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Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest Kindle Edition
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“I can tell you that some force within me rejected death at the last moment and then guided me, blind and stumbling—quite literally a dead man walking—into camp and the shaky start of my return to life.”
In 1996 Beck Weathers and a climbing team pushed toward the summit of Mount Everest. Then a storm exploded on the mountain, ripping the team to shreds, forcing brave men to scratch and crawl for their lives. Rescuers who reached Weathers saw that he was dying, and left him. Twelve hours later, the inexplicable occurred. Weathers appeared, blinded, gloveless, and caked with ice—walking down the mountain. In this powerful memoir, now featuring a new Preface, Weathers describes not only his escape from hypothermia and the murderous storm that killed eight climbers, but the journey of his life. This is the story of a man’s route to a dangerous sport and a fateful expedition, as well as the road of recovery he has traveled since; of survival in the face of certain death, the reclaiming of a family and a life; and of the most extraordinary adventure of all: finding the courage to say yes when life offers us a second chance.
Praise for Left for Dead
“Riveting . . . [a] remarkable survival story . . . Left for Dead takes a long, critical look at climbing: Weathers is particularly candid about how the demanding sport altered and strained his relationships.”—USA Today
“Ultimately, this engrossing tale depicts the difficulty of a man’s struggle to reform his life.”—Publishers Weekly
- ASIN : B000QCSAAY
- Publisher : Bantam (September 21, 2000)
- Publication date : September 21, 2000
- Language : English
- File size : 3578 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 308 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0751530859
- Best Sellers Rank: #140,496 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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On summit day, the "Adventure Consultants" team left Camp 4 for the summit about Midnight May 10th. The higher they climbed and as the sun was rising, Beck realized he was becoming blind. At first he stayed as close as he could to the person ahead of him but when he reached "the balcony" he steps off the trail, realizing that he is blind and cannot go farther up no can he go down. Team leader, Rob Hall, climbing at the rear of his climbers, finds Beck on "the balcony" and Beck explains his problem. Rob Hall gets Beck to promise to not move off "the balcony" until he, Rob Hall, comes back for him. Beck promises. Beck talks with those climbers going up and or down as the day progresses. When Beck's team mates try to get him to let them take him down, he refuses saying he promised Rob Hall he would wait for Rob to return. Rob never returns and perishes on the mountain above Beck.
Some of Beck's team mates and some of the Scott Fischer team from "Mountain Madness" finally convince Beck to go down the mountain to Camp 4 with them. They end up descending into a blizzard whiteout and become lost, 900 yards from Camp 4. The group make a huddle in the snow and try to keep each other alive by pounding on back, massaging feet and legs, etc. During a brief clearing, one of the team figures out where they are and goes to Camp 4 for help. When he arrives, Fischer guide Anatoli Boukreev is awake and goes looking for the missing people. In the whiteout conditions he is unable to find them. Back at Camp 4 he tries to awaken Sherpas, other climbers, but all are too depleted by low oxygen and unable to help. Boukreev goes out again and finds the group that is stranded. All except for Beck Weathers who has seemingly wandered off. Additionally, one of the women climbers in the group is beyond helping. They return to Camp 4 without Beck or the woman and consider them dead.
Over the next many hours, Beck lies immobile in the snow, then gets up and wanders around, only to again fall. He begins to think about home and family and Peach whom he desperately wants to go home to. On one of his wanderings, 36 hours or later since descending, he has strong visions of his family. He longs to go home.
Beck wanders into Camp 4 to the amazement of the climbers who are preparing to descend. Beck looks so bad they just put him into a sleeping bag in one of the tents and leave him, thinking he is close to death. The next day as climbers from below arrive to help the few left at Camp 4, Beck realizes he is being left yet again and yells for help. The climbers who find him are dumbfounded he is alive and begin working to get him down from the Death Zone. Beck can feel he is going home.
From this point is an amazing rescue, an international effort to get a helicopter up to where one has never been to fly him down the mountain and then on to a hospital in Nepal. The rebuilding of a life surrounded by family, love, and commitment to each other for Beck and Peach is what makes this story great.
Admittedly, some of this story is difficult to read. And it's easy to shed tears, too. But love conquers all and it's a great and well written book. I highly recommend it.
