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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A COURAGEOUS AND HISTORIC FIRST..., 2 Dec 2002
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
It is clear from the beginning of this book that trouble was looming on the horizon for these intrepid, but somewhat reckless, climbers. The loss early on of one of their comrades to a fall into a crevasse was predictable. How they could think of walking unroped, on a glacier that they knew was ridden with crevasses, is almost unbelievable. This was due, no doubt, to youthful inexperience and a lack of leadership necessary to set the parameters of what would be acceptable in terms of safety. These factors combined were to cost them dearly. It was not until near the end of their forty two day stay on the mountain, that they coalesced into a team.
Notwithstanding the sheer recklessness of their initial, bumbling efforts at a winter ascent of Mt. McKinley, the fact remains that they did achieve the first such summit, no mean feat any time of year, but almost inconceivable in the dead of winter. Coming off the summit, their thermometer recorded the temperature at a quite bone chilling minus fifty eight degrees.
Caught in a whiteout on their descent, however, the three summiteers were forced to dig a snow cave, where they were were to spend endless days, in weather that saw temperatures plummet to an almost mind boggling minus one hundred and forty eight degrees with the wind chill factor, hence the name of the book. That they could survive this is a testament to their fortitude.
In their snow cave, it was a relatively toasty minus thirty five below. That snow cave was the only thing that stood between them and certain death. With virtually no food, frost bitten, and suffering from disorientation due to the altitude, they waited out the storm and lived to tell the tale.
This gripping chronicle, of the forty two days they spent on the highest and coldest mountain in North America, is a classic in mountaineering literature and one of the best books on McKinley climbs. Those who love this genre will certainly enjoy this book. It is made all the more interesting by the author's new afterword, which gives a retrospective of what happened to all those who participated in the first winter ascent of Mt. McKinley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading again after 22 years, 31 Mar 1999
By A Customer
I first read this book in 1972 while in high school. Could not read it fast enough but did not want it to end. Had all the adventure and suspense of a true Alaskan adventure. On my second trip to Alaska as a state park campground host in 1994 I worked in Denali state park. Not until later did I realize that the six foot five, red head ranger was none other than Dave Johnston. One of the first three men to reach the summit of Mount McKinley in the winter. To know that these men could survive such an ordeal and years later be so down to earth. If you enjoy books about Alaska and not just mountaineering this is a must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The only book in my 47 years I 've read in one day, 26 Oct 1998
By A Customer
I found this book in a ranger station near Mt. McKinley (under the visitor center). The ranger was kind enough to invite us in from the pouring rain and we slept there, well they did, I opened this book after dinner and finished it in the wee hours. I could not put it down, and I'm not a mountain climber. The title refers to the coldest temperature on the climbers' wind charts, and it was colder than that. The temperature was off the scale and the wind was blowing so hard these guys were trapped for days and couldn't go up or down. I think a tent even blew away... but it was over 25 years ago that I read the book.. and it still haunts me. Now I've finally found it again and I'm going to order it. At least as good as "Into Thin Air." I'm going to pass it around to all my friends that read that one and "The Climb."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scary read, 5 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Minus 148 Degrees (Legends and Lore) (Kindle Edition)
Having been on Denali in 1996 (in Summer I hasten to add) this book makes a gripping read. A true tale of survival.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 24 Aug 2014
By 
R. A. Mckeown - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Minus 148 Degrees (Legends and Lore) (Kindle Edition)
Intriguing true-life story written by one of the climbers. Very interesting and well worth reading.
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