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SNOW IN THE KINGDOM: MY STORM YEARS ON EVEREST Ed Webster 2000 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine [Not Signed]
By Webster, Ed
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Colorado, Mountain Imagery, 2000, 1st edition. 582 pp, 164 color photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

Webster's three Everest expeditions, including the daring 1988 Kangshung Face expedition where Stephen Venables summited.

This is the long-awaited book by Ed Webster about his obsession with climbing Mt Everest, including a West Ridge Direct attempt in 1985, his solo climb of Everest's North Peak, Changtse, in 1986, & the alpine-style ascent of the Kangshung Face in 1988,the descent of which, says Bonington, is 'one of the most remarkable examples of survival in the history of Himalayan mountaineering.' Also included in this book: the story of Tenzing Norgay's childhood, route maps of Everest's 3 faces, 8 climbing route photo diagrams, 152 pages of color photos (also 280 b&w photos), and up-till-now unpublished 1921 & 1924 pictures of Mallory & Odell.

A REVIEW

'The Goddess Mother of the World', This original local name for Mt. Everest should be placed at the center of the experience in order to safely spend time on the flanks of this great mountain. Those who adopt the name Chomolungma also adopt and respect the History, Cultures, and Religions that are an integral part of their journey to these rarified heights. These mountaineers challenge themselves and place their lives in the hands of fate and those they climb with, and in turn accept responsibility for the safety of their team members.

American Mountaineer and rock climber Ed Webster and the men and woman like him climb neither for profit nor pay, and while they accept the danger that is inherent in what they pursue, they always work to minimize the risk. These climbers do not involve themselves with stunts, nor do they bring people to this mountain that have no business being there. They know when to turn back and live to climb again, and while they may not always be perfect, the!ir mistakes are those of competent climbers, not thrill seekers with a checkbook.

So I would suggest this is NOT an Everest book, as it does not chronicle circumstances that lead to the deaths of those who should not be there, were maimed, and died there. Even more distasteful are those books that state as fact brutal criticisms that are not always true, are cruel, and often are the memories of malfunctioning oxygen deprived minds. Ed Webster and his fellow climbers do speak of each being responsible for their own well-being, however their actions on the mountain preclude any possibility of leaving someone to die.

Some of the most renowned Himalayan climbing legends from Sir Edmund Hillary, Reinhold Messner, David Breashears, Chris Bonington, and many others have endorsed this book. Ed Webster and his teammates are considered by these same men to have climbed in a manner that deserves a place with the greatest ascents of Mt. Everest starting with George Mallory and Sandy Irvine.

This 12-year effort of Webster's to write Snow in the Kingdom has produced far more than a book about climbing. It is an autobiography, a biography of others who climbed, a history of Chomolungma, a cultural documentation of very special people, and also of the evils of others who sought to destroy architecture dating to the 13th and 14th Centuries. Mr. Webster experienced the burden and absurdities that are the Chinese who while destroying Tibet were liberating it for reasons no philosophy can explain.

He tells these stories with beautiful, painfully personal and honest prose. He brings us the majesty of the mountain with 150 pages of color photographs, and 282 in black and white. mtnimagery.com provides even more spectacular photographs. 

He also brings you the people he met, the old, the children, and the world they inhabit. With never before published images he will take you along with Mallory and Irvine, what they saw you will see. He will sh!ow you Chomolungma as Mallory saw it from the ground, and how the Space Shuttle viewed the mountain from space. I would imagine the only details that are missing would require a trip to Everest herself. 

The Author has opened his heart to readers. He shares a story at the book's beginning that almost stopped his climbing before he ever accomplished what this book records. He shares a climb when the woman he loved fell, and the hours he held her until she died. 

If you don't feel tears, or emotion rising from your gut as you read of this tragedy, you may be missing some painful but worthwhile emotions. He continued to climb with her always in his thoughts, carrying a scarf or other tangible memory of her. I would imagine that when he faced overwhelming exhaustion where death is not only apparent it seems to be preferred by the hypoxic mind, she helped him get up and climb down.

It is easy to question or reject as reckless these people that go where no one has gone before, who know that any number of nature's whims could strike him or her down. After all the reading I have done, and the correspondence I have been privileged to have, I have my own opinion.

These are the personalities that push to climb higher, dive deeper, fly faster or farther than those who have gone before them. That they gain satisfaction and take pride in what they have done is integral to the privilege they feel for having had the opportunity to try. The true climbers do not always measure their success by whether they made the summit or turned around 300 feet from the top, to continue to live, endanger no one else, and to try again.

The book is a remarkable achievement from its construction to the wisdom it contains. I would hope it becomes reading for all those who consider the challenge and will reflect on whether or not they belong there, whether wives, husbands and children should be left for months while they pursue a climb.

It is a book I !can recommend without any qualification, a reading experience that will educate and enlighten all who read it, be they amongst those who decide to climb, or for those of us who stay closer to sea-level. Magnificent!


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