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The 2006 Mount Everest climbing season was only the second deadliest, but it was by far the most controversial. Eleven people perished; David Sharp died while 40 climbers walked by, and Lincoln Hall was left for dead but miraculously survived. Notably chronicled in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Anatoli Boukreev's The Climb, the 1996 season holds the ominous distinction as deadliest, but perhaps without any cautionary effect. Still, 1996 remains a turning point in the public perception of Everest, now seen as having become commercialized, overcrowded, and unregulated-a place where money had superseded skill. Heil (Men's Journal, Outside Magazine) tells the complete story of the 2006 season (using 1996 as a backdrop) by introducing Russell Brice-Everest's largest commercial operator-and by using the story of encountered but "abandoned" climber David Sharp as the impetus for investigating whether or not it should be every man for himself on the mountain.
Ten days after Sharp died, Hall (White Limbo) was pronounced dead from poor acclimatization, and the news spread around the world. The next morning climbers discovered him sitting cross-legged on the summit ridge. Hall explains what brought him to Everest (for the second time); why climbers risk amputated digits, destroyed brain cells, and death; and what got him through that night sitting alone on the top of the world. Offering macro and micro perspectives of the same scenario, both authors acknowledge that priorities have deteriorated through selfish overpopulation but also argue that journalists have shed a selective light on these stories. At the end of the day, in an environment where each breathbreathed is more valuable than any word it can carry and simply being at that altitude is deadly, you can only be responsible for yourself. Recommended for all libraries.