Is there anything more lovely than a Saturday morning spent leisurely with coffee, toast, and a buddy read book about crazy people climbing mountains in the freezing cold?
Not much, I think. Not much.
I'm really enjoying Boukreev's book so far.
Things that have caught my attention so far:
- The book actually starts with a narrative about the Sherpas, about important they are, how at the time of the book's narrative...
"By 1996, in the seventy-five years that had passed since the first attempt was made on its summit in 1921, more than 140 climbers had died on Mount Everest. Almost 40 percent of those fatalities had been Sherpas."
That is a lot of risk for a reward of (at the time of writing) between US$ 2.50 and US$ 50 per day.
- That the book pays tribute to the international diversity of the climbing community and the achievements of mountaineers from various expeditions.
- That Boukreev does not have it all figured out and knows that he's lucky a lot of the time. Somehow he seems a lot more personable than quite a few of the other climbers I have read about in the past.
- That I think this is the first book I have read that shows the stress that the aspiring mountain entrepreneur, Scott Fischer, put himself through to uphold the image of a hero that he had been stamped with by the public. It's hinted at in the book that this had its toll on Fischer's physical and mental health. Even as a hint, the discussion of stress and exhaustion from anything but the efforts of climbing itself is not something that seemed to have come up much in the other books, except in connection with bullying experienced by some of the women climbers.
- The background given about the 1996 expedition is extensive and gives a really good picture of the characters involved so far. It's mind-boggling how little Everest experience most of the guides and climbers had.
- "He who shall not be named" has only been mentioned once so far, and that was in connection with how he got to be on the mountain in 1996.