Thursday, October 11, 2007
Today's useless fact - How many dead bodies are up on Mount Everest?
Mount Everest is both the highest mountain and the highest graveyard in the world. As of 2002, 175 climbers had died on the mountain, and the vast majority of these bodies were left behind. There are reported to be at least 41 bodies on the north side of Everest.
Some people simply run out of gas on the trail and freeze to death in place. Others are consumed by avalanches. And, as veteran mountaineer David Breashears points out, removing dead bodies from this elevation is an enormous task.
Breashears describes how it took a team of 12 people eight hours to move the body of one dead Taiwanese man down a portion of the mountain. The high altitude, low oxygen, fierce winds, and intense cold make the trip extremely challenging even for an unencumbered person, so few climbers attempt to take the bodies of the deceased back with them.
Some bodies are lost forever on Everest. During the tragic May 1996 expeditions when eight people died in a freak storm near the summit, two of the bodies were never found. To further complicate matters, the local Sherpas, the people most adept at climbing the mountain and transporting gear up and back, are wary of dead bodies and don't like to go near them. Check out the links in our Mount Everest category for more.
One thrid of all deaths on Everest have been Sherpas. They are at great risk supplying the camps and preparing the route. Sherpas are the true heroes on Everest. One third of all deaths on the mountain have been Sherpas but one rarely learns of this. To learn more about this amazing tribe that makes climbing Everest possible, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter's point of view.
Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to www.beyondthesummit-novel.com
Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer
Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
Richard Blake for Readers Views.
A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.com
A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review
LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera
LeBlanc's vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week
A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.com
This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended."
-- John (college professor)
Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialogue. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA
This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels
Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It's a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)
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