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The Other Side of Everest: Climbing the North Face Through the Killer Storm

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  45 reviews
This riveting account of Everest's most technically challenging face during the infamous 1996 killer storm has a new Introduction focusing the discovery of Andrew Irvine's frozen body.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 2nd 2000 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published 1999)
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Janet Palmer My understanding is that they are the essentially the same book. Death Zone was republished as The Other Side of Everest.

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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  579 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I guess I keep looking for another Into Thin Air. I remember the experience of reading it for the first time, of literally being unable to put it down, ignoring a large pile of end of term marking and staying up all night. The natural human drama combines with Krakauer's storytelling to form a masterpiece. And I keep hoping for that literary rush again. Unfortunately The Other Side of Everest did not provide me that rush. It is no Into Thin Air. That said, I did enjoy reading it. Knowing the sto ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Disclaimer: I rarely write reviews for anything, so this may be rambling and disjointed. Fair warning.

The Other Side of Everest: Climbing the North Face Through the Killer Storm by writer and film-maker Matt Dickinson was an interesting, well-written book, and it held my interest throughout, though it was a bit on the short side. Overall the book was an enjoyable read, however I had a few issues with it.

1) I chose this book because the blurb seemed to indicate that it would include the story of
Alain Dewitt
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
I found this book in the MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) facility of Camp Cole here in Tarin Kowt. Having read Jon Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air' and Anatoli Boukreev's rebuttal, 'The Climb', and having enjoyed both - as well as being a notorious MWR book thief - I grabbed it.

Matt Dickinson is a adventure documentary filmmaker. In 1996 he was approached by a British TV network about filming actor Brian Blessed's third attempt at climbing Everest. As fate would have it Dickinson and the members
Susan Liston
Yet ANOTHER account of the 1996 Everest tragedy, although as the author was climbing the north side, he doesn't really have much to add to the Hall/Fisher episode. He does give more details about the three Indian climbers who were killed on the north side, who are usually just a footnote in the south side accounts. The first part is biographical, and once again, here is the poor long-suffering wife who needs a good cast iron skillet and an alibi. I could go off on men who should never get marrie ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I read an Everest survival book, I feel like quitting my job and going to stand at Base Camp with a sandwich board sign reading WHAT ARE YOU DOING - EVEREST IS LITTERED WITH BODIES -
YOU WILL LITERALLY STEP OVER THEM AS YOU CLIMB - TURN BACK NOW. But for some reason, although these books upset and infuriate me, I keep reading them. Since not all survival books are of the same quality, such reading experiences are often frustrating on multiple levels. Fortunately, this was a solid read.
Solid addition to the (many) 1996 Everest as it focuses on the events on the Northern route. Dickinson handles the drama that came from the North side well (the Japanese climbers who did not stop to help Indian climbers who had attempted to summit on the day of the storm). As a film maker with limited climbing experience, he represents those who were shocked the Japanese did not attempt a rescue before his own summit attempt. But after his own experience in the death zone (and seeing where the b ...more
Cheryl L English
I held my breath throughout the final ascent

Wow, this story is riveting. The detail is splendid, much more than any other Everest books I've read. I felt that I'd climbed this mountain right beside Matt! And good grief, the descent as well. I looked up photos on the web to grasp the route, the Steps and ridge; who does this for fun? It seems utterly impossible.
Sally Edsall
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: everest, travel
I read this after Krakauer and Boukreev's stories, and found it every bit as gripping. Must admit to having become a fanatical armchair Everesteer, and it has to be a pretty bad book to not hold my interest (Lene Gammelgard manages though!) And, yes, it is called 'The Death Zone' in the English and Australian editions at least.
Maggie Jean
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I haven't even finished this book, but it is an engrossing true tale of what happened in 1996 on the other side of Everest. Love how Dickinson writes. He gets more personal and is great at showing the reader how it looked and felt during his climb. I want to read more from him.
Brynley H-W
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good companion read to "Into Thin Air."
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Matt Dickinson, a British adventure film director, was hired to shoot a film about the attempt of British actor Brian Blessed to climb Mount Everest. The year was 1996 -- an infamous year on Everest in which 12 people died, including two very experienced and world famous guide-climbers. Dickison's expedition climbed from the North side, the other side from where most of the casualties occurred. Blessed dropped out halfway up the mountain, and the focus of the film shifted to another climber. Sur ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
The accounts of the climb in this book are interesting, and I must admit that I was riveted by certain parts, flipping back to check the handy maps within earlier sections to better understand the geography and difficulties of the North Face. That said, the emotional drama is thin, irritating, and full of cliche. It's not exactly Dickinson's fault, he just isn't a particularly strong writer. The result is that the sections detailing his wandering tendencies, his marital issues, and the disappoin ...more
Kelly Clingman
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I started this book almost a year ago. I put it down after reading a little less than half of it. I picked it back up months and months later. I am glad I did. The men and women who even attempt to climb to the highest reaches of the world are insane, yet strong, beautiful giants to me. Their strength and sheer will to achieve the unachievable is awe inspiring. While the first half of the book, which I struggled through, is about Matt Dickinson's personal life, the second half is super...and har ...more
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book seems like it was written by two different people. The beginning is a hokey account of the author's personal and professional life, which I didn't think was written well (I usually don't favor English writers). The last third part of the book was excellent. As the author focused on the challenges of the actual climb, I didn't want to put the book down. His account was full of descriptive words and allowed the reader to appreciate the physical climb. My favorite line was, "Sunset must h ...more
Evan Fallon
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This books starts in a small town below Everest in Nepal, they travel by car to the base and then the mountain is the setting for the rest of the book. Jon, Brain, and Al are the main characters along with the sherpas and other teams that made the journey and tried to climb the mountain. This story is about a group of guys trying to climb Mount Everest in order to make a film, they face many hardships, and a deadly storm, and in the end only a couple actually reach the summit, and get to say the ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Matt Dickinson was hired by the BBC to produce a movie about a British celebrity's attempt to climb Everest. Matt had quite a bit of adventure/expedition experience but was he really capable of scaling Everest? No spoiler alert necessary - the opening pages of the book tell us that he made it. I've read numerous books about Everest but this one was unique in that it really gives you a sense of what the experience is like. Physical and psychological challenges, boredom, fear, elation. The disgust ...more
Margaret M.
Matt Dickinson's novel of his climb on the North Face of Everest seems like a much more personal memoir than that Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." The real guts of this recollection is not just that a person with limited mountain climbing experience wrote it, but that he had gone to the North Face of Everest, a side of the mountain not often successfully climbed. It is the same route followed by George Mallory and Sandy Irvine in June 1924. It was assumed that both men had fallen off this side ei ...more
Quite frankly I found the author to be annoying, which ruined it for me. He writes condescendingly towards the locals and their habits compared to other authors I've read, and uses overly flowery metaphors about the mountain. I was annoyed that he hardly touched on his descent from the summit... even if it wasn't "dramatic" I still think it warranted at least a page. Suddenly he's back at Kathmandu and it's a bit jarring. Many points are paraphrased from other more interesting sources. The high ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Really interesting to read a North Face point of view of the storm, even though the climbers depicted in this book weren't directly involved in the tragedy.

