Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disasters

( 15 )

Overview

Winner of the 2007 Banff Mountain Festival Book Awards Grand Prize (The Phyllis & Don Munday Award): "A riveting account of a long-ago mountaineering disaster."—Time
In 1967, seven young men, members of a twelve-man expedition led by twenty-four-year-old Joe Wilcox, were stranded on Alaska's Mount McKinley in a vicious arctic storm. All seven perished on what remains the most tragic expedition in American climbing history. Revisiting the event in the tradition of Norman ...
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Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disasters

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Overview

Winner of the 2007 Banff Mountain Festival Book Awards Grand Prize (The Phyllis & Don Munday Award): "A riveting account of a long-ago mountaineering disaster."—Time
In 1967, seven young men, members of a twelve-man expedition led by twenty-four-year-old Joe Wilcox, were stranded on Alaska's Mount McKinley in a vicious arctic storm. All seven perished on what remains the most tragic expedition in American climbing history. Revisiting the event in the tradition of Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire, James M. Tabor uncovers elements of controversy, finger-pointing, and cover-up that combine to make this disaster unlike any other.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393331967
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 598,160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. Tabor, a former contributing editor to Outside, attempted Mount McKinley and summitted Mount Sanford. He hosted the PBS series The Great Outdoors and cocreated the History Channel series Journey to the Center of the World. He lives in Waitsfield, Vermont.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     xv
Cast of Characters     xxi
Prologue: Sharp End of the Dream     3
Approach
Realms of Myth     11
For Want of a Wrist     21
Fool's Gold     25
Ire of the Mountain King     37
Clash at Cougar Rock     48
Ascent
The Long Road North     63
Lone Man Walking     76
Divided We Falter     86
Friktion     94
Pictures of an Expedition     108
Terras Incognitas     113
Summit Conference     125
Blowup     134
Odd Man Up     141
Accident
Just One More Wand     163
Last Words     179
We Will Live to Tell Stories     188
Where Is the Cavalry?     193
A Most Unusual Storm     205
Where Death Has No Meaning     213
Mixed Messages     222
Some Will Die     241
Hard Men Indeed     244
Crossing the River     251
Far Too Little, Way Too Late     258
We Cannot Look at Him     263
And Two Make Three     282
One Hell of a Good Story     289
Aftermath
Hanging Jury     297
Memorable Quotes     313
Summit and ANAM     318
Just a Publicity Stunt     327
Crossing the Line     334
Remaking History     338
Twisting in the Wind     344
Survivors     350
Author's Note     371
Recommended Reading     373
Photograph Credits     375
Index     377
Maps
Alaska & Mt. McKinley / Denali     8-9
Mount McKinley, Alaska / Route of the Wilcox Expedition     84-85
1967 Tragedy Area: Camp VII to Summit     233
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2007

    From the Babcock brothers....We were there.

    Dear Jim, Bill and I surprsingly finished reading your book at about the same time--today, July 31, 2007. He received his copy a few weeks back, while it took longer for mine to arrive, up here in Alaska. Yet, since Bill is up here visiting, we got together this morning for breakfast, and...lo and behold... we discovered we have neared to end of your opus together... a fitting end... for each of us. We chatted together for close to an hour, in praise of your efforts. Let me say first, what a wonderful writer you are. Your dedication to detail, mastery of descriptive imagery, and unbelievable investigative technique is beyond comprehension. Your creative `exploration¿ describes very closely, and perhaps, in the vain of `nothing less¿ than what we climbers endured on the slopes of Denali in `67. If I didn¿t know better, it would almost seem as though you were there, with each of us during the nightmare of our lives. Daring to delve into material that others so easily chose to ignore, or perhaps not even question, I was quite moved by your ability to first encourage participants to share... then with candor and clarity, piece together the puzzle pieces that were lost somewhere in the maze of burearcratic pedagogy, inflated egos, and blurred memory. Your book tells it like it was... with no excuses, no attempts to cover-up confusion, nor expediancy to tie up the loose ends with a blame strategy that simply defies explanation. You clearly defined the human fraility and individuality of each of your story¿s participants, and along with the good, the bad, and the ugly... you helped clarify those moments of true courage which most everyone displayed in times of turmoil--an objective, honest, and no holes barred attempt to get at the truth. And lastly, you describe the sheer terror of coming face to face with death--an event that continues to challenge men from all over the world, and continues to do so, on the icy slopes of Denali... North America¿s crown jewel that still kills... with each passing year. Well done, Jim. Jeff and Bill Babcock

