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Majestic Mountains

May 12, 2022

It’s springtime again, which means – that’s right, it’s mountain climbing season! If you’ve read this blog for more than five minutes, you know that I enjoy reading books about climbing big mountains. I don’t actually want to go climbing myself – I believe everywhere should have air conditioning and indoor plumbing the way the good Lord intended – but that doesn’t mean I can’t gobble down every book I can find about the subject.

Man, I love me a good climbing book, so I was really excited when I found this one on the New Nonfiction shelf at Main (browsing: it’s not just for the internet anymore). Jim Davidson is a lifelong alpinist (i.e. mountain climber) who found himself on Everest in 2015 in the middle of the 7.8 Gorkhe earthquake. Luckily, he and his climbing team were able to be airlifted off the mountain and made it safely home. 18 climbers – mostly those at base camp who were buried by the avalanche – were not so fortunate. But in 2017, Jim came back to try again. This book gives you two trips for the price of one. Jim talks about his aborted trip, more for what he saw across Nepal after such a major incident as he made his way home, in addition to his 2017 attempt. If you’ve ever imagined standing on top of the world, check this one out. Once I started it, I didn’t want to put it down.

Reading The Next Everest lead me to requesting The Ledge by the same author. Before he ever attempted Everest, Davidson and his buddy set off to climb Mt. Rainier near Seattle. This is the story of that hellish climb. On the descent, Davidson loses his footing and slides into a ravine, pulling his friend in behind him. This is the gut-wrenching story of how he got out. I have to say that if this had happened to me, there was a very good chance that I would be done climbing. It is a haunting, if powerful, story that has stayed with me. Tackle this one if you dare, but maybe have a Kleenex on hand.

I thought I used up all my good mountain climbing luck with finding Davidson’s book, but imagine my delight when I saw this one on the new shelf as well. I’ve read a decent number of books about climbers, but this is the first one that was by a chick climber. I can’t believe that O’Brien decided to start climbing on what was basically a whim and then went on to master all Seven Summits, both poles and K2. I also can’t believe how understanding her husband was, and all he got out of it was a vacation in Maine and a boat. I thought at the beginning that this was going to be more of a motivational book because she kept talking about her life in business (at GE blah blah blah), but thankfully she quickly moved more into mountain climbing. An excellent read that captivated me from the (almost) beginning.

So if you are tired of sitting at home and need a little adventure, but don’t want to put your life on the line, check these out.

Happy alpining...
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.