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Seven Summits

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,567 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Two Undaunted Men Frank Wells was the head of a major motion picture studio. Dick Bass had made his fortune as an energy and resort entrepreneur. In middle age, both men left behind home, family, and successful careers to share an impossible dream. Seven Unconquered Summits The challenge: be the first to climb the highest mountain on each of seven continents, from McKinley ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 1st 1988 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1986)
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Mar 01, 2016 Stephanie rated it did not like it
While this story sounded like a tale of adventure and action and personal struggles overcome by amazing individuals, it fell embarrassingly short in every important aspect.
How it's written: the prose is hard to get past - there is no complexity or variety of sentence structure, it is mostly run-on sentences with awkward phrasing, and it cannot decide which voice it should be written in. It's as though you are reading a transcript of a conversation with a seven-year-old. You will certainly get th
Feb 08, 2013 Erin rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book because it made the accomplishments of the two climbers seem accessible (at least physically) to anyone who had the desire. I struggled, however, with the ghost writing aspect. Rick Ridgeway wrote about the emotions and minutiae of every climb with the same level of detail, regardless of whether he was actually present. I suspect there was more creative license taken than I'm comfortable with. It took a lot of ego and money to do what Dick Bass and Jim Wells did, but it also ...more
Jul 11, 2016 Katrin rated it it was amazing
I spontaneously took this from a free bookshelf in Amsterdam. What a surprise: It was a fantastic read! I love books about mountain climbers, and this one was especially well written. Of course it is so appealing because it is about two men who up until then (the book is from the 80s) had absolutely nothing to do with climbing, but then they decide to climb the Seven Summits (the highest peak on every continent) and be the first men to do that.
They were not entirely like you and me, however: Fra
I bought this in the early 1990s before I really knew what I was getting into. It is the story of two wealthy businessmen and their journeys around the world to reach the summits of all seven earthly continents. It arguably kicked off the modern trend of adventure tourism, where these kinds of adventures came within reach of rich neophytes.

With that said, the fact that Dick Bass became the oldest person to summit Mt. Everest to that date is worth noting.

The book is an interesting, anecdotal acco
Aug 24, 2011 Alexis rated it liked it
I might like these guys in real life. But in the book they come off as insolent jerks. The book captures the determination needed to perform feats like this but there are plenty of people who have the same level of determination and are actually, you know, mountaineers who know what they're doing and don't have gobs of money to pay people to get them up to the summits or solve their problems.
Aug 09, 2008 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: mountaineering
Slow & steady (& tons of $) will get you to the top
Harold Carlson
Aug 29, 2013 Harold Carlson rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. For me the momentum kept building and I finally got to a point where I had to read the rest of the book without taking a break.

It is not the best written mountaineering book (I am referring to writing style) I read but it is a great story and some of the characters will be very familiar to folks that have read other books in this genre. The main characters, Dick Bass and Frank Wells are quite entertaining. It is hard to believe that Frank never died during on
Chad Sayban
Two wealthy men concoct a plan to achieve something never done before – to scale the highest peak on each of the seven continents. These two middle-aged men are not experienced climbers. Undaunted, they leave their families and careers behind and embark on a quest to accomplish the unthinkable. But McKinley, Kilimanjaro and Everest don’t give up their summits easily and even surviving the journey might be in question before the end.

It is obvious right from the start that Dick Bass and Frank Wel
Bill Flanagan
Dec 30, 2013 Bill Flanagan rated it liked it
Interesting and inspiring story about two wealthy businessmen that set out to be the first to summit the highest peak on each of the seven continents. One made it (Dick Bass), while the other (Frank Wells) made six out of the seven (his wife insisted that he not try for Everest a third time - he wasn't the strongest climber, so probably a wise call). The most exciting part of the book was the description of Dick Bass finally reaching the summit of Everest on the third try. The book does a great ...more
Feb 23, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Next to "The Complete Walker", this is my favorite mountaineering book. The story of Dick Bass and Frank Wells to become the first people to summit the highest mountain on each continent is an amazing story. Also, since Dick Bass was solidly in his 50's when the story starts and Frank Wells had never climbed a real mountain, it is even a better story. After reading this book, I had the pleasure to meet Dick Bass - and he is clearly a modern "man's man" and I salute his ability to accomplish his ...more
Jul 05, 2008 Nikie rated it it was amazing
while on my mountain kick here this book was recommended to my by my Dad who is a great hiker, and inspired him to hike the 27 summits of Utah. (27 counties in Utah he hiked the talles peaks in each county) I accompanied him on almost all of them. What a tell of two over 40 men who accomplish the task to summit the 7 summits of the world. What a great tell. Dick Bass is an oil tycone and formor owner of Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah and is friend Frank Wells who has sinced died was the former Pres ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Erika rated it really liked it
These men climbed so many mountains, it was hard to keep all of the different stories straight. You don't get a lot of details about the grueling conditions and discomfort that you get in other adventure/survival stories, but there was still enough suspense to make you not want to put the book down. The insights into how these extreme adventurers think and act was very interesting, and I was disabused of the notion that the men were simply having a mid-life crisis and decided they are just of a ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Erin rated it liked it
I'm an armchair adventurer--at least when it comes to mountain climbing. This book provided some thrills, some sadness, some triumph, a lot of humanness. But it didn't provide a lot of nailbiting. The writer's age (or maybe generation is a better word) means the writing is very formal, highly structured, and repeated conversations have an air of reconstruction, rather than spontaneous capture. I'm always impressed with people who set goals and strive towards them, whether they 100% conquer them ...more
Jan 04, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Two very wealthy and successful businessmen embark upon a dream to conquer the highest summits on all seven continents in the early 80's.

