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After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy - One Survivor's Story

After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy - One Survivor's Story

5.0 2
by Lou Kasischke

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Near the top of Mount Everest, on 10 May 1996, eight climbers died. It was the worst tragedy in the mountain's history. Lou Kasischke was there. Now he tells the harrowing story of what went wrong, as it has never been told before - including why the climbers were desperately late and out of time. His personal story, captured in the title AFTER THE WIND, tells about


Near the top of Mount Everest, on 10 May 1996, eight climbers died. It was the worst tragedy in the mountain's history. Lou Kasischke was there. Now he tells the harrowing story of what went wrong, as it has never been told before - including why the climbers were desperately late and out of time. His personal story, captured in the title AFTER THE WIND, tells about the intense moments near the top. These moments also revealed the love story that saved his life.

In the spring of 1996, Lou Kasischke joined renowned climber Rob Hall's Mount Everest expedition. When he said goodbye to his wife, Sandy, he knew he faced major physical and mental challenges against rock, snow, ice, avalanches, and extreme high altitude to climb the highest mountain in the world.

What Lou didn't know was that he also stood at the threshold of a living hell. Six weeks later near the top, things went wrong. Lou and his fellow climbers faced a challenge even greater than the mountain - the internal struggle about what to do when you are close but out of time. There were no second chances. Decisions were made. Some lived. Some died. It was the worst tragedy in Mount Everest history.

Lou wrote his account of the events 16 years ago in the aftermath of the tragedy, but only now is he ready to let it go. He tells two stories. One is about the historic events. His perspective and analysis about what happened and what went wrong have never been told, and his account differs markedly from what others have written. The truth in the story depends on who is telling it.

Lou also tells a very personal story about how he came back home. An inspiring story about where to go for inner strength when facing a tough decision. A story about his wife Sandy's part in his survival. A story about what he heard, after the wind - the voice of the heart. A love story.

Editorial Reviews

New Orleans Review
Kasischke chronicles the events not only to recover some truth from the sensationalism surrounding that fateful day, but also to share a deeply personal story of the enduring power of love. ... Kasischke attributes his survival to the promises he made to 'live a story he can tell,' and 'come back home' .... After The Wind is decidedly genuine in the construction ... and Kasischke presents his story humbly as one man's experience of a horrific day
The US Review of Books
This riveting book examines what went wrong before and during the expedition ... including a series of ill-advised decisions just below the summit .... Kasischke also examines what holds true when all else fails, when survival is no longer likely. He offers a fascinatingly personal look at what he believes saved him. Ultimately, this is a survival story about love —of mountaineering, of God, and of the deep and abiding bond between a husband and wife.
New York Book Festival
Kasischke offers a unique perspective ... the voice of experience. Kasischke's perspective and analysis of what happened ... may shock those who have relied on Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, as the most accurate account of what happened .... Readers will be drawn into this thrilling book, which combines the author's obvious expertise with a page-turning style and a knack for vivid descriptions. You'll feel like you are there with him in a tent that's barely holding together in a raging storm at 26,000 feet, and you'll perhaps get a glimpse of what courage and fortitude means in a life or death situation ... Readers will truly understand the hard choices that were faced on Everest.
BlueInk reviews
Kasischke's book follows his real-life dance with death .... It is a thrilling tale of danger, courage, and love. With beautiful illustrations and thoughtful descriptions, the book is a loving ode to his wife Sandy and to his passion for climbing.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-07-09
In 1996, the worst disaster in recorded Mt. Everest climbing history occurred when, due to a combination of factors, eight people died on a single expedition. This memoir is Kasischke's personal account of how he survived.Hours before the tragedy, Kasischke's reservations about the expedition were mounting. Too many people were climbing the mountain at once, and despite some unnecessary delays, the leader, Rob Hall, had continued to lead the climb, although the team wouldn't be able to reach the top and return down before nightfall—a decision so poor that Kasischke and others blame it for the climbers' deaths rather than the treacherous storm they faced that night. Kasischke is alive to tell his tale because he chose to turn around at a critical juncture, and he admits that he shouldn't have even gone that far. He was trapped for days once the storm hit. The author dramatically recounts being frozen, dehydrated and snow blind and says that he relied on his love for his wife and his faith to get him through. It seems that Kasischke has chosen to relive this nightmare in order to come to grips with it and to honor those who didn't make it, as well as to add a new perspective to a tale most people know via journalist Jon Krakauer, whose very presence, Kasischke implies, played an inadvertent role in what happened. Kasischke, however, never comes across as bitter or recriminatory but simply honest. He also pays tribute to his wife, Sandy, who, despite not being physically there, was a very real presence for him throughout the ordeal. The hand-drawn illustrations by Jane Cardinal also help the reader visualize the people and environs.A vivid, intimate memoir that, with great clarity and attention to detail, tells an unforgettable survival story.

Product Details

Good Hart Publishing
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Product dimensions:
6.59(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.28(d)

What People are Saying About This

A thorough analysis of the 1996 Everest disaster...and the best preparation for my Everest assent. --Jean Pavillard, IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide

Meet the Author

Lou Kasischke is one of the survivors. He tells his story.
Lou and his wife, Sandy, live on the northern shore of LakeMichigan.

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After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy - One Survivor's Story 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great story and a great read. The author's insights as to why things went so wrong on Everest are fascinating, and the story of how and why he was able to make the right decision when so many others couldn't is inspiring.  Just the explanations of what it takes to engage in high altitude climbing would be well worth the read, but there is so much more to this book.  I highly recommend it.
JeannieWalker More than 1 year ago
First, I want to say, I love the illustrations, as well as the book. I also love how the climber’s wife, Sandy, sent out invitation to friends inviting the to a ‘Last Supper’. In the invitation she wrote: After dinner, please feel free to offer Lou some words of profound wisdom. Sandy was a wonderful, loving, and understanding wife. Lou was a thoughtful, loving husband who would call Sandy as he left work saying, “I’m coming home.” When he got home the would chime out, “I’m home.” For Sandy and Lou “coming home” and ‘being home” were expressions of their loving relationship. They were words coming from the voice of the heart. A moment that would sustain Lou in the life and death struggle six weeks later was after the Last Supper party. Sandy said, “I want you to live your story on Everest, but I want you to say out loud, ‘I promise to come back home.” Without pause or even thinking about it, Lou replied, “I promise to come back home.” Every mountain climbing trip starts at home and ends back at home. But, sometimes, not every mountain climber makes it back home. Mount Everest has taken its toll on climbers. Climbers don’t get second chances. Good decisions must be made especially when you are close to conquering the beast but out of time to do it. This is an account of the worst tragedy that every happened on Mount Everest. It took many years before Lou Kasischke could tell the story of what happened and what went wrong on the mountain that took the lives of eight climbers on a spring day in 1996. “After the Wind” is an enthralling account that touches the heart deeply. Jeannie Walker (Award-Winning Author) "I Saw the Light" - A True Story of a Near-Death Experience