Friday, November 30, 2012

Above All Else, by Clarke & Hobson

Jamie Clarke and Alan Hobson write their first Everest book, documenting their first two expeditions to the mountain in Above All Else: The Everest Dream (also know as The Power of Passion: Achieve Your Own Everests). They write about their experiences providing the satellite communications system for Peter Austen's charity Everest climb post-monsoon in 1991 (as chronicled in Everest Canada: The Climb for Hope) as well as their organizing and leading their own pre-monsoon expedition in 1994. They wrap their experiences around the message of achieving your own Everests, admitting that at times your struggles may be even harder than climbing the world's highest mountain. The summit is indeed something to strive for, but success for them comes from the satisfaction after an all-in effort. In addition to their climbs, the authors discuss their friendship and their experiences as motivational speakers.

For their 1991 climb, they participate primarily as support personnel. Hobson desperately wants to get to Everest and calls up Peter Austen, offering to provide live satellite communication from the mountain, even though he has no idea how to do that. He figures that out as he secures the equipment and has it shipped to the mountain; Clarke, meanwhile does a lot of grunt work of calling sponsors, and ties up the loose ends of the logistics, securing himself a place on the expedition through Hobson. Things go smoothly with the equipment, though the expedition faces a number of problems with the weather and an injured climber.

In 1994, they do their best to learn from the difficulties of the 1991 climb. They opt for a smaller team, opt out of climbing oxygen (saving much logistics, weight, and money), and chase after a single large sponsor rather than a range of smaller ones. Their quest to place the first Canadian climbing without supplementary oxygen on the summit is also a charity climb, seeking to raise funds and awareness for the Alberta Lung Association. Health issues cause the expedition to arrive at Base Camp without either Hobson or Clarke,and when they finally arrive, things are a bit messy. They still manage to put in a grand effort, with a number of close calls.

To read about Hobson and Clarke's personal success climbing to the summit of Everest during a subsequent expedition, try Hobson's From Everest to Enlightenment or Clarke's From Everest to Arabia. 

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