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Left for Dead (Movie Tie-in Edition): My Journey Home from Everest Paperback – September 15, 2015
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But I think of all the books I've read about the tragedies on Mount Everest in 1996, *Left for Dead* is the one that most touched me. It's the first one that dared to talk about what happens AFTER a mountaineering expedition - after the mountain climbers pack up, clear out, head back down the mountain, and fly back into the bosom of their families. For me, this was important terrain.
The last biggish mountain I climbed was Mount Adams. I climbed it during the summer I turned forty-one. At some point in the climb I looked down the slope and the faces of my two young sons - aged three and five - flashed into my thoughts, and it occurred to me that if something happened to me up there, they'd be motherless. When I'd climbed Rainier, Baker, and Hood, I hadn't been a mother. My life had been my own. Now I belonged to two young people. It changed things. My dad, who had been a member of several mountaineering expeditions in his younger days (K2, Mount Saint Elias, Mount Kennedy) and who had been my guide up Rainier, Baker, and Hood, was 79 now, and at about 10,000' decided that was as far as he would go on this climb. So, not only was Mount Adams the last biggish mountain I climbed, it was the first biggish mountain I ever climbed without Dad leading the way.
Reading *Left for Dad* brought back a flood of memories of my climbing adventures with Dad, and it reminded me, too, of that moment when my sons' faces had flashed before my eyes on Mount Adams.
Weathers has a wonderful sense of humor - he knows how to laugh at himself and his circumstances, and I found myself laughing along with him. He's also not afraid to be honest about his own short-comings, flaws, and foibles. He makes mistakes and owns them. And at the end of his book Beck Weathers finds a beautiful redemption for them.
This book was a thoroughly-satisfying read.
Where Weathers could have spent a lot of time lambasting the decision to leave him, he has chosen to concentrate on how the mountain changed him. Weathers reveals that he was clinically depressed most of his life, and that climbing mountains was his way of coping with his problems.
The climbs became his sole focus and his marriage was disintegrating around him. Depression can do strange things to people, and like many others, Weathers was unable to see past his solution from the crippling illness. His near death on Everest changed him more than physically. When he awoke on the mountain and staggered into camp, Weathers really woke up to the things that are important in life.
I really liked this book. I also deal with depression, and Beck Weathers’ story was a real shot in the arm. When you feel like you can’t go on, there is always someone who has faced worse and survived. Thanks for your book, Beck Weathers. I will not soon forget the lessons you have taught me.
I give this book five stars…
Quoth the Raven…
This deeply engaging story explores the connections between Beck Weathers' psyche and the almost superhuman demands of Seven-Summit mountaineering while painting a portrait of the profound effects it has left on his family. We learn how the unique challenges of summiting the continents' tallest, most foreboding peaks can threaten life and limb, and Weathers takes us along as he faces the unimaginable stressors of uncertain terrain and fierce weather conditions.
A delightful surprise: The author punctuates this riveting account of his unimaginably horrific ordeal with his unusual gift of humor. I have but one recommendation for the reader: Savor this account slowly, and like me, you might be eager to reread it!