To the Greatest Heights: Facing Danger, Finding Humility, and Climbing a Mountain of Truth

Vanessa O’Brien. Atria, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-1-982123-78-9
British American mountaineer O’Brien pens a thrilling debut memoir about her mountain-climbing adventures and what they’ve taught her about life. After an alcohol-filled outing soon after losing her high-level corporate job after the 2008 financial crisis, O’Brien decides she’s going to climb Mt. Everest. What started as a dare ended up as an obsession, leading to O’Brien’s quest to complete the “Seven Summits” challenge—scaling the tallest mountain on each continent. She begins with Mt. Everest, and reaches the summit on May 19, 2012. O’Brien makes readers feel as if they’re on the mountain with her through her vivid descriptions (“Shrapnel from shattering ice and rock whistled through the clean air”) and detail (those who are squeamish may skim over some of the more graphic descriptions of body parts she encounters from failed climbers in the past remaining on the mountain). “I summited Mount Kilimanjaro via the Umbwe route at 7:07 AM on March 10, 2013,” she writes, and with that set a Guinness world record for completing the seven summits faster than any woman had before. Ultimately, O’Brien writes, “Nostalgia is a waste of oxygen, and regret has a nasty tendency to avalanche. What matters is the mountain that stands before you.” Readers—especially mountaineering types—will devour O’Brien’s sensational, electrifying tale. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 07/23/2020
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0786-8
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-9821-2380-2
Book - 978-1-9821-2379-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0788-2
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