Everest; Free To Decide. The Story Of The First South Africans To Reach The Highest Point On Earth Paperback – 1997
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On a personal note, I found the anti-American prejudice to be annoying and childish. By the way, it was one of those horrible Americans who cut Bruce's body down after several teams had just climbed right on past him in their bid for the summit.
It is an interesting perspective of the 1996 disaster and explains a lot of the misunderstandings regarding the South African team. Unfortunately the characters are presented so unrealistically goody-goody that it makes me suspicious of the whole story.
As with all climbing stories, many questions are left unanswered. An attempt is made to explain why no one tried to turn Bruce Herrod around, but as is often the case in climbing disasters, the answers aren't entirely satisfactory. You can decide for yourself whether the book's premise has merit. Things are different when one is actually high on a mountain in bad weather, and O'Down and Woodall are lucky they made it down. They stayed with the idea of helping others still on the mountain, but because of the terrible communications during that disaster, they were actually in as much danger as anyone still left up there. They overestimated their own reserves.
In the end, they had to come to terms with their losses, and this is how they did it. If you are someone who follows mountaineering disaster and survival, this book is worthy of a place on your shelf.