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A shameless attempt to cash in on a disaster
on 18 September 2012
Although not a bad read until about half way through when he starts harping on about weather forecasts, I still felt deceived and ripped-off by this book.
When all is said and done it seems to me that Graham Ratcliffe just happened to be in the vicinity when this tragedy occured and the day after, while he decended to safety, a lot of the people on the Imax team whose character and reputations he later questions ascended to do what they could to help out.
In fact nearly all the speculation and accusation about the weather that Ratcliffe uses to cast doubt upon the intentions of the Imax team can be dismissed by reading one paragraph of Anatoli Boukreev's book "The Climb"
On page 138 of that book, Boukreev, who was Scott Fischer's head guide on Everest, tells how as he was going up the Lhotse Face he encountered Ed Viesturs of the Imax team coming down. Viesturs tells Boukreev that they didn't like the look of the weather, that it was too unstable and that they were going to hang back for a few days to see if the weather would stabilize. Hardly the actions of a man keeping his knowledge of the weather secret and sending others up the mountain into danger.
In 1996 weather forecasts could not and were not relied upon. Everybody knows that.
As for the people who died? Although tragic, if you choose to climb Everest as a guide or a client there is a very good chance that you'll loose your life. Everybody knows that as well.
There probably was pressure on Rob Hall and Scott Fischer to get their clients to the summitt and that probably did affect their decision making but to suggest they were ruthless enough to knowingly send Ratcliffe's team up into a storm is a disgusting slur on these men. (Although if Ratcliffe is half as irritating in real life as he appears to be in this book it's a wonder they didn't invite him to climb with them and then shove him down the kangshung face when nobody was looking)
From what I can gather from all the literature that I've read on this subject Rob Hall died because he refused to leave a struggling client (Albeit one he had maybe encouraged to go on when he was apparently wavering)and Scott Fischer probably died because he wasn't really well enough to climb to the summitt that day but he felt duty bound to do so.
I didn't mind parting with my hard earned cash for "Into thin air" or "The climb" both interesting first hand accounts but it really grieves me to think some of my money has gone into this man's pocket.
Graham Ratcliffe's book is called "A day to die for. One survivor's personal journey to uncover the truth" In my opinion a more accurate title would be "Clutching at straws. One bloke who happened to be in the vicinity's shameless attempt to cash in on the disaster"