The trials and travails from, not only a physical standpoint, but from a purely logistical standpoint hamper their every effort (especially concerning Everest as this was before it was inundated with amateur climbers and their professional guides).

The two men, both in their early fifties, both of who had only a small amount of mountaineering experience show w
Feb 12, 2012 Cameron rated it liked it
An adventure novel detailing the true story of two millionaire businessmen racing to be the first to scale the seven summits. This is an easy read and the climbing accounts are engaging, particularly the Vinson ascent and the final Everest expedition. But it's had to overlook the fact these two men had no prior climbing resume and were simply wealthy enough to be hauled up these remote peaks by the world's best alpinists.
Oct 23, 2015 Clint rated it really liked it
I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat. I loved it! Such a fun book to read. you are always moving to a new place with new situations, difficulties and circumstances. I got very attached the these guys and felt their struggles and successes. The writing made me feel like I was in the tent or on the mountain with them. If you like adventures, mountaineering, and a great story...this is a good one!
Sharon Watkins
Aug 01, 2012 Sharon Watkins rated it really liked it
In the early 80's, Dick Bass and Frank Wells were two 50-ish businessmen who hatched a plan to be the first to climb the highest mountains on each continents. They were, at most, recreational climbers and without extensive backgrounds in mountaineering. It's a great story, and Dick Bass was a serious badass.
Sep 02, 2008 Marisa rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. I didn't think that I would, I read it as part of a book club and I was not excited about it. But as soon as I started it, I loved it. I don't know anything about mountain climbing, but you don't have to. This is a story about achieving dreams, setting goals and pushing yourself when you don't think you can anymore. It is inspiring and I am glad I read it.
Patagonia  Books
Dec 21, 2012 Patagonia Books rated it it was amazing
Frank Wells was the head of a major motion picture studio. Dick Bass had made his fortune as an energy and resort entrepreneur. In middle age, both men left home, family, and successful careers to share an impossible dream: be the first to climb the highest mountain on each of seven continents, from McKinley to Kilimanjaro to Everest. Fantastic story.
Liz Pryor
Apr 20, 2014 Liz Pryor rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Great book!! Gave enough background to be able to understand the events and the climbs themselves without getting bogged down in history or geography lessons. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good nonfiction.
Jan 08, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
I first read this with a book club and enjoyed it. It details a group who sets a goal to climb the 7 highest peaks in the world. Learned a little about climbing but also some things about human nature.
Linda Webb
Jan 31, 2012 Linda Webb rated it liked it
Recommended to Linda by: David Webb
I enjoyed the book. It's a good story of the attempt to make the seven summits in one year. I never realized the extent of planning, organization, to make these summits. The physical and emotional demands were great, especially for these two men who were 50+. The writing could have been improved.
John Boettcher
Aug 10, 2013 John Boettcher rated it really liked it
One of the better mountaineering books I have ever read. This book inspired me to begin mountain climbing and rock climbing in high school and still is one of the most remarkable stories to this day. It is a testament to the power of determination and willpower.
Aug 19, 2008 Matt rated it it was ok
The subject matter is far more interesting than the book. Dick Bass was first person to make it to the summits of the highest peaks on all seven continents. He also founded Snowbird ski resort in Utah.
Feb 18, 2008 Ann rated it really liked it
My favorite part of this book was the sentence describing how Bass takes a one-hour "side trip" to Kala Pattar - the same peak I didn't make it all the way up and it took Sean the better part of the morning to do. Oh well . . .
Mar 01, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it
More than just a book about climbing the peaks. It is a book about the desire of man to overcome obstacles - some natural and obvious and others brought on by loss of friends. Triumphant success scarred with some tragic heartbreaks.
Rich Beal
Dec 24, 2011 Rich Beal rated it liked it
I had a hard time getting past the fact that none of this would have been possible without hundreds of thousands of dollars. 'Normal people' couldn't do something like this. It was nonetheless inspiring, but I'll take the AT over Everest any day.
Apr 07, 2010 Maura rated it it was ok
The storyline of two average Joes setting out to climb the world's tallest 7 mountains was interesting enough but the narration was flat and frustrating. And the way one of the two blunders on with minimal training and wavering determination was just too annoying. Couldn't finish it.
Long Ranger
Feb 16, 2014 Long Ranger rated it did not like it
Sep 09, 2008 Vernie rated it it was amazing
This book is making the rounds of anyone associated with us as hikers. Amazing story!
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