Holt, May 2008, $16.00
In 2006, eleven climbers died trying to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. The most famous fatality was David Sharp who was left near the top still alive while forty other people continued their ascent. One week later, Lincoln Hall was left to die at the same spot that Sharp died; he survived that night without shelter leading to speculation re Sharp.
Nick Heil investigates the true story of what went wrong on the Everest climb in the deadliest year since 1996. He makes the case that some ruthless commercial operators are making increasing access available but at the cost of dramatic increase in risk. Readers will be hooked by Mr. Heil’s passion for mountain climbing while horrified by the avarice of some to take advantage of the obsession of many advocates to claim they reached the top of the world. The author points out rescue is usually impossible and can endanger others; while he also defends operator Brice who was accused of abandoning Sharp to die on the mountain’s Death Zone. However, Mr. Heil also rips less conscientious operators like the guide who failed to assist a confused Thomas Weber, who other climbers felt could be rescued. This is chilling yet fascinating as Mr. Heil provides a lucid account of the deaths on the DARK SUMMIT.