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  1. #1
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    Mountain Disaster Books

    Or whatever you'd call them. I love reading them. Into Thin Air is the quintessential mainstream example, but I've read a bunch, and would love to read more. In addition to Krakauer's, I've read:

    * The Climb (Anatoli Boukreev), his account of the 96 Everest disaster, since he felt slighted by Krakauer's account of him.

    * Forever on the Mountain, on a 1967 I think group many of whom died on Denali

    * Eiger: Wall of Death, an outstanding account of the first handful of people to try, fail and succeed in climbing the north face of the Eiger

    * K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, Viesturs' account of a big disaster there

    and probably a few others, currently reading Where You'll Find Me, on the climber who died doing a northern presidential traverse in NH's Whites not too many years ago.

    What else is a must-read in this genre?

  2. #2
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    Touching the Void (Joe Simpson)

    Kiss or Kill (Marc Twight)

    Nanda Devi (John Roskelley)

    Moments of Doubt (David Roberts).

    Also by David Roberts: Deborah, a Wilderness Narrative; and The Mountain of My Fear. Both great books about Alaskan expeditions.

  3. #3
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    Ahh how could I forget Touching the Void! I have read that one. Those others, awesome thank you! I will definitely put them on the list. Some good names in there...

  4. #4
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    I enjoyed Missing in the Minarets
    I'll try to think of others, I know I have some

  5. #5
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    Minus 148 Degrees (Art Davidson; account of the first winter ascent of Denali)

    Annapurna (Maurice Herzog)

    Snow in the Kingdom (Ed Webster)

    You probably read Eiger Dreams by Krakauer. If not, great book about his pre-Everest climbing adventures.

  6. #6
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    Curran: K2 Triumph and Tragedy;
    Wickwire: Addicted to Danger;
    Clark: The Day the Rope Broke.

  7. #7
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    The Last Step by Rick Ridgeway is another great expedition account. First American ascent of K2.

  8. #8
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    A Wall of White - about the 1982 alpine meadows avalanche.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  9. #9
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    The Snowy Torrents.
    https://www.americanavalancheassocia...snowy-torrents

    Not about climbing/skiing, but Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean. His son, John Maclean, has written a number of books about other wildfire disasters. Not quite as well written as Norman’s but might fit on your list. (I get mentioned a fair amount in Fire and Ashes )
    https://smile.amazon.com/John-N-Maclean/e/B001H6QEZQ

    I might think of more later.

  10. #10
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    David Roberts- True Summit. Good account of the other side of the herzog book.

    Gary Hemming: the beatnik of the alps. Good, interesting bio of a 60s climber that maybe forgotten now, but was on the cover of Paris match after rescuing a couple of climbers in the alps (the disaster tie in) Later committed suicide by Jenny Lake. The James salter fiction book “solo faces” is related, and worth a read

    the fall - Simon mawer (fiction)

    the white spider - Heinrich harrer

    theres bios of Mallory, Irving, and 5he recent books too.

    semirelated “the last Englishman” about preww2 mountaineering (haven’t read, in the stack, think I read a fiction book based on the lives though)
    Last edited by dunfree ; 12-30-2019 at 08:56 PM.

  11. #11
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    Surprised to see that no one has posted Not Without Peril by Nicholas Howe. It's been a while since I read it, but I recall it being a great read about various deeply unfortunate events in the Presidential Range.

  12. #12
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    I used to peruse the AAC's annual compilation of Accidents in N. American mountaineering. Interesting insights into what gets people in trouble.

  13. #13
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    Mountains of my life - Walter Bonatti
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  14. #14
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    In the zone by peter potterfield.
    Postcards from the edge by greg child.
    Epic stories of survival by climt willis.
    Kiss or kill by twight.

  15. #15
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    Check out some of the other Joe Simpson books. The Beckoning Silence and Game of Ghosts are both really good.

    Separately Into The Silence by Wade Davis is a great book about the early days on Everest.

  16. #16
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    The Ledge by Jim Davidson. First hand account of fatal crevasse fall on Rainier. Crazy.
    What we have here is an intelligence failure. You may be familiar with staring directly at that when shaving. .
    -Ottime

  17. #17
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    If you run out of mountain disaster books, don't forget about polar exploration, which has a lot of the same flavor. Shackleton, of course. The Terror is a good piece of fiction in the genre.

  18. #18
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    Smile

    "Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer" by Anatoli Boukreev is definitely worth to pay attention to

  19. #19
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    give The Tower by Kelly Cordes a read. History, death, feats of climbing and lots of intrigue.
    They got a name for the winners in the world

    http://procatinator.com/?cat=80

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emythe1 View Post
    "Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer" by Anatoli Boukreev is definitely worth to pay attention to
    I just finished this, and loved it. Much more personal than I expected. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Got a paperback "Missing in the Minarets" on the way but meanwhile picking another random one for the kindle...

  21. #21
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    Sep 2008
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    I didn't realize that Boukreev had written another besides the Everest text...

    Not solely about disaster either but I just remembered really enjoying Second Ascent, by Alison Osius on Hugh Herr. I think it shares something kind of cyberpunk with The Tower in that it shows how different the world is now with modern forecasts and air travel, etc, but took place more recently compared to historical great texts like Bonnati's.

    The result is also quite different than The Tower in that Herr's attempt to overcome failure changes medicine forever whereas Caesere Maestri was merely able to vandalize 3/4 of the Cerro Torre with the hideous bolt ladder and still not end up on top.

    If you liked Eiger Dreams, Twight, and Postcards from the Ledge (which is awesome ^), Rock and Ice also published a collection of shorts which is similarly excellent.
    They got a name for the winners in the world

    http://procatinator.com/?cat=80

  22. #22
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    Sep 2008
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    Just finished Lydia Bradey's Going Up Is Easy. Not really a disaster book, thankfully her life is a happy one, but it was interesting to see Rob Hall's name in such a different context. It's almost Vader-esque how he can be the villain here in '88 and the hero in Krakauer's. Like The Tower it also interesting how much the world and mountaineering have changed in the past 40 years. Super enjoyable though, I blazed right through it.
    They got a name for the winners in the world

    http://procatinator.com/?cat=80

  23. #23
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    Oct 2020
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    I really love books about nature, about animals. But I haven't read a single book about the troubles that happen in the mountains. Thank you for your recommendations, I will write down all the books for myself, I will read them as they are found. Now I take to read books in the local library, because if you buy new ones, then there is nowhere to put them. The home library is packed and I can't throw out a single book, although not all of them interest me.

  24. #24
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    For some older-school climbing history:

    The Boys of Everest, Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing's Greatest Generation.

  25. #25
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    Sep 2018
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    John Long's collection of short stories called (I think) Tails From The Steep has some good stuff in it, some of which are excerpts from things you can then go read all of if you like them. A snippet of White Spider is in there iirc, for example. Also an excellent little tale of when Long gripped out free soloing, first person account.

    The Climb. Hadn't thought of that for a while. Anatoli was a friend of a friend, as was another guide on that trip, and the shit show that was the fallout from that did not go away quickly. I vividly remember a long, late night, really dark conversation with someone who was up there shortly thereafter. This Game of Ghosts, indeed. So grim.

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