At times Dickinson's writing was a little heavy on the adjective use, but overall I didn't mind it and think he's a better writer than many of the others who have also authored books about Everest. For whatever reason, I find the 1996 killer storm and Everest climbing in general, fascinating. This was a good companion read to books such as "
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another view of the 1996 year on Everest. Very different than Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air' in that Dickinson's group was on the North Face, but his story is just as compelling and perhaps a better account of what it is like to actually summit. Dickinson does narrate the disaster of Fischer and Hall's expeditions during May of '96 and his views of what happened are very insightful and significant. But 'The Other Side of Everest' concentrates on his own successful summit and film project and everyth ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another great addition to the Everest accounts of that fateful storm that killed so many on the South face. Look, Jon Krakauer's book is my favorite. It drew me in and left me craving more. Matt Dickinson's novel is the first I've read about the North face and I really enjoyed it. It provided a new perspective to Everest with extensive and interesting details which expanded my knowledge and helped feed my curiosity. I am addicted to Everest books and have watched every episode of the Discovery C ...more
Mark Edwards
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a good companion to "Into Thin Air" and "The Climb." It is especially interesting in that it gives a perspective on the events of the 1996 Everest tragedy from the North side of the peak, as opposed to the South side as described in "Into Thin Air," etc. The detailed descriptions of "tummy troubles" in this book make me never want to eat a meal in the greater Tibet/Nepal "metroplex."
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dickinson does an excellent job explaining the difficulty and challenges involved in climbing Everest. I was there with him imagining the effort and determined this kind of thing would never be for me. But, I continue to be fascinated by the will of those who must and do climb the highest mountains on this planet. A big thumbs up for this book, I'd rate it 4.5 if I could and really...maybe it deserves a 5 star rating.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am almost done with this book. I think that it is a very neat book and it is written as though the reader is apart of the climbing group. There is some foul langage but not that much. Over all I love it. And it has some wonderful photos to look at and great map drawings. I finished this book, and it is very well done. It just goes to show that you don't have to be a professional mountainer to climb Everest. Anyhow I enjoyed this book alot.

May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I prefer "Into Thin Air" and "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest". There were parts of this book that I skim through, whereas the other 2 held me totally. I have a habit of reading a few books concurrently. This book is not as eloquent, as "Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season" which I'm reading concurrently. It's more a story of his own experience of Everest ascent, rather than the 1996 tragic events.
Tony Mercer
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As someone who hasn't ever read a book on climbing but has always been fascinated by adventure and exploration, this was a great book. It was a page turner with a lot of interesting detail. There was a lot of good background information on climbing and the history of Everest mixed with the stories of characters on the expedition. It was an easy read with good writing and very entertaining. I highly recommend it for the 'couch' Everest adventurer.
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-life, thrills
A good read about a particularly dangerous summit from the North Face of Everest. The detail was very interesting especially the technical details of climbing of which I know nothing.

It's sad to think there are many bodies of climbers left on the mountain and to read about these encounters has given me a better understanding of just how tough it is out there.

I'm going to read Into Thin Air again and probably pick up another book on Everest. Fascinated by these people
Nov 04, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weirdly, this book alerted me to the fact that the author of the book I'd just read, Anton Boukreev, had in fact passed away in a climbing accident. It's creepy and tragic that, with each successive book I read about elite climbing, I discover that someone I'd just read about in a previous book is now dead.
Josh Stephens
Jul 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Pretty good book about a climber who hiked up the more challenging North face of Everest during the fatal 1996 climbing season. Interesting point of view from someone not directly affected by the mistakes made on the summit.
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of climbing book that makes sense: from someone who struggled and opening talks about how difficult it was to climb Everest. There are times when you can actually feel out tired and short of breath he is by the descriptive paragraphs he uses. Really well written.
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“A new fear began to grip me, almost as powerful as the fear of what could befall us on the mountain: the fear of running out of reading material.” 0 likes
“Television is a dirty business. To survive in it you have to be part weasel, part python, and part wolf. To succeed in it, you have to be 99.9 percent great white shark. The capacity for barefaced lying also comes in handy, particularly if you are freelance.” 0 likes
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