Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tales from the Top of the World, by Sandra K. Athans

Sandra K. Athans writes a childrens' book about her brother's experience on Everest in Tales from the Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest with Pete Athans. While I hope that one day there will be a book for grown-ups on Athans' Everest adventures, I'll happily take a kids' book for now. Athans first introduces us to Everest and its history before setting off on hypothetical climb of the mountain. She is specific in her descriptions of a modern-day commercial climb of the Nepalese Southeast Ridge route on Everest (she does mention other routes, however), and she interrupts the storyline at different points to tell of her brother's experiences that happened in the same locations along the way. She focuses on his rescues, such as evacuating a paraglider accident victim at Base Camp or his role in the helping climbers down from the South Col during the 1996 disaster. She also brings up moments during his expeditions in which he made important decisions, such as his turning his expedition around at the South Summit in 1995 or his choosing a safer route over the West Ridge during the 2003 anniversary climb with Brent Bishop. There are also sidelines called "Ask Mr. Everest," in which Pete Athans answers questions such as "How do you go to the bathroom on Mount Everest?" or "Have there been any deaths on your expeditions?". I like that she weaves in important information regarding safety and preparation into the prose, and that the advice for young people interested in Everest is gain a lot of experience first. Overall, It's a pretty good book for an introduction to modern Everest climbing and a fun book for Pete Athans fans. I hope you like it!

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