9780743255189 / 0743255186

On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined


Publisher:Simon & Schuster



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About the book:

By the time David Roberts turned twenty-two, he had been involved in three fatal mountain climbing accidents and had himself escaped death by the sheerest of luck.
At age eighteen, Roberts witnessed the death of his first climbing partner in Boulder, Colorado. A few years later, he was the first on the scene of a fatal accident on Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Months afterward, while pioneering a new route in Alaska with the Harvard Mountaineering Club, Roberts watched as his climbing partner and friend fell wordlessly 4,000 feet to a glacier below.
Despite these tragedies, Roberts insists that the greatest pleasures in his life have come in the mountains. Several of his challenging routes in Alaska have never been climbed again in the nearly forty years since those first ascents. Roberts continues to climb today, and like all climbers, he still grapples with the cost-benefit calculus of his sport. In a well-known essay that he wrote twenty-five years ago, "Moments of Doubt," Roberts insisted that the benefits of climbing were "worth it." More recently, however, he has gone back to interview relatives and friends of some of his deceased climbing partners. He discovered that even decades later, the wounds had failed to heal, the terrible losses were still acutely felt. And so in this book he comes to a different conclusion about climbing, one that is sure to stir controversy in mountaineering circles and among adventurers generally.
Anyone who has ever wondered why mountaineers take the risks that they do will be moved and enlightened by On the Ridge Between Life and Death, as will anyone who appreciates vivid, dramatic storytelling and an unflinchingly honest self-examination of a lifetime spent pursuing a dangerous pastime.

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