The author writes about his passion for mountain climbing and those individuals whose lives have helped to shape the sport. From Mount McKinley (Denali) in Alaska to Mont Blanc and the Eiger in the Alps to Mount Everest in the mighty Himalayas Krakauer has been there demonstrating that no climb is too dangerous or difficult for these daring, ambitious, and slightly crazed hobbyists. Impassioned by the thrill of testing their resourcefulness against the forces of nature and the shear rush of putting ones self at deaths door while suspended by a thin rope 2,000 feet above the ground the reasons for climbing and risking all are as varied as the participant.
Facing bitter cold temperatures, gale force winds, avalanches of unstable snow, ice and rock, oxygen deprivation, and equipment failure this is not a pastime for the faint of heart. Advances in equipment and siege type climbing tactics have allowed a wider audience to participate but it has come at a high price with more casualties in recent decades than in the entire 200 plus year history of sport climbing. Krakauer describes his own climbing adventures, the equipment designers, the Alaskan bush pilots, and the gruesome death toll that the mountains exact.
The review of this Book prepared by David Fletcher