The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
One of the 57 Most Anticipated Books of 2021 - Elle
Shivering, exhausted, gasping for oxygen, beyond doubt...
A hundred-year mystery lured veteran climber Mark Synnott into an unlikely expedition up Mount Everest during the spring 2019 season that came to be known as “the Year Everest Broke”. What he found was a gripping human story of impassioned characters from around the globe and a mountain that will consume your soul - and your life - if you let it.
The mystery? On June 8, 1924, George Mallory and Sandy Irvine set out to stand on the roof of the world, where no one had stood before. They were last seen 800 feet shy of Everest’s summit still “going strong” for the top. Could they have succeeded decades before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay? Irvine is believed to have carried a Kodak camera with him to record their attempt, but it, along with his body, had never been found. Did the frozen film in that camera have a photograph of Mallory and Irvine on the summit before they disappeared into the clouds, never to be seen again? Kodak says the film might still be viable....
Mark Synnott made his own ascent up the infamous North Face along with his friend Renan Ozturk, a filmmaker using drones higher than any had previously flown. Listeners witness first-hand how Synnott’s quest led him from oxygen-deprivation training to archives and museums in England, to Kathmandu, the Tibetan high plateau, and up the North Face into a massive storm. The infamous traffic jams of climbers at the very summit immediately resulted in tragic deaths. Sherpas revolted. Chinese officials turned on Synnott’s team. An Indian woman miraculously crawled her way to frostbitten survival. Synnott himself went off the safety rope - one slip and no one would have been able to save him - committed to solving the mystery.
Eleven climbers died on Everest that season, all of them mesmerized by an irresistible magic. The Third Pole is a rapidly accelerating ride to the limitless joy and horror of human obsession.
*This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF containing maps, notes on sources, and acknowledgments from the printed book.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 38 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||April 13, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #15,825 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#21 in Mountaineering (Books)
#22 in Expeditions & Discoveries
#23 in Outdoors & Nature (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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document the challenge and insanity that accompany those who accept the allure of climbing Mount Everest. As a Flatlander who has been atop ten of Colorado’s 14-teeners, it’s always amazed me that the Everest base camps are over three thousand feet higher than where I’ve been. That’s like three more “Sears” Towers higher to put it in perspective.
Synnott does a great job addressing all the concerns of reaching the top of Everest, as well as building his story around the last attempt by George Mallory and Sandy Irvine in 1924. The author documents the current fools rush toward the summit that inevitably runs the death toll ever higher on this highest of mountains, something that dulled any interest of his in Everest, until a quest was launched to find George Mallory’s partner, Sandy Irvine, and possibly the camera that might have confirmed the two had reached the summit, or not.
Their expedition is to Everest’s North Face, which means red tape galore as they had to secure permits from China, in particular for the drones they intend to bring along to aid in the search for Irvine. Background information is included about Mallory and Irvine, that fleshes out their personalities, personal relationships and skills, as well as the teams to which Mallory and Irvine were members, as well as Synnott’s own team. Synnott also informs the reader how his own adventures wrecked his first marriage, and the Everest expedition put a strain on his second.
Synnott does a nice job in explaining the difference between the South face of Everest, which includes the Khumbu icefall and its inherent dangers, and the culminating Conga line that forms, where climbers are forced to wait in line in the “Death Zone” (above 8,000 meters). The North face, though not having the recurrent nightmare of many trips through the Khumbu icefall, has its own problems, in particularly the “Second Step” that creates a bottleneck similar to the waiting points on the southern route. The author provides the reader with the litany of woes that accompany each climber as they are not only pushed toward the end of their endurance, but how the ordeal is extended by these human caused delays.
The author provides background information on the personalities responsible for surveying the region and measuring the height of Everest. He supplies the reader with the plight of the Sherpas, not only their work loads, but their pecking orders and how a successful summit of Everest can change their lives for the better. Synnott also introduces a cast of characters from other expeditions, their lives, successes and failures and everything in between.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a real page turner in front of me. Mark Synnott’s The Third Pole was a book I had trouble putting down. I enthusiastically give the book the highest rating and recommend it to anyone interested in adventure, mountaineering in general, and Everest in particular.
In addition to witnessing catastrophe on the mountain, Synnott also recalled some remarkable survival stories (Kam!). I was intrigued by the search for Irvine, the idea that he and Mallory’s summit attempt was successful, and that there could be proof of that on a roll of nearly 100-year-old film. It was a fantastic adventure with a dose of history, tragedy, and triumph.
Top reviews from other countries
A great book and one I highly recommend.
However, that the book has nothing new on Mallory and Irvine (except a lot of conjecture and wishful romanticizing), takes nothing away from the fact that's it's still a pretty good book - one that tells a great story and is an enjoyable read. Highly recommended 😊👍