Saturday, August 9, 2008

Where humanity and hubris intersect

I have always been intrigued by Nepal and specifically by Mount Everest.

In June of 2001 Rob and I were on our way to a travel agency to discuss a flight to Kathmandu and a trek to Everest base camp when we heard over the car radio that Nepal's Crown Prince Diprendra had shot and killed his parents and seven other members of royal family before committing suicide during a dinner party.

Plan B was formulated on our (correct) assumption that the murders would throw the country into political turmoil and instead in October 2001 we trekked in the Andes Mountains in Peru where we hiked a 4,200 metre peak (13, 780 ft) and, incidentally, got engaged.

A trip to Everest remains a distant dream for both of us and when I say Everest, I mean Everest base camp, which at 5,208 metres (17, 090 ft) is the highest I would ever attempt to climb, remembering as I do the nausea, headaches and fatigue we experienced as a result of oxygen deprivation in Peru.

Everest stands 8,848 metres (29, 029 feet). Anything above 8,000 metres is considered the death zone: a place where the brain swells, blood vessels leak and fluid accumulates in the lungs. I am both fascinated and horrified by human compulsion to summit Everest and so when Random House offered me a review copy of Nick Heil's Dark Summit, The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Climbing Season, I jumped at it.

Click over to Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews to read my take on the book and to enter for a chance to win your very own copy of Nick Heil's Dark Summit.

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15 comments:

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Cool. I'm on my way over . . .

Jenifer said...

I read your review and I think that is as close as I want to get. I have never had a huge fascination with Everest. I am fascinated with things like the Titanic. The stories and such really move me.

I think I must on some level question the motives of the climbers.

InTheFastLane said...

I am going to have to check that out. I impressed with the climb you did do. My husband and I have a thing for Mt. Everest. We have seen and read so many movies and books about it, but like you, a trip to base camp would be awesome, but our trekking will probably be limited to the Sierra Nevadas for the time being.

texasholly said...

I am content to just dream of you dreaming about it.

OHmommy said...

Yay. You finished it? I am on my way over. ;)

kittyconcerto.com said...

did you watch that discovery channel show about the teams attempting to climb mount everest? my husband and I watched it. It was unreal what they did to themselves for the sake of their mighty goal. I was impressed.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

But why climb when you can fly?

flutter said...

people do not use the word hubris nearly enough, in my opinion.

tricki_nicki said...

Woman, what can't you do?

Loralee Choate said...

I do some writing for the website of a company run by two AMAZING sherpa (Lhakpa and Apa Sherpa)who have relocated to Salt Lake and run a guide business and charitable foundation to build schools in the Himalayans.

I am soooo not a mountain climber but seeing what these men have accomplished and learning more about Everest is amazing. I totally hope you make it there.

womaninawindow said...

Flying. Climbing. You sure are a thrill seeker. (understatement)

~Jobthingy~ said...

goodness. you are our ever adventurer. and i dont blame you for not wanting to go higher.. i wouldnt either.

Backpacking Dad said...

there was some freshman at Stanford last year who climbed Everest when she was 16 or something stupid like that.

I hate her. Because I'm twice as old and think it's an accomplishment to carry all of the groceries up the stairs in one trip.

Jen said...

I've never been interested in mountain climbing beyond a 5-8 mile hikes of moderate intensity. Do you have an idea of when you want to attempt Everest?

Jaina said...

I hope you get to climb to Everest Base Camp sometime soon. I have to admit I'm relieved that you aren't going to attempt the summit.