Everest : Mountain Without Mercy

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9780792270140: Everest : Mountain Without Mercy

David Breashears, the first American to scale Everest twice, was a veteran of nine previous Himalayan filmmaking expeditions when he agreed to lead what became his most challenging filmmaking experience. The expedition was organized by large-format motion picture producer MacGillivray Freeman Films and was comprised of an international team of climbers. Their goal was to carry a specially modified 48-pound IMAX motion picture camera to the summit of Everest and return from the top of the world with the first footage ever shot there in this spectacular format. A stunningly illustrated portrait of life and death in a hostile, high-altitude environment where no human can survive for long, Everest invites you to join Breashears, his climbers, and his crew as they make photographic history. Author Broughton Coburn traces each step of the team's progress toward a rendezvous with history - and suddenly you're on the scene of a disaster that riveted the world's attention. Everest incorporates a first-person, on-the-scene account of the most tragic event in the mountain's history: The May 10, 1996, blizzard that claimed eight lives, including two of the world's top climbing expedition leaders. It is a chronicle of the courage and cooperation that resulted in the rescue of several men and women who were trapped on the lethal, windswept slopes. Everest is also a tale of triumph. In a struggle to overcome both the physical and emotional effects of the disaster on Everest, Breashears and his team rise to the challenge of achieving their goal - humbled by the mountain's overwhelming power, yet exhilarated by their own accomplishment.

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Review:

When David Breashears agreed to climb Mount Everest with an IMAX camera in order to film from the summit, he had no idea that his little expedition would become embroiled in a tragedy that would make headlines around the world. On May 10, 1996, two expeditions led by experienced Everest guides Rob Hall and Scott Fisher summited the mountain, only to suffer the loss of eight members--including the two leaders--on the way back down. At the time, Breashears and his filmmaking crew were at the base camp preparing for their own climb--originally planned for that same day but postponed after realizing there would already be several other groups on the summit. Instead of making a film, Breashears and company participated in the rescue and only later reached the summit of Everest to successfully complete their film.

Broughton Coburn, a long-time resident of Nepal and a friend of David Breashears, was commissioned to write a book about the filmmaking expedition, the tragedy on Everest, and the mountain itself. He has more than succeeded with Everest: Mountain Without Mercy, a taut recounting of disaster and triumph at 29,000 feet. But this book is about more than just mountain climbing; Coburn has also included fascinating information about Nepal, Buddhism, and the Sherpa culture, as well as the history of climbing Everest. He covers everything from the causes of altitude sickness to Nepal's increasing problems with deforestation, and through it all he weaves the story of that day in May when Everest again proved unpredictable--and deadly. For a white-knuckle climb to the top of the world's highest mountain, complete with stunning photographs, you can't do better than Everest: Mountain Without Mercy.

About the Author:

Broughton Coburn is a writer, lecturer, and college instructor who specializes in crafting narratives of the people and landscape of the Himalayas. He has authored a young adult photobiography of Sir Edmund Hillary, Triumph on Everest; collaborated with Jamling Tenzing Norgay on his autobiography, Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest; and written The Vast Unknown, which explores the first American ascent of Everest and its aftermath.

Tim Cahill is a founding editor and the editor at large of Outside magazine. A successful travel writer, he is the author of numerous books, including Buried Dreams: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer, Hold the Enlightenment, and Pass the Butterworms: Remote Journeys Oddly Rendered. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, National Geographic Adventure, and other publications. Cahill lives in Livingston, Montana.

David Breashears is a mountaineer, filmmaker, author, and professional speaker who has made more than 40 movies. He shot Everest, the first IMAX production ever filmed on the world's highest mountain, during the historically tragic season of 1996. Breashears has summited there five times and continues to photograph the Himalayas.

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