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on 26 April 2017
I have read various books on the Everest disaster of 1996 and seen the film. I still think Jon Krakauer's book is by far the best on the subject. I quite enjoyed the first half of the book and actually liked Graham Ratcliffe. He seemed like an experienced climber and I was interested to read a third party account of what happened on Everest that day. I was particularly interested to read another account of Anatoli-who gets harsh criticism from Jon Krakauer. However I did not get the second half of the book-his obsession with the weather forecasting seemed like a red herring and it all got pretty boring-skimmed the last bit to be honest. At the end of the day it did not really reach any 'explosive' conclusions and was a bit disappointing. The writing was not that great-but readable.
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on 19 November 2017
Graham is clearly a great climber but this is not worth it. He was on the South Col in May 96 but not asked to help as nobody knew they were there (Or couldn't reach them) at the time.
He has dealt with his years of guilt by obsessing about the weather forecast and trying to place blame everywhere he can think of. This is described over half a book. Rather unhelpful for Scott and Rob's surviving family and doesn't improve safety for future climbers either. Just can't understand why he felt the need to write this.
He also describes his gradual ostracisation by the climbing community. I don't blame them.
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on 8 May 2017
Graham Ratcliffe has an idea that is worthy and important, regarding the presence or absence of weather reports and their role in the 1996 tragedy, and he is clearly an outstanding climber, but this account falls short. Nowhere does he give a feel for what climbing that mountain is actually like, and he is prone to digress into areas that are less than totally interesting (I'm sure that travel through Kathmandu's curfew was hair-raising, for instance, but I found it lacked immediacy and as a reason for Henry's aloofness didn't quite stack up). The account of his search for weather reports could have occupied more of the book and could have been given much more suspense. I was never clear either what drove him - was it that he felt his group was deliberately stitched up by being asked to ascend later? He says not, but if not, then what? I do have to say in his defence that to castigate him for occupying his tent while the tragedy was unfolding is unfair, and doesn't allow for the truly horrific conditions battering the col that night.
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on 17 December 2017
Was a difficult event to put across due to so many points of view so not easy for author but sometimes maybe too much detail although due to nature of book I understand why he felt this necessary. I understood his motive for writing book too but it is quite emotive and I wonder if anyone did benefit from exposure in this way. Nevertheless I did read the whole book and even though I didn't understand a lot not being a climber...that did not deter me so well written.
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on 27 February 2017
Good account, which unearths some additional insights particularly in regards the weather. Places too much emphasis on this, though the IMAX reticence to acknowledge forecasts were used is interesting.
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on 14 July 2016
Excellent account of authors personal Everest journey allowing readers to be part of it.
Raises and answers lots of questions not mentioned in other publications about the events on Everest in May 1996
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on 29 March 2011
Firstly, the writer is very skilled and the book, up to about the halfway point, is an enjoyable read that flew by pretty quickly. But after the actual disaster the rest is dedicated to the 'investigation' the author carried out into the reasons behind what happened. The first half was much more interesting than the second.

This was my first book regarding Everest, and I now feel I know the mountain so much more. I felt the strain of the climb, the personalities of the climbers, and alongside the pictures present I did get the feeling of melancholy isolation we all would love to experience. But the conspiracy investigation didn't enthrall, mainly because I just can't see a great deal of conspiracy in there. Maybe the cover should say 'shedding new light' or 'a different perspective' rather than the revelatory information it promises.

Buy this mainly as an autobiography of a talented climber (and author), not because it promises startling revelation.
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on 28 June 2011
I've read a few of the 1996 Everest books, after starting with Into Thin Air and loving it. This book covers the same ground but from the perspective of someone who was in a third team going up that day, but who survived based on different decision making. There's really only one new point to take out of this book, which I won't spoil should you buy it, but it takes a long time to come out and for long sections I was feeling that it couldn't be worth the wait. It almost isn't...it's not a story-shattering insight, but it does make you question a lot of what you read in the other books, especially Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, which feels partial to say the least as a result of reading this. It's not as well written as some (I could really do without the detail of the linen in every hotel in Kathmandu), but it is genuine, and written with both knowledge and passion. Mid-way through I thought about putting it down, but by the end I was glad I hadn't.
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on 5 March 2014
I would say the first two thirds of this book is very readable. Once the tedious investigation of whether the guided party leaders had access to weather summaries kicks in, it is laboured and tiresome. The story of the authors life from pit to Everest is excellent. I think his views regarding Scott Fischer and Rob Hall are a little caustic at times. Yes mistakes were made but I am not sure this author was the right person to conduct an ad hoc investigation.
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on 11 March 2013
Having read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, i read this to try and get a different side of the story. Its an interesting read, starting wtih Ratcliffe's first summit of Everest 2 years previous which while very interesting and eye-opening, i found myself wanting to get to the events that the book was about. Once there, its a good read from Ratcliffe's side of things, but not much light is shed on the tragic events. That said, it is a good read, though at times i did find myself wondering why he had raised the questions he had at times, as some things just cant be answered. However, i would recommend this for an interesting read on climbing Everest and the surrounding area.
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