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Item #: BK395-7655
REGIONS OF THE HEART: THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF ALISON HARGREAVES Ed Douglas and David Rose 2000 1st US ed New Hardcover Multiple Copies Available
By Douglas, Ed and David Rose
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D.C., National Geographic Society, 2000, 1st US edition. 304 pp, photos. New Hardcover with Dust Jacket. (We purchased these new 18 years ago!)

Alison Hargreaves, a mother of two small children, died after climbing Everest and K2. She was roundly criticized, while men like Alex Lowe carry a lighter moral burden. This sympathetic biography examines her life and her motives for climbing.

Alison Hargreaves perished with five others in 1995 in a hurricane-force storm on her descent from the summit of K2, the world's second highest peak. Only 33 years old, she'd successfully scaled Everest five months earlier without the aid of oxygen the first woman to do so. Drawing on Hargreaves's diaries and interviews with family members and acquaintances, British journalist-climbers David Rose and Ed Douglas trace her evolution from an energetic teenager who dreams of being the best female climber in the world to the person she is on her ascent of K2: a driven woman criticized in the British press for egotism and a lack of good judgment (she did, after all, climb the famously difficult Eigerwand in the Alps during the second term of pregnancy).

"It eats away at me wanting the children and wanting K2," she wrote in her journal. "I feel like I'm being pulled in two. Maybe they'd be happier if Mum was around but maybe summiting K2 would help make a better future for them'' By any standard, Alison Hargreaves was a world-class mountaineer. In May 1995, she reached the summit of Mount Everest without support or bottled oxygen. No other woman and few men had climbed the mountain in such a strong style, and the accomplishment made Hargreaves an international climbing star.

Less than three months later she was dead, killed by a sudden, violent storm shortly after struggling to the top of K2, second in height to Everest but a more dangerous challenge. In the emotional public reaction to this tragedy, her triumphs were suddenly eclipsed by controversy. Instead of eulogies, her death was greeted by anger: How dare the mother of two young children risk her life and her family's future on so deadly an undertaking? Was her lifelong passion for climbing a badge of courage or the mark of supreme irresponsibility? Should she be remembered as a superlative mountaineer or as an immature and selfish woman? It was a bitter end to an extraordinary and misunderstood career.

In Regions of the Heart, David Rose and Ed Douglas set the record straight, presenting a thoughtful, compelling portrait of Hargreaves that restores her reputation while acknowledging her shortcomings and lapses of judgement. They show us a woman who found freedom and fulfillment on the steep faces of some of the world's most forbidding mountains, a wife trapped in an increasingly troubled marriage, and a mother who sought literally to climb her way to financial security a desperate gamble for which she would ultimately pay with her life. Short-listed for the prestigious Banff Mountain Literature grand prize, Regions of the Heart is a story of unparalleled adventure and a vivid glimpse of the intensely competitive, always perilous world of men and women who are never more than a single step away from death. Readers will finish this book both saddened and inspired, with a new understanding of Alison Hargreaves and the true challenges she struggled bravely to overcome.


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