EVEREST, THE HARD WAY by Chris Bonington


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The hard way up Everest is the steep, towering, unclimbable South West Face which has a 1000-foot band of bare rock and defied six expeditions. Until Bonlngton's 1975 crew attacked the Face, all others had been sidetracked at the last minute and taken one of the less difficult ridges. Even his 1972 group was turned back by monsoon weather. The success of the latest team seems to have been a surmounting of giant egos as well as impossible difficulties--but for all, including the reader, there are some walloping moments of undiluted joy, particularly when the first two team members straddle the small topmost ridge and take in the incredible sights--Everest's purple 200-mile shadow, black storm clouds rolling far below. (Think of sitting on a rock five miles straight up.) Just as spellbinding are the hallucinations (?): an utter stranger watching a climber on the peak from a few feet away; the mind dividing in three, one part a guiding voice outside the climber; and similar psychic events. The elation of success is offset by the tragic loss of the expedition's cameraman, who gets lost in a sudden mist and is never seen again. Stripped, raw storytelling, with some humor; 125 pages of appendices about equipment.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1977
Publisher: Random House