Forever on the Mountain

  • by James Tabor
  • Narrated by Scott Brick
  • 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1967, an Arctic hurricane trapped seven veteran climbers, members of Joe Wilcox's 12-man expedition, at 20,000 feet on Alaska's Mount McKinley. Ten days passed while the storm raged. Despite the availability of massive resources, no rescue was mounted, and all seven men died. The tragedy was one of the most controversial, bitterly contested, and mysterious tragedies in all of mountaineering history.No bodies were ever recovered. No cameras, diaries, or films shed light on the climbers' final agonizing days. Yet agenda-driven critics and officials fearing lawsuits pronounced self-serving verdicts. Further obscuring the truth, two prominent expedition members offered conflicting versions of the catastrophe.
Through interviews with those involved, unpublished correspondence and diaries, and sensitive government documents, James M. Tabor uncovered an array of new information: a feud with the expedition leader, Joe Wilcox; a stillborn rescue operation thwarted by the Park Service bureaucracy; and the heroic efforts made by other civilian climbers. To interpret the details, he consulted experts in disciplines as diverse as forensics, meteorology, and psychology.
In the end, Tabor has pieced together for the first time the complete, untold story of this expedition, whose victims and survivors both remain, in many ways, forever on the mountain.


What the Critics Say

"An often gripping, detailed account." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Tabor pulled it off!

I hesitated a long time before pulling the trigger on this title. While I am a not a mountain climber I am a fan of classics on the topic such as Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." So I was interested in this book.

What had me worried was the fact that the book was based on second-hand accounts as no personal effects of any of the victims of the tragedy were recovered. More significantly, the tragedy happened over 40 years ago so the recollections and records of those involved can be expected to be further compromised. Finally several books and articles have been written about this event and I wondered what more this book could offer.

I just finished listening to the book and I can say that despite these challenges, the author met the objectives which he spelled out in the introduction. Mainly to objectively examine all the facts related to the incident to better understand excatly what happened and perhaps to better understand why.

I enjoyed the book for several reasons:
1. As always, Scott Brick's narration is excellent.
2. The author is a mountain climber and does a masterful job of filling in gaps in information and in describing what conditions on the mountain would have been like.
3. Reference to scientific and medical information related to leadership, team dynamics and high altitude physiology make what otherwise could have been a dry repetition of times and events enganging.
4. The author did an excellent job of summarizing a large amount of information, making it interesting and in the end helping the listener understand what happened on that fateful July in 1967.

A good listen for fans of mountaineering or real life drama stories.

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- Art

Now I'm Hooked ...

I really enjoyed this book by James Tabor, and was sorry to have it end. Scott Brick is easy to listen to and never over-dramatizes an already emotional story. I especially love the survivor interview section and the Further Reading suggestions. I know what I will be reading for the next few weeks.
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- The Whole Truth

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-06-2007
  • Publisher: Books on Tape