A Slender Thread: Escaping Disaster in the Himalayas

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Overview


Stephen Venables and three companions made the first ascent of Panchu Chuli V—a remote Himalayan peak on the borders of India, Nepal and Tibet. A rappel anchor failed on the descent, pitching Venables into a 300-foot fall. Crashing through the black night, flung from rock to rock, he assumed that he was plunging to his death. Against all odds he survived, but was left stranded 19,000 feet above a labyrinth of glaciers and snow slopes with two broken legs, the threat of gangrene, and scant food or medical ...
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Overview


Stephen Venables and three companions made the first ascent of Panchu Chuli V—a remote Himalayan peak on the borders of India, Nepal and Tibet. A rappel anchor failed on the descent, pitching Venables into a 300-foot fall. Crashing through the black night, flung from rock to rock, he assumed that he was plunging to his death. Against all odds he survived, but was left stranded 19,000 feet above a labyrinth of glaciers and snow slopes with two broken legs, the threat of gangrene, and scant food or medical supplies. If he was to return to his wife and son waiting at home some 5000 miles away, Venables knew he had to draw on his reserve of courage and determination. The third Adrenaline Classic, A Slender Thread is a spellbinding account of Venables' survival—and his intense personal struggle to understand the risks he takes for the sake of his insatiable passion for climbing. He comes as close to anyone to answering the unanswerable question: Why do they do it?
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Steven Venables somehow lived through a truly horrifying experience. Struggling down after nightfall from the first successful climb of Panch Chuli V, he and his companions could see the welcoming light from their tent far below. Then, at 19,000 feet, a piton slipped and Venables found himself tumbling out of control through rocks and snow. He came to a stop 300 feet down, semiconscious and with both legs broken. With food and water nearly gone, and oxygen tanks nearly depleted, both mountaineering ethics and common sense demanded that the injured man be abandoned to his fate. The epic struggle of his teammates to carry him down through avalanches and ice fields makes up the bulk of this exciting book. At heart, Venables is a romantic, as are most high-altitude climbers. His account of his life up to that heart-stopping moment, and his ordeals afterward, are full of the beauties of high mountain peaks and the mystical satisfaction that comes from conquering their awesome heights. He is also a writer of no little skill, having already published the story of his ascent of Everest's fearsome Kangshung Face (Everest: Alone At The Summit, Adrenaline Classics). In its way, A Slender Thread is fully as absorbing as Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and The Death Zone by Matt Dickinson, both of which were bestsellers a few seasons ago. The present generation of articulate, younger writer-climbers has greatly changed the face of traditional mountaineering literature. (Adrenaline Classics) KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Publishers Group West/Avalon, 236p, illus, 23cm, 00-049748, $14.95. Ages 13 to adult.Reviewer: Raymond L. Puffer, Ph.D.; Historian, Edwards Air Force Base, CA, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
Booknews
World-renowned mountain-climber Venables offers an account of his 1992 ascent of Panch Chuli V, which ended when he fell 300 feet, broke both his legs, and was rescued. While the main story consists of his ascent, his fall, and his recovery, he lingers too on questions relating to his drive to climb and to take such profound risks. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560252986
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Adrenaline
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,112,232
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Maps & Diagram xv
Prologue xxi
Chapter 1 Mountain Nomad 1
Chapter 2 At the Foot of Vishnu 21
Chapter 3 Towards Rajrambha 39
Chapter 4 Ribbon in the Sky 55
Chapter 5 Interlude 71
Chapter 6 Into the Jungle 83
Chapter 7 The Hanging Valley 95
Chapter 8 Night on a Bare Mountain 111
Chapter 9 A Falling Light 129
Chapter 10 Limbo 147
Chapter 11 Trapped in the Clouds 165
Chapter 12 Rescue 175
Chapter 13 Home 185
Chapter 14 Recovery 197
Chapter 15 Tierra del Fuego 215
Appendices
I Indo-British Panch Chuli Expedition 1992 229
II Expedition Diary 231
III History of Expeditions to Panch Chuli Massif 233
Author's Note and Acknowledgments 235
Photography Credits 237
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2002

    Another Save Me Story

    I've liked this author's previous books--most of which centers around his needing to be helped off high places. Now, he writes yet another and this time I'm a bit less sympathetic. How many times do you need rescuing to be considered a poor climber, or, even worse, a danger to other climbers? That Venables' tone towards very people who saved him in this book is so ungallant, only adds to the contempt one feels towards him by the end of this sad tale. I'd bypass this book for more heroic climbing tales.

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