Thursday, October 21, 2010

almost youngest on Everest

Kenneth Kamler's Doctor on Everest is done, and I've started in on Mark Pfetzer's Within Reach, as long as I'm reading 1996 books. Kenneth's was a unique perspective on the 1996 tragedy, since he's so far the only doctor on the mountain to write about it. He climbs with Pete Athans and Todd Burleson and is at Camp III when the poop hits the fan. Pete Athans and Todd Burleson head up to the Col, and he heads down to Camp II to set up the world's highest hospital. He treats the walking wounded, and then prepares for Makalu Gau and Beck Weathers who are being escorted down. He treats and thaws Makalu first, with extensive frostbite on his hands, feet, and face, wraps him up, and then works on Beck, who is much worse off. His perspective also provides a unique angle on the Japanese woman who mysteriously disappeared from the credits of the IMAX film (and I'm forgetting her name at the moment!), as she tends to Makalu, and brings handwarmers to keep the IV fluids thawed. I hope I'll get to know her better when I get around to David Breashears' High Exposure, since she only gets a passing mention even in Viesturs' No Shortcuts to the Top

Pfetzer is a total mystery to me. According to his book, he and his teammates were on the South Col when the storm hit in 1996, but I don't recall hearing about them in any of the other books I've read. It will be interesting when I get to that part. Pfetzer tries to be the youngest to climb Mount Everest, or rather uses his age to win sponsors in his quest for Everest. It's interesting reading this book now, when other teens are vying for the same title. He goes off like gangbusters, climbing his first mountain at 13 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and climbs higher and higher until he is on an Everest expedition at 15. It's quite a story to read about the kid who has a dream and goes for it with gusto! This is marketed as a children's book, but it's written well enough to be enjoyable by all ages. (Pfetzer continues here.)

1 comment:

  1. The Japanese climber on the IMAX expedition's name is Sumiyo Tsuzuki.