Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy

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9780606186834: Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy

On May 10, 1996, the Danish author became the first Scandinavian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and, also, a survivor of the Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition that claimed eight lives. This account includes b&w photos of the climbers and the base camp, and a glossary of mountaineering terms.

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Review:

In May 1996, Lene Gammelgaard became the first Scandinavian woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest. The next day she made history again by surviving the mountain's deadliest disaster. The catastrophic blizzard that killed eight climbers, including Gammelgaard's friend and expedition leader Scott Fischer, spurred controversy over the commercialization of Everest, and has been exhaustively chronicled in accounts such as Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air.

Fortunately, Climbing High offers an original, insightful view of the tragedy and steers clear of the need to explain what went wrong: "You cannot expect anyone to help you ... up there. Your fate is in your own hands, your own two feet." Gammelgaard kept journals throughout the expedition, and her account stays true to this form: short, intense, and subjective entries on the pressures of financing the climb, the fierce physical and psychological challenges women face in extreme sports, and the tricky cluster of personalities that can make or break a summit bid. Yes, there are gripping moments, such as the desperate night she and seven others spent exposed in the storm above 20,000 feet, but Gammelgaard is at her best when providing insights into what drives people to risk--and sometimes lose--their lives. --Svenja Soldovieri

From the Back Cover:

ONE WOMAN'S POWERFUL AND INSPIRING ACCOUNT OF COURAGE AND SURVIVAL IN THE FACE OF THE 1996 EVEREST DISASTER

On May 10, 1996, Lene Gammelgaard became the first Scandinavian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. But a raging storm and human error conspired to turn triumph into catastrophe. Eight of her team's climbers, including its renowned leader Scott Fischer, perished in a tragedy that would make headlines around the world. In her riveting account, Gammelgaard takes us from her weeks of determined training to the exhilaration of arriving in Nepal to the arduous climb and deadly storm that forced her and her fellow climbers to huddle throughout the night, hoping to stay alive. Gammelgaard also writes movingly of Everest's awesome beauty; of the passion and commitment required to face the daunting challenge of climbing to high altitudes; and of the complex personal relationships forged in the pursuit of such dangerous ventures. Arlene Blum, author of the classic account of women and mountaineering, Annapurna: A Woman's Place, calls Climbing High "an honest and deeply personal account".

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