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Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,264 ratings  ·  136 reviews
In a story of Everest unlike any told before, Jamling Tenzing Norgay gives us an insider's view of the Sherpa world. As Climbing Leader of the famed 1996 Everest IMAX expedition led by David Breashears, Jamling Norgay was able to follow in the footsteps of his legendary mountaineer father, Tenzing Norgay, who with Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the summit of Mou ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2001)
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Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
As I read this book, I kept feeling sorry for people who only know Mt. Everest through Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air . They are missing out. It's not that Mr. Norgay's book is better, only that it offers a sharply different perspective. Put another way, this book taught me that a true understanding of Everest cannot be achieved from the perspective of only one nationality or ethnicity.

Like so many people, I thought the term "Sherpa" was just a job title, not the name of an entire people with
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure seekers + those keen to learn more about Sherpas & the great peaks of Nepal/Tibet & beyond
Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay is a formidable adventure tale that is also a coming of age story by the son of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who together with Sir Edmund Hillary made the first documented successful ascent of Everest (called "Chomolungma" by the Sherpas) in 1953, an event celebrated around the globe. (It remains unclear if George Mallory & Sandy Irvine, missing on Everest for 75 years before their bodies were recovered, may ...more
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When Jon Krakauer writes "I learned alot" in the introduction to a book, I definitely want to read that book. And so this wonderful book begins... by the end of it, you feel you have gone up Everest not once but several times - you relive the tragic 1996 season, you find a new dimension of the Norgay/Hillary first ascent, and you finally understand the backstory of Chomolungma and the spell she has cast over the world. My favorite lines in the book are, from western climbers: "You don't conquer ...more
Apr 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adventurers, Climbers, Those wanting to learn more about Buddhism
This book is a good compliment to Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." Unlike the Krakauer book, which focuses mostly on the climb up Everest in 1996 and tragic events that unfolded there, this book looks at climbing Everest from the Sherpa's perspective.

I found Norgay's explanation of Buddhism, his return to faith and family, and the physical aspect of climbing very moving. Alone, without the background of Krakauer's book I don't know that I would have liked this book so much-- knowing the backdrop for
Desmond Beddoe
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The spiritual and physical journey taken in the quest for Everest is made all the more remarkable by my having just been physically through all the places Jamling writes about. The Buddhist beliefs and culture are carved into the rocks and traditions of the Himalayas, this book reawakens the authors acceptance of his father's legacy and allows him to be spiritually renewed. A wonderful read.
Jamling Tenzing Norgay's "Touching my Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest" is really an excellent book. It was wonderful to read about Everest from a Sherpa's perspective.

Jamling, of course, is the son of Tenzing Norgay, who was the first to ascend Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. Jamling himself was on an expedition up Everest with a team carrying an IMAX camera in the tragic 1996 season when 12 climbers lost their lives -- most on the same day in the teeth of a ferocio
Very good read even for non-mountaineers. Going between his father's first ascent of the mountain and Jamling Norgay's ascent gave the narrative a personal angle that couldn't have come from anyone else. Writing is a little dry but clear, and the story is well-woven and touching. The spiritual passages were not as interesting for me as the climbing ones, however, they contributed to my closer understanding of Norgay and Sherpas. Finished reading on May 29th, anniversary of the 1st ascent of Mt. ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Jamling Norgay is the son of Tensing Norgay Sherpa who ascended Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillery in 1953. In Touching My Father's Soul, he recounts portions of his father's life and his own early life before beginning the tale of his own first attempt at Mt. Everest, the ill-fated 1996 Everest IMAX expedition. There have been other books recounting this expedition but this is the first one by a local person instead of an outsider.
May 23, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a good read. It was interestign to get hte perspective of a Sherpa. Despite being an member of the group, he had a unique insight into the expedition / tragedy from a Sherpa POV.

