Terri Proctor's Reviews > Peak

Peak by Roland Smith
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Jul 17, 12

Read in July, 2012

Peak by Roland Smith is a fiction book that takes you into the world of a climber. You learn their mind set and culture as Roland leads you through a journey of a fourteen year old boy, Peak, deciding if he too wants to be obsessed with this trade or not. Published in 2007, the youngest climber of Mount Everest at this time was a sixteen year old.
The initial setting of this story is New York City, New York. Here Peak is caught scaling a building. He was found to be the culprit of several taggied buildings. In order to avoid the onslaught of media and potential jail time, Peak’s biological father, Josh, stops a climbing expedition and claims responsibility for Peak’s rearing; something he has had nothing to do with for around ten years. Josh takes Peak to Nepal, but does not tell him initially that he is going to climb Mt. Everest.
Roland Smith fully exposes the climbing culture on the mountain. He vivdly describes commercial climbing operations staked out on the physical mountain. At these camps are individual tents, mess hall tents, physicians, and camera crews. He explains the dangers that exist in these locations, and how climbers “climb high and sleep low” in order to acclimatize themselves. Being eager can cost a person their life.
Once on the mountain Josh introduces Peak to his own operation/business, Peak Experience, in which Peak feels some pride over. Josh has expeditions ready to go, and they are waiting on their leader to take them up the mountain. The name of this game is whichever expedition has the highest success rate, in numbers of climbers summiting and their health, will receive the greatest publicity and thus more expeditions in which people pay high dollars to experience. Peak puts it together that another publicity stunt would be him summiting Everest, making him the youngest person on top. Knowing this, he doesn’t know if his dad rescued him to save him or for his own business benefit. To make the event even more complicated their main Sherpa, Zopa, has a grandson, Shun-Jo, that is also fourteen and wants him to summit as well. Peak has to decide if he wants this bad enough and why. He has some time to think about this as they climb up the north side of the mountain. He listens to his mom’s advice, and makes an unselfish decision allowing Sun-Jo to summit and sends him returning to his true family in New York as soon as possible.
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