Many reviewers remark on how 'flawed' Weathers is. He certainly, in manly fashion, fesses up to having let himself and his family down by allowing outside pursuits to dominate his time (not always mountaineering, but other risky sports through the years as well). Yet what stands out for me is Beck's charisma, and when a friend comments near the end of the book that Beck has a 'great heart', I agree with that on the evidence. There are millions of men (and very many women) that give themselves over to thrill-seeking and materialism in an effort to divert their attention from the spiritual-emotional-intellectual hole at the center of their lives. Then again, many of them are shallow instead of seriously depressed. Beck should be given credit for at least or even heroically attempting to grasp life -- in the ways that he could at the time -- rather than put his head in the oven, like Sylvia Plath, or hang himself, like L'Wren Scott. But Beck seems always to have been a fundamentally good soul and a thoroughly if not perfectly good-natured man. That's an achievement all by itself. The fact is, in the end he shed his depression and found a whole new outlook on life. If Beck is flawed, what does that say about the rest of us? He was never a philosopher, and has suffered all his life till recently because of that. But something in his ordinary life was not good for him, was suffocating him, and made him what we call ‘depressed’. And that very depression points to the fact that his soul was hungering for something more than the material professional success his parents wanted for him.
Beck Weathers wasn’t flawed because he wanted a kind of highness (ironic, as he’s afraid of heights) and refused to be satisfied with the ordinary. He wouldn’t have been happy if he’d tried harder to embrace it. To the contrary, the kind of 'ordinary' that had been given to him was killing him from the inside out. In his confused groping way, he had to reject the ordinary to grab at what really felt like living -- beyond mundane constraints, shallow standards, and invalid judgements. His real problem was that he rejected these ordinary standards of success incompletely. He was still concerned with status, with rating himself. This is why Everest is so meaningful, and this is why its painful repercussions had a kind of emotional logic. It was the near loss of his life on Everest that got him to complete the project of rejecting the definition of 'success' that had done so much to hurt him. This is the lesson of the book: on the one hand, Everest nearly got him killed and was apparently disastrous and foolhardy. On the other hand, and more importantly, the man survived and even thrived after the crisis had passed. What Everest really killed off was his attachment to an illusion. To the extent that most of us still believe in that illusion and live with it every day, Beck Weathers is well ahead. Wiser than most -- and funnier -- is my judgement of him. At the end of this greatly touching and compelling book I had rather an emotional moment, and narrowly avoided shedding tears.
Many authors have written their versions of what occurred on this now infamous Everest climb, including Anatoli Boukreev, Jon Krakauer, Lou Kasischke & Lene Gammelgaard! I've enjoyed all of their perspectives.
I liked hearing from Beck's wife, children & friends regarding his addiction to risky climbing as a cure for his chronic depression. Some readers complain that this book isn't ALL about the actual mountain experience, but that added to the heartbreaking story for me. Decide for yourself!
Top reviews from other countries
You would be forgiven for thinking that the notoriety Beck Weather's had received had fed his ego enough to believe that us readers actually wanted to read about every step of his life from birth up until his tragic experience on Everest.
But as you get to the last third of this book, you realise that it's all been said for good reason.
The change and awakening Beck went through on and after his near death is a result of all, previously talked about in the book.
As I got to the end it all clicked into place. His own upbringing, relationships with his parents and brothers, how his brother in law had non judgmentally stepped in for him with his wife and children when he could not step up himself. This book is about his ordeal on Everest, but its so much more. Its also about depression, courage, honour, and most of all, love. How people cope with life in adversity in different ways.
The parts that I 'thought' were boring me in the first chapters are what brought me to tears towards the end. You realise that to truly appreciate what this family have gone through, you have to know what occurred in the years previous.
Contrary to what I thought, it's not all about Beck, it's how it affected everyone else and its also a tribute to Howie, which was such a touching and deserving tribute to a wonderful human being.
There are times in our lives when, while others shine, some are content to hold the Fort discreetly and ask no reward. It was Howies death that brought me to tears.
The end of the book left me thinking the opposite of what I had thought at the start, Beck is a very selfless man and despite what he went through as a climber, he hails Howie the hero in this book for being a father figure to his children when he was off climbing mountains. It left me feeling really sad for what he has missed.
He doesn't just tell you how Everest changed him, he shows you.
I enjoyed this book, yes I recommend 👌
( sorry to waffle on with such a long review but I wanted to explain to prevent readers getting so far and putting it down, give it a chance, it's worth it )