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2008

    Unbelievable

    First off, I can't believe that the Babcock brothers commented... absolutely mind blowing. As for the book, I feel the same exact way. It was written in a manner sensitive to the members of the expedition, while still being truthful, informative, and captivating to the audience. You hold your breath while reading, sensing the impending tragedy, and watching with frustration as request after request for action goes unanswered. Its written in a way that makes it one hundred percent accessible to the reader. For anyone that likes reading non-fiction, adventurous 'nature' books, this one is at the top of my list as being well worth the time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    Good read

    What a good book. Writing style is very similar to Into Thin Air an Into the Wild. The book tells of the terrible disaster on Denali and will leave you wanting to know why more was not done to help those stuck on the mountain.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    recommended

    Loved this author, made you feel you were there throughout the book. Enjoyed very much.

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  • Posted January 3, 2013

    An excellent book and about a fateful expedition.  The book is w

    An excellent book and about a fateful expedition.  The book is well written and well researched but in my opinion the author tries very hard not to point  too critical a finger at  Mr. Wilcox who was only one factor among many in this disaster.
    A must read for adventurers and fans of the ilk of 'Into Thin Air', and 'The Climb'. Gripping stuff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Tabor has researched this controversial climb with a genuine search for the truth, and a keen insight into the human strengths and weaknesses of all those involved. With thoughtful analysis of this tragic, historical climb, Tabor brings an investigative approach to his subject, written in a compelling narrative style, one that will hold the reader's attention all the way to conclusion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Factual yet entertaining

    I'm an avid fan of anything that has to do with mountaineering. I had heard of the tragedy that happened on Mckinley and Babcock's party through magazine articles and other books, so I decided to read Forever On The Mountain. I was not disappointed. It was very informative, and at the same time, very entertaining. It was also very objective and fact-based and left me to come up with my own conclusions. The NPS really bit the big one on this horrendous tragedy. Their lack of knowledge and lack of care in this ordeal were appaling and unbelievable at times. Overall this book was impressive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2008

    The 'truth' is one thing missing from this book

    Tabor plays fast and loose with the known facts. He does so in order to impugn the reputations of good men like Hall, Washburn and Sheldon and therebye dramatize his story. By the time Wilcox made his first radio call to the Park, 48 hours after he had last spoken to the summit party, this incredible storm was raging and the seven men were almost certainly, already dead. This opinon is held by Denali's foremost experts.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2008

    A fantastic read

    Following my reading of this book I quickly found and read copies of Howard Snyder's In the Hall of the Mountain King 'which I found to be very self serving' and Joe Wilcox's White Winds which further clarified and strengthened Joe Wilcox's position. What I found particularly appalling was the action of Brad Washburn who totally poisoned the well for the young men of the Wilcox expedition. He did so because he felt they were merely seeking publicity on 'his' mountain. This coming after his own Hollywood sponsored expedition to put his own wife on the summit in the interest of publicity and $$$. The misactions and non action of pilot Don Sheldon were also disturbing to me. Both Washburn and Sheldon have been immortalized in the climbing world in my mind their halos are forever tarnished. That having been said I feel the perfect storm of hurricane force winds combined with never before or after seen snowfall had pretty much doomed the expedition not because of any oversights or malfeasance on their part just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Quite simply put on a mountain of the size and stature of Denali that can make its own weather there is no place to run or hide. I've experienced high winds and snow in my own mountaineering adventures but nothing of the nature and duration presented in this book. If you like reading about mountaineering adventures this is one of the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    Great read about North America's worst climbing tragedy.

    While browsing my local bookstore, I saw a book with a title that left no question in my mind about the subject: an event that happened 40 years ago and I could now read about the truth surrounding that tragedy on Mt. McKinley: Forever on the Mountain, by James Tabor. In the summer of 1967 I was full of dreams and anticipation as to what my second season at Mt. McKinley National Park might bring: new adventures, amazing sights, the trill of just the chance to view that magical mountain, Mt. McKinley. At the same time I was living my dreams, another group of young men were about to begin their own adventures and dreams, and attempt to summit the great mountain. As I read on, I realized sometimes in life no matter how well we plan and organize, things happen attitudes and egos do not mix politics and bureaucracy diminish the chance for success. In this book, these problems are brought forth and analyzed with a very straight forward approach, giving the public an unbiased solution of what happened and didn¿t happen in the most tragic disaster in North American climbing history. I thought it was a great read, especially having lived at McKinley during the event, and is important for anyone who has preconceived opinions about what actually took place on the mountain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2011

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