At 8:00 a.m. on May 29, 1999, Cathy O'Dowd, a 30-year-old mountaineer from South Africa, stepped onto the summit of Everest and into history. She had become the first woman to climb the highest mountain in the world from both its south (Edmund Hillary) and north (George Mallory) sides. To achieve this, Cathy has had to face the ultimate risks of Everest.
During her first ascent from the south in 1996, she and her team were trapped in the killer storm described in Jon Krakauer's best seller Into Thin Air. They finally reached the summit, only to have the thrill of success snatched away when a team member disappeared on the descent. In 1998, Cathy, attempting the north side of Everest, stopped only a few hundred meters from the summit to try and help a dying American climber. The woman's first words were "don't leave me". Yet Cathy eventually had to leave her to save her own life.
Now Cathy has captured the drama of her Everest climbs, her passion for the challenge of climbing mountains, and her love for wild places in this story of her four attempts on the mountain. Cathy tries to answer the question of why, if climbing Everest can be so dangerous, people still want to do it.
This is a book of challenge, adventure, love, and life and death. This is about Everest, the world's highest mountain, climbed "just for the love of it".
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Strong story, even better storytelling
If you love adventure books, you will love it
I liked Cathy O'Dowd's honesty about her perceptions, even when she was grumpy or angry, she was honest about it. I've never mountain climbed but I can imagine it's not all sunshine and roses, there are many challenges and it would take a toll. I very much enjoyed hearing a woman's story. I love books about Everest and K-2 but so few are written by women. She also tells her perception from a completely different vantage point about the 1996 Everest disaster. I've been fascinated by these events and based upon the extreme conditions and effect on one's cognitive abilities, what really happened remains a mystery. For those of us who have never climbed a mountain, it's truly hard to envision the conditions and how someone can be healthy and energetic at the peak and die a short time later. She does a good job of telling what she knows about this and helping the listener to understand the extreme conditions. It was exciting and I loved listening on my long runs or commute to work.
I love that the author was a woman, there are not many extreme adventure books written by women and it offers a completely different perspective.
The moment that I knew she was going to lose someone in her group and what she was going through.
If you love books about extreme mountain climbing, this is a good one. Not only does she talk about the 1996 Everest disaster but that is only a small part of the book. She goes on to talk about other climbs, both successful and unsuccessful where they had to turn back.