar quest to reach the summit via the North Face.
Every gasp of thin air, every ankle-wrenching pain, is included in Horrell's narrative. I particularly appreciated his frank descriptions of fear when confronted with the terrifying precipices he encounters on summit day. I caught my breath, out loud, when reading of his desperate attempts to pass a slower climber on the way down. I have always suspected that many of those who aspire to climb Everest underestimate the rigours of that final day: Horrell has ensured that those who join a commercial expedition can fully appreciate the horrors which await them near the top.
His reaction to reaching the summit and returning safely is very honest and does him great favour: that his success is touched by the death of others is reported in a respectful way.
I wholly recommend Chomolungma Diaries and look forward to reading his full length book, which he is working on now.
Mark Horrell's brilliant little book has a simple but noble aim: to tell the truth about Everest, from the perspective of a mountaineer who has actually been a member of a commercial expedition.
It's written in the manner of a travel diary. I was struck by the immediacy and honesty of the writing. There is no flowery prose or philosophising here; the author simply describes his Everest adventure in a straightforward but engaging way, taking us through the ups and downs of the expedition. He paints a vivid picture of Base Camp life (which largely consists of drinking!) and proves that Everest certainly is not a straightforward walk, even in the 21st century: it's a brutal struggle and a real challenge still.
He also proves that most people who tackle Everest are *not* rich idiots without an iota of climbing experience, but are experienced, dedicated mountaineers who have planned and saved for many years in order to realise their dream. The author's respect and admiration for the Sherpas is also tangible.
All in all this is a great travel book that (in my opinion) should be required reading for everyone with an interest in Everest. For a mountain surrounded with a great deal of hyperbole, legend, and half-truth, it provides a refreshing dose of honesty and perspective.