Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled--and Knuckleheaded--Quest for the Rocky Mountain High

Halfway to Heaven by Mark Obmascik
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's review
Jul 21, 2010

bookshelves: andrea, staff-picks-blog, nonfiction

When Mark Obmascik’s twelve-year-old son came back from summitting a Fourteener and wanted to climb another Fourteener with his father, Obmascik couldn’t resist. The realization that he could still climb mountains led to a greater challenge. He decided to summit the 54 14,000+ foot mountains of Colorado within a year. Each climb is chronicled in varying degress of detail, but the richness of the book comes from his integration of other aspects of climbing culture and the mountains themselves. His wife insists that he never climb alone so his quests for “man-dates” to climb with and the interesting personalities he climbs with provide many an entertaining anecdote. Obmascik also fills out the life stories of the summits’ past with stories of explorers, photographers, climbers, miners and ornery landowners.

Aside from the lack of photographs, I had one other problem with the book. Obmascik is self-deprecating to an extent that I was a little confused about the difficulty of climbing the Fourteeners. While he makes no attempt to romanticize the difficult portions, he also puts down his own fitness and skill level so frequently that I fear I was left with the false impression that if he could do this so could I. Halfway to Heaven is entertaining, interesting and inspiring. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off on a misguided quest for climbing partners. --Andrea

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog

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