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Where The Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Personal Costs of Climbing Paperback – 1 Jan 2004
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Winner of the 2003 John Whyte Award for Mountain Literature and the 2004 National Outdoor Book Award "Coffey begins where Jon Krakauer left off. His characters strive, suffer and vanish 'into thin air.' This compelling book offers voices from the other side of the mountaineering story - those left behind."- "Los Angeles Times" ."..an important book...Coffey is an accomplished author with the specific expertise to make this book the great read that it is." - "Gripped Magazine" "This book is a page-turner: Coffey's writing style is direct and ferociously honest, while her use of emotionally gripping anecdotes infuses an engaging, novelistic feel...A gripping must-read."- "American Alpine Journal"
Climbers who court danger in the world's highest places risk far more than just their own skins. When tragedy strikes, what happens to the people who love them? Why would anyone choose to invest in a future with a high altitude climber? What is life like in the shadow of the mountain? Such questions have long been taboo within the international world of mountaineering. Now, Maria Coffey breaks this silence. She recounts climbers' stories of near-death experiences, and gives a voice to the families and loved ones of Chris Bonnington, Ed Viesturs, Anatoli Boukreev and Alex Lowe, amongst many other famous names. Her riveting marrative weaves tales of adventure with first-person accounts of the people left behind, highlighting the conflicting beauty, passion and devastation of this alluring obsession.See all Product description
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The author looks at climbing from the perspective of those left behind, sometimes permanently, when men and woman go mountain climbing. The understanding of the layperson of quite how dangerous mountain climbing can be is, from my distant perspective naive and improved only by the odd book or documentary.
Quite how addicting climbing and really living in the dangerous and deadly zones can be was something I'd never understood, Having read the book I now have a better idea and I owe this to the book and the personal journey the author has travelled and lived.
If the motivation of folk who opt for and dare to move in the dangerous extremes where there is no 911 solution available is of interest then the book should qualify as a "very good read."
The book only in part tells the story of the adventures of these people. More it explores the emotional trials of those left at home while the adventurers are away, the passionate highs of their returns and reveals their deepest grief when they are lost to the mountians. The many accounts of the all consuming obsession, the acknowledgement list is astonishing, will reveal untold sides of the famous names of this sport, Bonnington, Scott, Lowe, Boukreev, Viestures, Boardman, Harlin ......., and if you climb too, undoubtedly you will come to question the choices you have made playing the climbing game.
A Banff Mountain Literature Award winning book, reading and experiencing this will complete a literary circle in Mountainering.