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Climbing High: A Woman's Account of…

Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy

by Lene Gammelgaard

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This author likes to use exclamation marks! Her exclamatory, staccato, present tense writing, clumsily translated from the Danish and suffused with categorical spiritual and psychological pronouncements, make her account somewhat trying to read. The good news is that it is a quick read, with lots of double spacing between exclamation marks. There is also a level of self-involvement that make it feel claustrophobic - Gammelgaard is not one to situate anything in a context that goes beyond the purely personal. For more readable and informative accounts of modern day Everest expeditions one can do much better (e.g. Dark Summit, Into Thin Air, The Climb), but if one is particularly interested in the 1996 spring Everest expeditions that garnered so much attention, Gammelgaard's Climbing High is worth reading to get a different, if very narrow, perspective. ( )
  maritimer | Jan 22, 2012 |
If you've read [Into Thin Air] you must read this book. The other side of the story. ( )
  cjoats | Aug 21, 2008 |
I was so looking forward to reading this book. I wanted to read about a woman's experience on Everest, particularly during the 1996 season so well written about by others (particularly Krakauer). How disappointed and let down can one be!
I agree with the climber below (Gabrielle). I have never, not never will climb mountains, but I founbd this to be self-indulgent and full of new age psycho-babble.

I found her atttitude towards others patronising, especially in an excrutiating couple of exchanges with Boukreev....one where she offers the "poor boy" from Kazakhstan rolls of film, beciuse she is so liberally endowed by her sponsors.

In fact the whole book read like one written to satisfy some sponsorship deal. It was lazily written - much barely edited journal writings.

Didn't add anything to my knowledge of or voracious interest in Everest and other high peaks, and doesn't capture the "women's experience" as well as, for example, Arlene Blum in "Annapurna".

Am still searching for something terrific by a woman climber on Everest! ( )
2 vote saliero | Jun 24, 2007 |
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I had learned to take on the responsibility of great difficulties, and to remain true to myself at all times

  -- Reinhold Messner, Free Spirit
For the children all over the world who have lost a parent to the mountains
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In the spring of 1996 I climbed Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, becoming the first Scandinavian woman ever to stand on top. (Foreword)
Summer 1991, Nepal.

The unspoiled, the unknown was what I sought when the gypsy and the adventurer in me needed to break out of the limitations of ordinary living. (Prologue)
Summer 1995

It's early morning on the Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060953616, Paperback)

In May 1996, Lene Gammelgaard became the first Scandinavian woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest. The next day she made history again by surviving the mountain's deadliest disaster. The catastrophic blizzard that killed eight climbers, including Gammelgaard's friend and expedition leader Scott Fischer, spurred controversy over the commercialization of Everest, and has been exhaustively chronicled in accounts such as Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air.

Fortunately, Climbing High offers an original, insightful view of the tragedy and steers clear of the need to explain what went wrong: "You cannot expect anyone to help you ... up there. Your fate is in your own hands, your own two feet." Gammelgaard kept journals throughout the expedition, and her account stays true to this form: short, intense, and subjective entries on the pressures of financing the climb, the fierce physical and psychological challenges women face in extreme sports, and the tricky cluster of personalities that can make or break a summit bid. Yes, there are gripping moments, such as the desperate night she and seven others spent exposed in the storm above 20,000 feet, but Gammelgaard is at her best when providing insights into what drives people to risk--and sometimes lose--their lives. --Svenja Soldovieri

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:59 -0400)

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This biographical account of the author's climb of Mount Everest includes her training prior to the climb, the harrowing conditions endured on the trek, and the relationships that formed along the way.

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