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The Other Side of Everest

Climbing the North Face Through the Killer Storm

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


May 1996 began like most other climbing seasons on Mount Everest. The arrival of spring brought the usual pre-monsoon period, with teams of hopeful mountaineers ready to reach for the roof of the world. Among the dozens of climbers were Jon Krakauer and Anatoli Boukreev (who would both later write their own accounts of what followed) and Matt Dickinson. But on May 10, with ten different expeditions strung out along the mountain, the usual turned deadly. Suddenly, the temperature dropped from merely frigid to 40 degrees below zero. A killer storm with howling winds swept in and climbers were soon blinded in white-out conditions. Before it was over, the blizzard would claim a dozen lives, the worst loss of life in the modern history of climbing on Everest.

Dickinson, an adventure filmmaker, was part of an expedition challenging the treacherous North Face of Everest, on the Tibetan side. Of the nearly 700 people who have scaled Everest since the first ascent in 1953, barely 230 have managed to ascend via the colder and technically more difficult route up the North Face. In addition to climbing through the storm, which would test him beyond his imagining, Dickinson also filmed the ascent. He and his team watched in awe as violent clouds gathered over the mountain and swept them all up in a frightening white force. Dickinson was a relative novice who had never climbed at this crushing altitude, and the storm preyed on his mind, throwing into question his entire mission. Despite this uncertainty and the treacherous conditions, Dickinson and his partner Alan Hinkes continued their climb, compelled to reach the summit.

Dickinson's first-person narrative--the only account of the killer storm written by a climber who was on the North Face--places the reader amid the swirl of the catastrophe, while providing rare insight into the very essence of mountaineering. The Other Side of Everest is a portrait of personal triumph set against the most disastrous storm to ever befall the world mountaineering community. Anyone who has ever pushed beyond familiar limits of physical and psychological endurance will cherish this book.  

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

29 March 1999 – Although Dickinson's work follows in the tracks of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Anatoli Boukreev's The Climb, it is anything but a "me too" book about climbing Mt. Everest during the spring of 1996, when a storm killed eight climbers. Dickinson has his own story to tell, and he tells it very well. A filmmaker by trade, he was hired by a British production company to film an attempt to scale Everest from the North Face (as opposed to the southern route taken by Krakauer and Boukreev). Dickinson's party--which was led by guides from an outfit called Himalayan Kingdoms and included British actor Brian Blessed--arrived at Everest in the first week in April. Dickinson recounts how his team heard about the tragedy that was unfolding on the south side, as well as how word filtered down the mountain that three Indian climbers had been lost on the North Face. It wasn't until May 15 that the Himalayan Kingdoms team set out for the summit, but it quickly became apparent that Blessed would never finish the climb, forcing Dickinson to change the focus of his film from the actor to his cameraman. After several harrowing hours, the two men reached the summit, and Dickinson, who had not originally intended to go above base camp, had his 47-minute documentary, Summit Fever. If Dickinson doesn't write with the haunted urgency of Krakauer, that's because he isn't trying to exorcise any ghosts. Nor is he intent, as Boukreev was, on rebutting Krakauer. "I am not an authority on mountaineering," he writes, but his descriptions of climbing are careful and informative, taking nothing for granted. His forceful narrative makes a worthy addition to the growing Everest library. Author tour.
The Other Side of Everest
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  • 7,49 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Mountaineering
  • Published: 20 April 1999
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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