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Publisher's Summary

In early May 2006, a young British climber named David Sharp lay dying near the top of Mount Everest while forty other climbers walked past him on their way to the summit. A week later, Lincoln Hall, a seasoned Australian climber, was left for dead near the same spot. Hall's death was reported around the world, but the next day he was found alive after spending the night on the upper mountain with no food and no shelter. If David Sharp's death was shocking, it was not singular: despite unusually good weather, ten others died attempting to reach the summit that year.
In this meticulous inquiry into what went wrong, Nick Heil tells the full story of the deadliest year on Everest since the infamous season of 1996. He introduces Russell Brice, the outfitter who has done more than anyone to provide access to the summit via the mountain's north side---and who some believe was partially responsible for Sharp's death. As more climbers attempt the summit each year, Heil shows how increasingly risky expeditions and unscrupulous outfitters threaten to turn Everest into a deadly circus.
Written by an experienced climber and outdoor writer, Dark Summit is both a riveting account of a notorious climbing season and a troubling investigation into whether the pursuit of the ultimate mountaineering prize has spiraled out of control.
©2008 Nick Heil (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Here is humanity itself, personified in exemplary fashion by Nick Heil, addressing the Everest culture's lack of compassion and coming up with the right answers." (Bob Shacochis, author of The Immaculate Invasion)Through rock-solid reporting and vital prose, Heil leads us up into this rarefied world, step by hypoxic step." (Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Don Lance on 05-30-09

Good summary of the 2006 season

I liked this book, and thought it to be a good summary of the issues & controversies of the 2006 Everest expeditions. The author does a good job of helping you to understand the challenges that climbers face, and the growing problem that commercialization is creating -- that is, drawing people who have the money to attend an expedition but not the training, experience and mindset of what is needed to conquer Everest. It seems that Everest is drawing unqualified people for the purpose of achieving a personal goal, having "bragging rights" or ego. And although many train for months to develop the physical stamina, the lack of experience -- and also common sense due to the high altitude -- is sometimes fatal.

In the end, the author helps you to understand the perspectives of the clients and the expeditions leaders. And then there's the mountain itself. Make no mistake, it's not a game or fun recreational activity. Anyone who travels to Everest should consider the very real possibility that you may not return, no matter how well you think you are prepared.

Note that there is some language in a few places throughout the work. It's not excessive, but be prepared for it.

Also, I thought the narrator did a good job as well.

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22 of 23 people found this review helpful

By David on 11-01-10

Best recounting of the 2006 Everest season

After reading Jon Krakauer's classic account of the 1996 Everest climbing season, I was hooked on all things Everest.

After watching both seasons of Everest: Beyond the Limit, I wanted a book that would explore the tragedies of the 2006 season and I found it in Dark Summit.

The book is well-written and evenhanded; it gives coverage to ExplorersWeb and Russell Brice's point of view.

Someone looking for a straightforward recounting of this tragic season should seriously consider this book.

The narration by David Drummond is spot-on perfect. Great voice, great timing and consistent accents give voice to all the major players in the book.

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By sT cW on 01-28-18

Thoroughly enjoyed

enjoyed this book and find it even more compelling than any other book about the giants. narrator very good, easy listening, but could have done this without trying to imitate other accents.

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By Winston on 01-08-18


What a throughly enthralling book. I was glued to my headphones from start to finish. Nicely narrated, and written with a clear insight into the subject.

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