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Mountain Madness by Robert Birkby
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Mountain Madness

by Robert Birkby

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I started this book with the assumption that I would mainly skim read until I got to the part about Everest and 1996; however, to Birkby’s credit, I found it a lot more engaging than I thought it was going to be. Birkby describes Fischer’s early introduction to mountains via an outdoor survival course, in which he was involved for many years, progressing to be an instructor. Birkby describes how this offered him valuable experience, and set him on his way to creating his climbing company: Mountain Madness. Birkby was a friend of Fischer’s and he has collected together the thoughts and feelings of others who knew him, and put them all together as a fitting description of Fischer’s life and ambitions. While I was reading it, it still felt that all the events described were leading up to the year in which Scott Fischer died on Everest; however, this is probably because I knew what was coming. Considering the number of books written about that season on Everest, and the controversy which surrounded it, the 1996 chapter is relatively brief and Birkby is quite reasonable in his comments. In addition, the fact that he is Fischer’s friend does not stop him from throwing the odd piece of criticism Fischer’s way if he feels it is deserved, which surprised and impressed me. I had thought that the 1996 chapter would be a lot longer, but perhaps it is more fitting that the bulk of the book is dedicated to Fischer’s life, rather than how he died. ( )
  Tselja | Sep 19, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0806528753, Hardcover)

"You're either cruisin' or you're bummin', so you might as well cruise."--Scott Fischer

Mountain climber Scott Fischer's mantra would lead him to scale the highest and most treacherous peaks on earth. Best known as one of the guides who perished near the summit of Mount Everest during the tragic spring of 1996, Scott Fischer became for many an iconic symbol of audacity, hubris, and the limits of human endurance. But to those who knew him well, Scott was much more than an action figure at the heart of a modern-day cautionary tale. Now in this vivid, candid biography, Robert Birkby--one of Scott's close friends--gives us a fascinating, in-depth portrait of who Scott Fischer really was and what led him to the top of the world.

As a teenage athlete growing up in New Jersey, Scott felt a restless drive to reach beyond the limits of his suburban environment. He discovered the freedom he sought during summers in the rugged mountains of Wyoming. A natural mountaineer blessed with tremendous physical strength and willpower, Scott thrived on the challenges of climbing, the beauty of the high country, and the like-minded people he found there. With the creation of a guide service he called Mountain Madness, Scott meshed his need to climb with his joy in sharing with others the lofty, rarified realms he had made his own.

In adrenaline-filled narratives that take us to the world's tallest places, Robert Birkby traces the expeditions that made Scott one of the most respected climbers of the close-knit mountaineering community. From Alaska to the Soviet Union, from the granite walls of Yosemite to the punishing storms of the Himalayas, Scott's achievements are hair-raising, inspiring, and always exhilarating--a relentless quest for new highs that builds inexorably to the rendezvous with disaster on Everest.

Scott's life was a journey filled with adventures, deep friendships, and dramatic successes and failures in the obscure reaches of some of the world's most beautiful and dangerous places. A captivating homage to a man who eagerly went where few dare to go, Mountain Madness is an extraordinary account of courage, passion, and extreme living.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:48 -0400)

Best known as one of the guides who perished on Mount Everest during the tragic spring of 1996, Scott Fischer became for many a symbol of audacity, hubris, and the limits of human endurance. But to those who knew him well, Scott was much more than an action figure in a modern-day cautionary tale. Now, a close friend tells who Scott Fischer really was and what led him to the top of the world. Scott thrived on the challenges of climbing, the beauty of the high country, and the like-minded people he found there. His guide service meshed his need to climb with his joy in sharing the lofty, rarified realms with others. Birkby traces Scott's expeditions from the granite walls of Yosemite to Alaska to the punishing storms of the Himalayas--a relentless quest for new highs that builds inexorably to the rendezvous with disaster on Everest.--From publisher description.… (more)

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