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SEVEN SUMMITS by Dick; Frank Wells with Rick Ridgeway Bass



Pub Date: April 30th, 1986
ISBN: 0446385166
Publisher: Warner

A travelogue with a twist--the twist being a Deliverance-type tale of two 50-ish businessmen who band together to pursue a dream of climbing to the tops of the highest peaks in each of the seven continents. Bass, an oil tycoon and ski-lodge owner, by accident learns that Wells, president of Warner Brothers Pictures, shares his dream, therein setting into motion seven daring climbs--of Aconcagua in South America, McKinley in North America, Elbrus in Europe, Everest (which took them three attempts), Kosciusko in Australia, Kilimanjaro, and Vinson Massif in Antarctica. What lends uniqueness to their tale is that neither of them is anywhere near a world-class climber--Wells, in fact, continually seems something of a klutz, who comes dose on several occasions to sliding over icy cliffs to his death. (His wife actually issues an ultimatum, after the second Everest attempt, that if he tries Everest again, she and their children will be gone upon his return.) Another tension is added to the story by the fact that, unbeknownst to them, a lone climber, Pat Morrow, is also attempting the same feat. Morrow, in fact, would have beaten them to it had his plane not been damaged by ice on the way to Antarctica. But Bass and Wells persisted and, after attempting Everest for the third time, finally succeeded (minus Wells, who acceded to his wife's plea). Bass and Wells meet many of the great fraternity of climbers along the way, among them Peter Bonington and Yuichiro Muira (The Man Who Skied Down Everest), and forge strong friendships such as with their early guide, Marry Hoey, who tragically died in a fall on the North Face of Everest in their first attempt. An exciting story, as much for their conquering the eighth summit--themselves--as for the other seven.