Within Reach: My Everest Story

Mark Pfetzer, Author, Jack Galvin, Illustrator, Jack Galvin, Joint Author Dutton Books $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-46089-3
In May 1996, Mark Pfetzer at age 16 was the youngest climber on Mount Everest to reach 26,000 feet, and his gripping autobiography focuses exclusively on his mountain climbing achievements. Recounted in diary format, Pfetzer's dense but taut story opens during the 1996 Everest expedition, then jumps back to a 1992 advanced camping trip, when his passion for climbing first ignited. An advertisement for a mountaineering trip in Nepal sparks his imagination and determination (he must raise $5000 for the excursion), and the experience starts Pfetzer off to the farthest (and highest) reaches of the globe, on to Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania and finally to Mount Everest. Even though he fails to reach the summit on either of his two Everest trips (the second of which takes place during the fatality-filled 1996 expedition described by Krakauer in Into Thin Air), Pfetzer does set an altitude record for his age. While some of his inspirational comments about going for one's dreams come off as a bit condescending, and a few of the descriptions and metaphors have an adult flavor, readers are sure to be fascinated by the suspenseful storytelling and the wealth of insider details. For instance, at high altitudes climbers can break a rib just by coughing; those who reach the summit often urinate on the peak to commemorate the event. Even readers with no interest in rappelling will likely be swept up in the details of the people and places Pfetzer meets in his travels. A glossary and a chapter by chapter ""Cast of Characters"" will help readers unfamiliar with the world of climbing. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 224 pages - 978-0-7569-0339-8
Prebound-Other - 224 pages - 978-0-606-16770-3
Prebound-Sewn - 240 pages - 978-0-613-15316-4
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-14-130497-7
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