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Item #: BK2185-158
FOREVER ON THE MOUNTAIN: THE TRUTH BEHIND ONE OF THE MOST TRAGIC, MYSTERIOUS AND CONTROVERSIAL DISASTERS IN MOUNTAINEERING HISTORY James Tabor 2007 Hardcover DJ Fine
By Tabor, James M.
Price: $19.95

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Detailed Product Description

New York, 2007. 400 pp, photos, route diagram. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

A retelling of the controversial 1967 Wilcox accident on Mount McKinley. Ten days passed with no rescue attempt, while more than half an expedition was stranded and dying at 20,000 feet during a vicious Arctic storm. The bodies were never recovered. And, for reasons that have remained cloudy, there was no proper official investigation of the catastrophe. 

Finalist for the 2007 Boardman Tasker prize. Winner of the Banff Mountain Festivel Grand Prize 2007.

This book begins as a classic tale of men against nature, gambling — and losing — on one of the world's starkest and stormiest peaks. Reckoning by lives lost, it was history's third-worst mountaineering disaster when it occurred—but elements of finger pointing, incompetence, and cover-up make this disaster unlike any other. James M. Tabor draws on previously untapped sources: personal interviews with survivors and those involved in the aftermath, unpublished diaries and letters, and government documents. He consults not only mountaineers but also experts in disciplines including meteorology, forensics, and psychology. What results is the first full account of the tragedy that ended a golden age in mountaineering.

Here is a longer description from our description of Wilcox's book White Winds.

Joe Wilcox was leader of 12-man Denali climb in 1967 where 7 perished in a fierce storm. Howard Snyder's 3-man team was forced by the park rules on team size to combine with the Wilcox team. Controversy arose after Snyder wrote Hall Of The Mountain King, his version of events and who was responsible. The climb was made via the classic Muldrow Glacier - Karstens Ridge route, the same route pioneered by Belmore Browne and first climbed by Hudson Stuck for the first ascent of this Alaska giant, the highest peak in North America.

Some members of Wilcox's team were lacking in experience, but it was mostly poor judgement and the storm that killed the climbers very close to the top of the mountain. Wilcox goes into great detail here to describe the mistakes and the bad luck. He was criticized by Bradford Washburn after the tragedy for blaming the storm more than anything else for the deaths. Hardcover, DJ, New.

Howard Snyder, was the leader of a 3-man team that was forced by Park rules to join Joe Wilcox's larger team. 7 members from Wilcox's group perished in a fierce storm. Controversy arose after Snyder wrote a book, The Hall Of The Mountain King, his version of events and who was responsible. The climb was made via the classic Muldrow Glacier - Karstens Ridge route, the same route pioneered by Belmore Browne and first climbed by Hudson Stuck for the first ascent of this Alaska giant, the highest peak in North America. Some members of Wilcox's team were lacking in experience, but it was mostly poor judgement and the storm that killed the climbers very close to the top of the mountain. Snyder and another member of his team reached the summit ahead of the Wilcox members (except for Joe Wilcox who summited with Snyder).

Joe Wilcox was criticized by Bradford Washburn after the tragedy for blaming the storm more than anything else for the deaths. Snyder's book was the first to be published about the expedition. Joe Wilcox's White Winds about the expedition published several years after Snyder's book, partly in rebuttle to points in Snyder's account.

Wilcox presents some valid & good arguments, and the bottom line is that the poor guys who perished on the mountain got screwed by a combination of bad luck and bad judgement due to lack of experience with semi-arctic conditions; the disaster wasn't Wilcox's fault.


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