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Within Reach: My Everest Story by Mark…

Within Reach: My Everest Story

by Mark Pfetzer

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This guy starting climbing some serious mountains when he was only thirteen years old. He was the youngest to summit Mount Pisco and Huascaran in Peru at fourteen, summited Aconcagua in Argentina when he was fifteen then went on to climb Everest, summit Mount Rainier and Ama Dablam in Nepal the same year and returned to Everest and tackled Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was sixteen. And those aren't the only climbs he did. It's a pretty amazing thing.

And a very engaging book to read, like it's pulled straight out of his journal. Snippets of this and that, first impressions, little stories about other people he's met, glimpses of his family and most of all the climbing. Why he does it. His motivation, his meticulous preparations, his focus on safety and physical conditioning, the necessity of finding sponsors and how he got people to back him. All the time and effort that go into preparing for each climb. Once again I was reminded of the sheer mass of everything - distance travelled, heaps of gear, collection of people supporting or coaching or carrying stuff for others, the back and forth up the mountainside to acclimate, the huge force of it all for one last push to get just a few people to the top. And the many who don't make it. Very sobering. I can understand the thrill and drive that makes people climb mountains like Mark did, but I would never ever do it myself.

He made it very clear that it was his desire to climb mountains, that his parents only let him go because he prepared so strictly, that he studied a lot on the road and in camps to keeping up with his schooling. That it was his will and hard work that got him there. I found quite interesting his ideas on what advantages young climbers might have over older climbers who carried more experience, and also the different view of things when near the end of the book Mark was acting as a guide and support to a wealthy family who paid someone to get them up a mountain, instead of working hard to prepare themselves. In the book Mark often mentions his dreams to become a medical doctor, but it seems he is now an inspirational speaker.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Aug 5, 2014 |
The intent of "Within Reach" is to provide inspiration to set and seek goals in life. Although I did find this book inspirational, I was impressed how Mark Pfetzer repeatedly acknowledged people in his experiences as a mountain climber. What also impressed me was his attitude about the Sherpas (and other indigenous groups who profit from expeditions). He did not see them as servants, but as people worhty of respect and admiration. That is what I admire in good literature. ( )
  smg626 | Mar 27, 2008 |
I was a big fan of Into Thin Air and this happens at the same time as that story. The story is mostly an autobiography of a 16-year-old who attempts the Everest summit. Great for anyone who likes outdoor sports and adventure! ( )
  kpickett | Jan 7, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141304979, Paperback)

Although Within Reach is targeted at young adults and written in a young man's voice, the writing (by coauthor Galvin) is engaging, and the story is rewarding enough to interest any mountaineer.

Pfetzer, 18 at the time of publication, describes his summits of a number of peaks worthy of a climber twice his age, including Huascar√°n, Aconcagua, Ama Dablam, Kilimanjaro, and Cho Oyu. He tells at length of his two expeditions to Everest, where he reached 25,000 feet from Tibet and 26,000 feet from Nepal. Purists may sneer, as all these climbs were commercial, guided expeditions--but heck, the kid was only 14 or 15; how else would he get there? And, though a paying client, he was unusually well prepared: a karate black belt (at age 11), courses in NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and high-angle rescue, full EMT (emergency medical technician) training (even though he was too young to be licensed), in addition to being in top physical condition, which he rigorously maintained.

Pfetzer has regularly sought out older, more experienced mountaineers as mentors--somewhat rare for a teenager--and thanks them publicly for their teaching and wisdom. His love of climbing and determination to succeed are inspirational for all ages. --Donna DeShazo

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

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The author describes how he spent his teenage years climbing mountains in the United States, South America, Africa, and Asia, with an emphasis on his two expeditions up Mount Everest.

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