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Forever on the Mountain | [James Tabor]

Forever on the Mountain

In the summer of 1967, an Arctic hurricane trapped seven veteran climbers, members of Joe Wilcox's 12-man expedition, at 20,000 feet on Alaska's Mount McKinley. Ten days passed while the storm raged. Despite the availability of massive resources, no rescue was mounted, and all seven men died. The tragedy was one of the most controversial, bitterly contested, and mysterious tragedies in all of mountaineering history.
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Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1967, an Arctic hurricane trapped seven veteran climbers, members of Joe Wilcox's 12-man expedition, at 20,000 feet on Alaska's Mount McKinley. Ten days passed while the storm raged. Despite the availability of massive resources, no rescue was mounted, and all seven men died. The tragedy was one of the most controversial, bitterly contested, and mysterious tragedies in all of mountaineering history.

No bodies were ever recovered. No cameras, diaries, or films shed light on the climbers' final agonizing days. Yet agenda-driven critics and officials fearing lawsuits pronounced self-serving verdicts. Further obscuring the truth, two prominent expedition members offered conflicting versions of the catastrophe.

Through interviews with those involved, unpublished correspondence and diaries, and sensitive government documents, James M. Tabor uncovered an array of new information: a feud with the expedition leader, Joe Wilcox; a stillborn rescue operation thwarted by the Park Service bureaucracy; and the heroic efforts made by other civilian climbers. To interpret the details, he consulted experts in disciplines as diverse as forensics, meteorology, and psychology.

In the end, Tabor has pieced together for the first time the complete, untold story of this expedition, whose victims and survivors both remain, in many ways, forever on the mountain.

©2007 James Tabor; (P)2007 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"An often gripping, detailed account." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (57 )
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4.2 (20 )
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3.9 (18 )
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  •  
    Art Greensboro, nc 08-22-07
    Art Greensboro, nc 08-22-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tabor pulled it off!"

    I hesitated a long time before pulling the trigger on this title. While I am a not a mountain climber I am a fan of classics on the topic such as Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." So I was interested in this book.

    What had me worried was the fact that the book was based on second-hand accounts as no personal effects of any of the victims of the tragedy were recovered. More significantly, the tragedy happened over 40 years ago so the recollections and records of those involved can be expected to be further compromised. Finally several books and articles have been written about this event and I wondered what more this book could offer.

    I just finished listening to the book and I can say that despite these challenges, the author met the objectives which he spelled out in the introduction. Mainly to objectively examine all the facts related to the incident to better understand excatly what happened and perhaps to better understand why.

    I enjoyed the book for several reasons:
    1. As always, Scott Brick's narration is excellent.
    2. The author is a mountain climber and does a masterful job of filling in gaps in information and in describing what conditions on the mountain would have been like.
    3. Reference to scientific and medical information related to leadership, team dynamics and high altitude physiology make what otherwise could have been a dry repetition of times and events enganging.
    4. The author did an excellent job of summarizing a large amount of information, making it interesting and in the end helping the listener understand what happened on that fateful July in 1967.

    A good listen for fans of mountaineering or real life drama stories.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Buckingham 11-17-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good back, distracting narration"

    First off, I got this book primarily because Scott Brick was the narrator (In the Heart of the Sea is probably the best narrated book ever, IMO) but he tries way to hard to make the story more interesting which it already is. His emphasis on some words and phrases is so distracting that I laughed out loud sometimes. Good book though once you get used to his style. I thought maybe it was the author so I went to the bookstore and read some. Not sure what Scott was trying to do with this one...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sunshine Rowley New Fairfield, CT 10-24-07
    Sunshine Rowley New Fairfield, CT 10-24-07 Member Since 2003
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    "Absolutely addictive"

    This book falls outside my normal genre, but with Scott Brick narrating and feeling adventurous I decided to give it a try and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. My wife and I were completely drawn in by the rich story telling and absolutely enthralled by the adventure itself - we found ourselves listening long into the night. Captivating, hypnotic, inspiring!!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Lance Murfreesboro, TN United States 11-30-09
    Don Lance Murfreesboro, TN United States 11-30-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Interesting story, but long on analysis"

    I like reading stories about high adventure, and learning how people have overcome wilderness challenges. So I chose this story as it describes a historical event with this theme, and postulates what may have happened to the men who never came back from Mt McKinley.

    The book provides a good background on the people involved and the difficulties of climbing Mt McKinley. The public usually considers places like Everest to be incredibly dangerous. The book helps to educate you that Mt McKinley is just as dangerous to ascend.

    I enjoyed the book, and thought the narrator performed wonderfully. However, toward the end the book seemed to "drag" with a lot of guesses of what may have happened. Obviously the author sought to be comprehensive in examining the causes of the disaster. But sometimes this led to an "over-analysis" in my opinion. The fact is that we will never really know unless some additional definitive evidence surfaces.

    While I enjoyed the book, its length of "analysis" at the end made it difficult for me to finish.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Smail Summerville, SC United States 12-01-13
    S. Smail Summerville, SC United States 12-01-13 Member Since 2013

    A 32 year old with a painfully short attention span. Audio books brought me back to reading.

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    "Fascinating Book, Fantastic Narration"

    If you want to read a book that will make you want to reach through the pages (or speakers I suppose) and strangle someone, this is the book for you! Listening to the absolutely ridiculous rescue attempt (or lack thereof) frustrated me beyond belief. I just kept thinking that if this guy wasn't such an idiot or that guy would just do his job then they might have survived. So I guess you could say I got fairly immersed in the story.

    I was a little hesitant to get this book because although Scott Brick is my favorite narrator ever, a lot of people have criticized his performance saying that he tried too hard to make it interesting or went over the top. I decided to give it a go anyway and the entire time I was waiting for this melodramatic reading to begin and it never did. To me it sounded no different than the way he narrated Helter Skelter, In Cold Blood or The Devil in the White City.

    And lastly because I'm not above a bit of childish name calling, Bradford Washburn was such a jerk. Talk about kicking a guy while he's down... and then jumping on him for good measure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wink23 United States 07-22-13
    wink23 United States 07-22-13 Member Since 2012
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    23
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    Story
    "Distracting narration"
    Any additional comments?

    I'm almost finished with the book but came here to see if anyone else was a little put off by the narration. So it's not just me! I've loved Scott Brick's narration every other time I've heard him, but this time he's over the top. The story is dramatic enough without "help."

    Aside from that, it is indeed a dramatic and interesting story. I may buy the paper book for a re-read, especially if it contains the photographs described by the author. I've scoured the net looking for them and no luck.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon MONTVALE, NJ, United States 04-23-12
    Sharon MONTVALE, NJ, United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2011

    njjiants

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    "Not your typical climbing story"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It was too long and there were too many different people which made it confusing to listen to.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Not sure.


    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas Farmington, UT, USA 08-22-07
    Nicholas Farmington, UT, USA 08-22-07
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    "Trys too hard......"

    um, where can i begin; this book was good, it had great information about the incident but the narator tries way too hard to make it sound interesting and he came off hard for me to listen to....with that said it seems to me that the author is trying to do some of the climbers justice for writing this. It was a good book other than the narration was not as good as I have heard in the past...

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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