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In the life-or-death world of extreme adventure sports, there is one thing that athletes often keep quiet about: the “forbidden” territory of paranormal experiences. Ranging from fleeting moments of transcendence to full-blown encounters with ghosts and everything in between—visions, near-death experiences, psychic communication—many extreme athletes have experienced these moments of connection with the beyond, but have been reluctant to talk about them.
In Explorers of the Infinite, award-winning outdoors journalist and lifelong adventure sports devotee Maria Coffey probes the mystical and paranormal experiences of mountaineers, snowboarders, surfers, and more. She reviews cutting-edge science, and consults the history of philosophy and spirituality to answer the question: Could the state of intense “aliveness” that is the allure of extreme sports for so many actually be a route to a connection with the beyond?
Coffey investigates the scientific explanations for mystical phenomena, ranging from simple explanations to theories from consciousness studies and quantum physics, and leaves us wondering where science ends and spirituality begins.
An energetic, you-are-there look at the spiritual lives of extreme athletes, Explorers of the Infinite asks why extreme athletes take the risks that allow them to push the limits of consciousness, what they encounter there, and what we can learn from them.
CLICK HERE to download the first chapter from Psychovertical
Psychovertical is the story of what happens to a nice lower-class kid with dyslexia who gains control over his circumstances by clinging to giant stone faces, thousands of feet in the air, for days at a time. In this case, Kirkpatrick uses his 12-day solo climb of the Reticent Wall on California's El Capitan as the experience that helps him understand how growing up poor and struggling with dyslexia and low self-confidence set him on a path of extreme adventure.
Kirkpatrick's writing is gripping and highly entertaining -- even non-climbers will enjoy his raw intensity, gallows humor, and honest, self-deprecating storytelling style. This book is a Boardman-Tasker Prize winner, which is recognition given for outstanding mountaineering literature. From the judges' remarks:
“The book is very cleverly structured....The cuts from scene to scene and climb to climb work wonderfully well -- a sort of mountaineering Day of The Jackal -- as Kirkpatrick comes closer and closer to his nemesis on Reticent Wall. And it is this climb, the running narrative of the book, that grips the most: 14 pitches of aid climbing, unrelieved by conversation with a partner other than himself, should by rights be boring. But it grips the heart further and further.”
Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan explore the intersecting lives of Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and Pasang Lama, following them from their villages high in the Himalaya to the slums of Kathmandu, across the glaciers of Pakistan to K2 Base Camp. When disaster strikes in the Death Zone, Chhiring finds Pasang stranded on an ice wall, without an axe, waiting to die. The rescue that follows has become the stuff of mountaineering legend.
At once a gripping, white-knuckled adventure and a rich exploration of Sherpa customs and culture, Buried in the Sky re-creates one of the most dramatic catastrophes in alpine history from a fascinating new perspective.