Everest: Mountain Without Mercy

Broughton Coburn, Author, Tim Cahill, Introduction by, David Breashears, Afterword by National Geographic Society $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7922-7014-0
Bringing an understated yet powerful Buddhist/Sherpa ethical perspective to the tragedy on Everest chronicled in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, Coburn reports on the IMAX film crew who participated in the rescue effort when the May 1996 expeditions led by guides Rob Hall and Scott Fischer ended in death and crippling injury. Charged with the daunting task of capturing Everest on panoramic IMAX film and packing video equipment along with the cumbersome, specially made IMAX camera, expedition leader David Breashears made the moral choice to join the rescue rather than film the tragedy for the nightly news. Nonetheless, Breashears's team, which included the American-educated Sherpa Jamling Tenzing Norgay, whose father reached the summit of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, went on to make cinematic history. The dramatically beautiful photographs hint at the grandeur of the IMAX film and prove to readers that good things come to those who wait and help. The harrowing story-within-a-story is told by Seaborn ""Beck"" Weathers, a badly frostbitten member of Krakauer's group who was carried down the mountain by IMAX team members. According to Coburn, the Buddhist Sherpas believe that in order to succeed consistently in ascending Everest and surrounding peaks, ""one's motivation must be pure,"" for they believe that these mountains ""exist as much in the realm of the spiritual as they do the physical."" In this exciting and richly informative tale, Coburn conveys how a pure-hearted group temporarily won favor with an unconquerable mother goddess. 100 full-color photos. 100,000 first printing; first serial to National Geographic; author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-7922-6984-7
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