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Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season | [Nick Heil]

Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season

In early May 2006, a young British climber named David Sharp lay dying near the top of Mount Everest while forty other climbers walked past him on their way to the summit. A week later, Lincoln Hall, a seasoned Australian climber, was left for dead near the same spot. Hall's death was reported around the world, but the next day he was found alive after spending the night on the upper mountain with no food and no shelter.
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Publisher's Summary

In early May 2006, a young British climber named David Sharp lay dying near the top of Mount Everest while forty other climbers walked past him on their way to the summit. A week later, Lincoln Hall, a seasoned Australian climber, was left for dead near the same spot. Hall's death was reported around the world, but the next day he was found alive after spending the night on the upper mountain with no food and no shelter.

If David Sharp's death was shocking, it was not singular: despite unusually good weather, ten others died attempting to reach the summit that year.

In this meticulous inquiry into what went wrong, Nick Heil tells the full story of the deadliest year on Everest since the infamous season of 1996. He introduces Russell Brice, the outfitter who has done more than anyone to provide access to the summit via the mountain's north side---and who some believe was partially responsible for Sharp's death. As more climbers attempt the summit each year, Heil shows how increasingly risky expeditions and unscrupulous outfitters threaten to turn Everest into a deadly circus.

Written by an experienced climber and outdoor writer, Dark Summit is both a riveting account of a notorious climbing season and a troubling investigation into whether the pursuit of the ultimate mountaineering prize has spiraled out of control.

©2008 Nick Heil; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Here is humanity itself, personified in exemplary fashion by Nick Heil, addressing the Everest culture's lack of compassion and coming up with the right answers." (Bob Shacochis, author of The Immaculate Invasion)
Through rock-solid reporting and vital prose, Heil leads us up into this rarefied world, step by hypoxic step." (Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (356 )
5 star
 (124)
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4.2 (205 )
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Story
4.1 (207 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    John Roaring Gap, NC, United States 03-02-14
    John Roaring Gap, NC, United States 03-02-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
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    "Extreme environment causes extreme behavior"

    Well written account of the deaths during the Everest 2006 season. Shows the behavior of people in an extreme environment. To understand the human race it helps to know how people act in real situations. This factual story portrays a sadness of what occurred with some hope that someone will try to do whats right. If you want to know about what could happen study what has happened.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michel 02-07-14
    Michel 02-07-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    73
    5
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    "Great story!"

    Excellent to get into understanding the challenges from Everest. Incredible parts on survival. Very educational as well. Loved it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vernon ROYSE CITY, TX, United States 04-17-13
    Vernon ROYSE CITY, TX, United States 04-17-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    5
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    "An exploration of mortality"
    What did you love best about Dark Summit?

    The frank discussion of the relative ease that humans can expire


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The preserve nice of Hall when everyone else thought he was dead.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PJ Eustis, FL, United States 11-30-12
    PJ Eustis, FL, United States 11-30-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    14
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    "Interesting"

    I enjoyed this book, even if I got a little lost with all of the various persons from all over the world. It was a fascinating look at tragedy on Everest (yet again). I changed my mind about how I felt and thought about certain aspects of that situation based on this book. The in-depth analysis of all the factors was excellent. (I'm trying not to reveal too much here in case people don't know the story). This book was not as well-written as "Into Thin Air", but it was still good and definitely worth the credit. It held the interest of both my husband and me. The narrator does a good job with the different accents, which helps a bit with keeping people straight.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsey Lexington, SC, United States 08-28-12
    Lindsey Lexington, SC, United States 08-28-12
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    "Pretty good book"
    What did you like best about Dark Summit? What did you like least?

    I'm not sure, it wasn't a bad book but I didn't have anything I loved.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    ehh


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't know all that went on during that climbing season. It was interesting to hear about and I would recommend this book if you want to know more about the dangers of Mt. Everest.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Smith 08-22-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
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    Story
    "Fascinating!"
    What did you love best about Dark Summit?

    The way the story was presented


    What other book might you compare Dark Summit to and why?

    Into Thin Air


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When a certain hiker returned to camp.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The morality question of helping hikers who are in trouble in an impossible situation


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 08-17-12
    Ryan 08-17-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Profound"

    This book was enthralling, and the story was extremely powerful to me. This book put you into the mind of people making simple decisions that would affect themselves and others in ways that they could have never imagined. This is an amazing partner to into thin air.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Niel CEDAR HILLS, UT, United States 07-19-12
    Niel CEDAR HILLS, UT, United States 07-19-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Into Thin Air, but still compelling"

    I read "Into Thin Air" and was completely caught up in the romance and destruction of Mt. Everest. I was looking for more on the topic, and came across this book. Nick Heil does a good job with the story, there is nothing wrong with this book...but there is nothing magical either.

    Krackauer spoke from first hand experience. He as on the mountain, on the trail, in the middle of the storm, and his account was utterly compelling. Nick Heil researched this book, and did a fine job of it, but you can tell it's missing that personal element of actually experienced these events.

    With that said, if you enjoy Everest stories, and find the commercialization of the mountain a disturbing, if fascinating, subject. This book is worth the listen. The research is excellent, and while the writing won't draw you in the way some do...it won't turn you off either. And in a way, these are stories that tell themselves. The moral dilemma inherent in climbing at 27,000 feet and seeing others who need saving makes for compelling human drama. Just because it doesn't meet the standard of the other book, doesn't mean it's not worth your time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 04-23-12
    Nancy 04-23-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book"
    If you could sum up Dark Summit in three words, what would they be?

    revealing, fascinating, carefully researched


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    narrator


    Which character – as performed by David Drummond – was your favorite?

    there were no characters in this book--it was a true story


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    This event has always fascinated me, probably because Beck Wethers is an ordinary radiologist from Dallas and I live not far away. I never knew mountain climbing could be so hard or dangerous. I lost a colleague several years ago because he literally fell off a mountain.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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