Monday, May 20, 2013

Peak Performance, by Tori James

Tori James travels to the top of the world in Peak Performance: The First Welsh Woman to Climb Everest. In this short work, James relates her journey, from her boyfriend inviting her to go with him to the summit and beyond, in down-to-earth prose that should appeal to a wide audience, especially the youth see hopes to inspire. The length of the book (88 pages) covers over some of the grand effort over eighteen months of seeking sponsorship, gathering supplies, physical training (including climbs of Kilimanjaro and Cho Oyu), and climbing the mountain. She shows, however, that a great accomplishment, such as climbing Everest, requires a lot of preparation, and that the sooner started, the better.

James climbs Everest during the 2007 pre-monsoon season via Nepal under Henry Todd (along with Bo Parfet and Pat Hickey, see Parfet's Die Trying and Hickey's 7 Summits) and guide Kenton Cool. James and her boyfriend, Ben's, core group includes two friend from Ben's business school, and they gain sponsorship as a small team and bring a group of trekkers to raise funds for their climb, in addition to the Prince's Trust. They make the usual acclimatization forays, to Camp I, II, and III. Some weather delays their summit climb, and Ben and James' health delays it yet again. Her summit climb is as good as can be expected, and she especially enjoys the sunrise on the way up---about as happy of an Everest book as they come!

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