Top positive review
How One Man Turns Tragedy On A Mountain Into Triumph In His Personal Life
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 9, 2020
Beck Weathers lived a nightmare few ever will. As a member of the Rob Hall "Adventure Consultants" climbing team on Mt. Everest during the worst tragedy ever (to that point) May 9, 10, 11, 1996. Beck Weathers had spent years using his time off from his work to go mountain climbing to the detriment of his marriage and to his wife's growing dislike. Peach Weathers was ready to throw in the towel as Beck readied for the trip to Nepal. Beck and Peach sent faxes to each other, back and forth, during the weeks Beck was on the mountain training for the summit bid.
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.