The Call of Everest: The History, Science, and Future of the World's Tallest Peak

The Call of Everest: The History, Science, and Future of the World's Tallest Peak

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by Conrad Anker
     
 

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In 1963, the American Mount Everest Expedition made mountaineering history. It was the first American venture to successfully scale the legendary peak and the first successful climb up the hazardous West Ridge (a climb so difficult no one has yet repeated it). In 2012, adventurer Conrad Anker led a National Geographic/The North Face team up the mountain to enact a

Overview

In 1963, the American Mount Everest Expedition made mountaineering history. It was the first American venture to successfully scale the legendary peak and the first successful climb up the hazardous West Ridge (a climb so difficult no one has yet repeated it). In 2012, adventurer Conrad Anker led a National Geographic/The North Face team up the mountain to enact a legacy climb. Environmental changes and overcrowding led to challenges and disappointments, but yet the mountain maintains its allure. Now, steely-eyed Anker leads a team of writers in a book designed to celebrate the world's most famous mountain, to look back over the years of climbing triumphs and tragedies, and to spotlight what has changed - and what remains eternal - on Mount Everest. Telltale signs of Everest's current state, never-before-published photography, and cutting-edge science expose the world's tallest peak - its ancient meaning, its ever-present challenges, and its future in a world of disappearing ice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426212413
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
275
Sales rank:
1,024,320
File size:
24 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

On May 26, 2012, I look down from the summit of Mount Everest to three glaciers that have sculpted the mountain. For the past nine and a half hours I have been climbing the Southeast Ridge in near-perfect weather. At an elevation of 8,850 meters, there is no higher place on our planet. The world literally drops away below. To the east, the robust Kangshung Glacier pushes moraine into Tibet and in the process creates small glacial lakes. To the north, the Rongbuk Glacier is solid in appearance, yet I know that it is moving, ever so slowly. To the south and west, the Khumbu Glacier, cascading down the southern flank of the Himalaya, provides sustenance to the people of Nepal and India. The frozen snow on which I stand may eventually join the Ganges, slowly making its way to the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Perhaps this water will be recycled and deposited once again in the Himalaya to begin the timeless cycle of regeneration.
 
Standing on the apex of our planet is humbling. I’m starved of oxygen, depleted of reserves, unable to eat, and bound by anxiety. This is a dangerous place. Yet the symbolism of standing on top of the world gives me a chance to experience time on a cosmic scale. During the half hour I spend on the summit, I reflect on the mountain—how it came to be, its significance to humanity, and my personal connection to Everest. For the third time I have the opportunity to stand at this unique spot on the planet.
 
Humans frame time within the span of our own existence and, to a lesser extent, the history of humanity. We anthropomorphize time, as if what happens to humans is the only relevant measure. We are exhorted to live in the here and now. Yet on the upper reaches of the highest mountain, we live on borrowed time. Dillydally too long and we will die. When we face adverse situations, time is immediate. This immediacy provides a prism through which we can view our planet. How do we fit into the grand scheme of life? Everest, with its timeless immensity, highlights how insignificant human existence is. Standing on the summit, looking up through the troposphere to the blue, purple infinity of space, on a mountain of rock millions of years old, thrust up into the sky by a thin crust of earth floating on a moving mantle and carved away by gravity, I contemplate my place in the universe.
 
I feel insignificant. The mountains seem to have conquered us long before we set foot on them, and they will remain long after our brief existence. This indomitable force of the mountains gives us humans a blank canvas on which to paint the drive of discovery and, in the process, test the limits of human performance.

Meet the Author

CONRAD ANKER is famous for succeeding at death-defying ascents in the Himalaya and Antarctica. In 1999 he discovered George Mallory's body, the legendary British climber who disappeared on Everest. BERNADETTE MCDONALD is a prizewinning Canadian writer who has authored or contributed to eight books including National Geographic's Voices from the Summit and Extreme Landscape. MARK JENKINS writes about remote expeditions for National Geographic, Outside, Men's Health, Playboy, and many other magazines. His dispatches from Everest on the legacy climb will form part of this book's narrative.

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The Call of Everest: The History, Science, and Future of the World's Tallest Peak 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I read this great book for my research project. This book was very helpful in answering many of the questions that I needed answered. I truly did enjoy reading this book and I am grateful that I have chosen to read this book for my project. The book was very enjoyable to read because it had so many interesting facts, quotes, and stories. Also, I can’t forget to mention all the wonderful pictures that are in the book. The pictures were really helpful in keeping the reading entertaining and the captions, explaining the pictures, give a little bit more knowledge about the mountain. There isn’t a single page in the book without a picture, excluding the credits and index pages. The pictures really helped give me a visualization of what I was reading and made me feel as if I were actually on the mountain itself. I also found that the book was very easy to understand, since the authors had a great way with words. All eight chapters of the book, plus the foreword, are written in a way that has kept me attentive throughout the entire book. In my opinion, I believe this book to be quite similar to a regular history book, but shorter and way more interesting to read. Overall, I loved reading this book and I highly recommend this book to all who wish to learn about Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago