Five Big Mountains: A Regular Guy's Guide to Climbing Orizaba, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Vinson
The central theme of the book is that with proper preparation, careful planning, persistent training, and the best guides, even an amateur with little mountaineering experience can climb and reach the summits of some of the most famous mountains in the world, though there are risks involved that need to be minimized.
Written in the first person, Five Big Mountains takes the reader into the mind of a regular guy trying to reach the summit of four of the famous Seven Summits, as well as his first high-altitude climb of a steep, glaciated Mexican volcano. The book tells what climbing is really like, the struggles and the triumphs, the emotions and the dangers, moment by moment.
The reader is taken to Russia, Africa, Antarctica, South America, and Mexico. Along the way, the reader is able to travel with and discover the local flavor of each exotic or not so exotic venue. Color photos help the reader to visualize the glorious majesty of the peaks, but the narrative provides the nitty-gritty of the author's daily challenges on the mountains.
-- Selections are united by a single compelling theme
-- Forewords by John Harlin and Mark Synott
Courage and Misfortune contains gripping accounts of climbers on expeditions that encountered violent forces of nature or disastrous accidents because of tremendous odds and harsh luck. Stranded teams succumbed to frostbite, high altitude pulmonary edema, hypothermia, earthquakes, avalanches, horrendous storms, and sometimes human error. Frequently the expedition achieved the summit but massive problems occurred on the descent. Other times the goal was not reached but the failure isn't the story; it's other amazing elements of the expedition that take precedence. Included is one of the most tragic happenings in the history of mountaineering, Robert W. Craig's chilling story of the 1974 American-Pamir/USSR expedition and the death of an entire team of Soviet women on Peak Lenin as their pride held them to the storm-lashed mountain, high up beyond any hope of timely rescue.