The New York Times bestselling true story of how an intrepid film crew became a heroic rescue team during the disastrous 1996 climbing season.
It was a death-defying assignment: Gather a rugged crew of climbers and photographers to hoist equipmentincluding an IMAX camerato the top of the world and record the summiting of Mount Everest as never before.
But then a freak storm swept the mountain, claiming eight lives, including two world-class guides, and the venture turned into a life-or-death rescue mission. The group did what they could to save livesand came back with a story like no other.
The terror and triumph of May 1996 will go down in infamy. Made famous by Jon Krakauers bestseller Into Thin Air and recounted in David Breashears's IMAX film, the narrative is relayed here in a gripping volume from National Geographic. Written in suspenseful detail, the book documents how a courageous photographic team, facing hazards of their own, became an essential part of an effort that brought somebut not allof their companions down from the mountain alive. When David Breashears agreed to climb Mount Everest with an IMAX camera in order to film from the summit, he had no idea that his little expedition would become embroiled in a tragedy that would make headlines around the world. On May 10, 1996, two expeditions led by experienced Everest guides Rob Hall and Scott Fisher summited the mountain, only to suffer the loss of eight members--including the two leaders--on the way back down. At the time, Breashears and his filmmaking crew were at the base camp preparing for their own climb--originally planned for that same day but postponed after realizing there would already be several other groups on the summit. Instead of making a film, Breashears and company participated in the rescue and only later reached the summit of Everest to successfully complete their film.
Broughton Coburn, a long-time resident of Nepal and a friend of David Breashears, was commissioned to write a book about the filmmaking expedition, the tragedy on Everest, and the mountain itself. He has more than succeeded with Everest: Mountain Without Mercy, a taut recounting of disaster and triumph at 29,000 feet. But this book is about more than just mountain climbing; Coburn has also included fascinating information about Nepal, Buddhism, and the Sherpa culture, as well as the history of climbing Everest. He covers everything from the causes of altitude sickness to Nepal's increasing problems with deforestation, and through it all he weaves the story of that day in May when Everest again proved unpredictable--and deadly. For a white-knuckle climb to the top of the world's highest mountain, complete with stunning photographs, you can't do better than Everest: Mountain Without Mercy.