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HIDDEN MOUNTAINS by Michael Wejchert


Survival and Reckoning After a Climb Gone Wrong

by Michael Wejchert

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 2023
ISBN: 978-0-06-308552-7
Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

A gripping account of a disastrous climbing trip gone wrong and the harrowing rescue attempt that followed.

In June 2018, two couples decided to go on the most ambitious climbing adventure of their lives, traveling to “the far western end of the Alaska Range” to tackle the Hidden Mountains, which Wejchert describes as “thin needles of rock capping a wild landscape.” All of the adventurers were experienced technical climbers and alpinists, spending years summiting intense peaks, engaging in some of the most challenging climbs in the world. What made this trip different was that for the first time, they would head into unknown territory and attempt to claim a first ascent in the Hidden Mountains, “a phalanx of peaks so remote they had no names or history.” The Hidden Mountains take days, even weeks, to reach via charter planes and laborious hiking, through snowstorms and clouds of mosquitoes. The climbers’ difficulties began early on: Bushwhacking through unforgiving alder trees while grizzly bears looked on, they realized the peak they had originally planned on attempting—the one they spent months meticulously researching and planning for—was too far away. Because they were weighed down with hundreds of pounds of gear, every mile took them three trips to carry the packs in manageable loads. They would have to climb a closer, unknown peak—a choice that would come to haunt them. Narrated with an intensity that grabs readers from the start, the ascent began with courageously difficult climbing and a sense of adventure. The true bravery, however, came in the aftermath of the tragic accident that forever changed their lives. The determination, strength, and courage of the four climbers and the rescue team are impressive, and the narrative is moving in its portrayal of “bits of humanity enveloped in wilderness and quiet.”

A hard-to-put-down tale of tenacity, bravery, and friendship in the face of staggering odds.