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4.7 out of 5 stars
145
Facing Up: A Remarkable Journey to the Summit of Mount Everest
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on 20 October 2014
Before I read this book, I don't think I'd heard of Bear Grylls, but I am drawn to any book about Everest because I have something of an obsession with the mountain and the region. I've read quite a few books about Everest expeditions going back as far as the early 1920's, including the ill-fated summit attempt by Mallory and Irvine. 'Facing up' though is by far one of my favourite accounts and I've read it three times so far. A very well written, descriptive and honest account of all the challenges faced by a young man who was the youngest Briton at that time to make it to the summit of Everest and back despite having broken his back and recovered prior to this. Bear Grylls comes across as someone who is very humble, likeable, funny and slightly off the wall. There was also a great camaraderie between himself and other members of the expedition which must have helped them all in the gruelling challenges they faced.
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on 19 July 2016
Superb in every way!! Takes you to the place in ways you can barely imagine. Excellently written, superbly descriptive, highly emotive it is unputdownable. A thrashing great read from a man who has been to the edge of human endeavour and seen, first hand, what despair looks like and what it can do to you. What a life. What a character. What a book. Read it, devour it, savour it, enjoy it and learn from it ... because it will tell you more about who you are than most of the books you will ever read. An awesome book about a stunning achievement from a truly great guy. And then follow it up with Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer - the words behind the film Everest - another utterly stunning read.
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on 20 August 2015
I didn't know who Bear Grylls was until I was recommended this book, and I'm very glad I found out! He's a gifted writer full of charisma, yet humble and thoroughly likeable. The story of his Everest attempt was different to a couple of the others I have read; Bear's honest voice and humour, combined with his clear spirituality, made me feel as if I, too, were on this journey with him and sharing in the triumphs and setbacks.

I will certainly be reading his other accounts, even though I am particularly interested in Everest, I have a feeling Bear will thoroughly entertain and enthrall no matter which of his adventures he is recounting.
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on 12 May 2017
There's something refreshing about this account of a younger Bear's ascent of Everest, in that he is very honest about his fears and his faith in unobtrusive but telling ways, and this is one of those books about Everest that really make you feel you're next to him on the mountain (to a degree). His evolving relationship with his fellow climbers is well told. There is a less-than penetrating account of the 1996 tragedy but, equally, that's not what this book is about. Highly recommended.
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on 19 July 2011
I've read quite a few mountaineering books and quite a number on Everest. I enjoy the genre in general. Mostly there are technical challenges, logistical ones and the like. While enjoying the books some of the authors are better climbers than writers and that is not an issue when the story is good. I had expected something similar from a "Bear Grylls" book I confess seeing him as something of a real life action man. But no - this is about real people with real feelings (& belief) and the mental challenges of mountaineering. It is well written and I found it a compelling and human story. Bear comes over as a real (& warm) person and he seems to see the best in many of his fellow climbers (not always the case with others in the genre!). There is enough humour too and I did smile on a number of occasions while reading the book.

I'd happily recommend it to anyone with an interest in this for all the above reasons and the sheer reality of it all - in Bear's own words "There was nothing remotely pleasant or romantic up here now - it just hurts".
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on 16 January 2012
This is the first book I have purchased for my Kindle and I have to admit, I have loved reading through it. I've watched Bear Grylls on TV a lot, he is an admirable character and after browsing through the Kindle store, I just had to buy this when I discovered it.

He may not be the best writer in the world, but he tells the story of an Everest climber well, and, for a first time reader of an Everest book, he explains everything in rich detail. He describes all the parts of the climb very well using easy to understand language and explains some of the history behind the naming of areas of the Everest climb.

The impression I get from his TV appearances make me think that he is a tough character, physically and mentally strong who doesn't know the meaning of pain. This book tells otherwise. Bear lets us into his world on his ascent to the Everest summit. He tells us of his fear for the climb, his determination to do his best and fulfil his childhood dreams and the physical struggles throughout the journey.

We see him build friendships with people from all around the globe and on more than one occasion we hear how different people on the slopes of Everest save others lives, even those who know are not part of the same team, or risk their lives to help others - Bear himself doing this.

I realise this probably isn't the best review, but it's hard to put into words how much more respect for this man after reading this book. It takes just as much mental strength as physical strength to summit Everest and Bear has tons of it. He had many doubters, particularly because of his age and lack of high altitude experience, but he reached the top of the world through many struggles. His respect for the other climbers, including those who did not reach the summit, is admirable. They're is clearly an understanding that it doesn't matter how high you reach, if that's how high you can push yourself, then that's you're own top of the world. I'm looking forward to reading some more of Bears books in the future.
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on 6 January 2013
First of all I find it hard to admire anyone from a middle class background. Why? Most of them in my opinion (when trying to communicate) find it hard to let
go of this privilidge and stand out to us less privilidged, as being
snobs.
That aside, who can't but admire the single mindedness of
this man. Privilidged or not he's still a man.
His achievments are immense. Too smart to be fearless, Grylls is a leader and inspiration to anyone.
Before reading this book I had no idea how much preparation goes into
scaling the vast peaks of the Himilayas. Due to their incredible height above sea level ,half of the battle is acclimatization.
It's not just a case of off we go, see you at the top. Rather each phase of the climb has to be repeated apart from the final ascent.
Tragedy is never far away with one death to every 10 succesful attempts.
This is maybe not the best account ever written but has a few surprises
which add to the suspense. Well worth reading.
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on 14 October 2017
Bear takes you with him on this very personal struggle and triumph against nature. Never giving up, his drive and determination to reach a dream are truly inspirational. A cracking read that gives you more of an insight into the raw emotions of climbing Everest.
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on 8 April 2014
I am one of the people who really admires Bear for all he has been through in his life as well as his determination in teaching people things he learned the hard way. I have already read his awesome biography Mud, Sweat and Tears where he described his early life, his accident, recovery and journey to the top of the world.

This book focuses on the last part of the biography, getting on top of Mt. Everest (or as he describes it: ”Crawl up to the top while Everest is allowing it”). It’s really a remarkable journey and achievement of a 24 year young person who had his back broken in a few spots. Bear shows how it takes more then just strength and determination, a little luck will always help you along the way :)

I have huge respect for everyone who tries for two to three months to get to the top just so that he or she can be there for ten to twenty minutes. The psychological aspect of the climb is also something that left me amazed because the climbers had to climb up and down from the Base Camp to Camps 1-4 in order for their body to be prepared for the harsh conditions which are at the summit. Getting up, exhausted and dehydrated, resting for one or two days and then going back down must be very stressful to the body but also to the mind.

I can’t emphasize how much I enjoyed reading this book and thinking of myself being up there and battling wind, snow and the rest of the elements for a small glimpse from the top.

I give this book a 10+/10 because it really drags you into a hostile world where you have to play by different rules, the rules of Mt. Everest.
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on 24 March 2015
Wonderful, Really good read..... Not in the same style as "Into thin Air".. but a remarkable story from a man who had suffered a terrible accident... What came across so much is what a gentle, kind and respectful man he is.. Very impressed with his whole attitude to mountaineering.... And... the only person who has ever said ." I did not conquer Everest, she allowed me to summit her, and return safely."
What an inspiring attitude to pass on to further climbers..Can highly recommend,...
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