Monday, March 11, 2013

Mountains: Surviving on Mount Everest, by Michael Sandler

Michael Sandler writes a short biography of Temba Tsheri Sherpa while explaining the geography of Everest and its environs for kids in Mountains: Surviving on Mount Everest. In 2001, Temba became the youngest person to climb Everest, summiting via the North Ridge two weeks after his sixteenth birthday, on his second attempt (a record that lasted nine years, until Jordan Romero climbed Everest at 13---see Blanc's The Boy Who Conquered Everest).  Sandler works Temba's story into the overall culture and geography of the Everest region (focusing on Nepal), including the tale of his two climbs on Everest. He discusses the basics of mountains, Sherpa culture, and animal life in the region, before explaining why and how people manage to climb the world's highest mountain. He writes about gear, routes, Everest's climbing history, the Death Zone, and threats to Everest's environment. The information is overall fairly good for a children's book, though the author perpetuates the less-oxygen-up-high myth (actually, same amount as lower altitudes, just lower air pressure), and the illustration of a West Ridge Direct route is a bit misleading, but not technically wrong. Also, Boivin made his paraglider descent from the summit in 1988, rather than 1998. Temba's story is a great one for kids, both for the inspiration of his effort at such a young age and for the easily-recognizable effects of placing oneself in danger for a difficult goal, as Temba lost parts of several fingers to frostbite in his first attempt to climb Everest.

This post is a revision and expansion of an earlier entry, found here.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, Temba's record was beaten in 2003 by Ming Kipa Sherpani, aged 15 years, 18 days.