I learned much about Tenzing Norgay from this book. He seems an amazing man who was respected and revered by multiple cultures so much that many claim him as their own.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who read Into Thin Air, to compare
Great book. It's hard to pigeonhole this book into one genre. It's a bio of Tenzig Norgay, reflections of his son, non-fiction about the disasterous season on Mt. Everest, and an intro into Sherpa culture. This book will have you gripped.
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
If you're an Everest nerd like I am, you will enjoy this book. But if you are interested in an informative yet fun read that accurately and engagingly captures the 1996 tragedy on Everest, I'd recommend you go instead to Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. My problem with the book is, first of all, the language and word usage is kind of dry for my taste. Maybe it's because English is not Jamling's first language. But there's nothing about the language that seems animated or interesting. It reads like ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Touching My Father's Soul chronicles the heart-pounding, exhilarating stories of the 1996 IMAX team's journey to the top of Mount Everest or more accurately, Chomolungma as well as that of Norgay's father's climb with Sir Edmund Hillary.
Ironically, however, I found the stories of Norgay's fellow climbers more intriguing than his own--not that his was dull. Their courage and resilience repeatedly astounded me, particularly that of Beck Weathers who after being given up for dead willed himself to
Ruta Sevo
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author is a Nepali, the son of the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay who made it to the top of Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953, and a man with an unusual life. He climbed Mt. Everest himself with the 1996 expedition that made the IMAX movie. His motivation was to recover a sense for his father. He became one of the filmed climbers in the IMAX movie. You read the details of his life in the Everest mountaineering culture and as a Sherpa. The story of the climb is itself quite gripping and unique in co ...more
Laurie March
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I started reading this the day before our house burned down so it is a special book to me. Here is why?

Early in the book Norgay speaks of a relative, his grandfather if I remember correctly, and how the man gave up his possessions to live in a hut in the mountains. That was the last thing I read before we lost our home. That one section of the book stood out for me and helped me through a difficult time.

I replaced the book shortly after the fire and finished reading it. It was a great read and
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book weaves the story of the first complete ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and a Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay with a 1996 ascent by Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa's son. Also woven into the story is the complex way that Buddhist beliefs interplay with the planning, execution and completing the climb. I didn't find myself enthralled by the story, but by the end I wound up feeling a deeper sense of what climbing the mountain means. I also had a greater appreciation of the s ...more
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Brooke
This is the Sherpa's version of the 1996 climbing disaster on Everest and is a great read to get a different perspective after reading "Into Thin Air"
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my 2nd reading of this book. Still the best one in my opinion covering the 1996 tragedy.
Insight into the reverence and respect shown to the mountain is inspiring.
Rachel Jackson
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Touching My Father's Soul was a phenomenal read about a myriad of topics centered superficially around Jamling Tenzing Norgay's Mt. Everest expedition but, on a thorough reading, about so much more than that, including Buddhist beliefs and spirituality, reconciling with his father's fame and absence from his life, and coming to grips with mortality and the constant presence of Chomolungma, the mountain that has loomed over Norgay's life his entire life from even before he was born.

I'm a sucker f
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps only Jamling Tenzing Norgay could have written this book. Touching My Father's Soul, subtitled A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest, is not just any Sherpa's tale, and not just another story of climbing Mount Everest. Jamling Tenzing Norgay is the son of Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa who with Sir Edmund Hillary, made the first successful climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Jamling's book is a rich and complex story which explores such topics as filial devotion, cultural differences, a ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is interesting on many levels. Written by the son of Tenzing Norgay who summited Mt. Everest with Hillary, follows his religious, emotional, and physical journey to summit Everest himself. His success was also at the same time in 1996 that so many climbers were lost on the mountain. He participated in the rescue attempts, and then had to make the hard decision on whether to continue his effort. Throughout the book, he refers to and explains his Buddhist religion and his it impacts his ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
I bought this book when I was in India (in 2004) and it has taken me this long to actually bugger down and read it. I'm not really that into mountaneering and climbing and that is why it was only when I was out of other books that I pulled this from the shelf.

As I said, I'm not really into mountaneering and that is probably why it gets a 2 star rating from me. I found it to be a mix between Tenzing family history, Buddhist teachings and detailed accounts of the 1953 and 1996 expeditions with sn
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-nonfic
Know what you are getting into before you start this book: it is not written to be a gripping, adrenaline-pumping adventure story. It is slow paced. The 1996 season's narrative is interspersed with a lot of history about Everest and surrounding nations, other mountain-climbing tales, Jamling's family and particularly his father's life and legacy, as well as Tibetan Buddhism. This book does recount the tragedies that befell the other teams in 1996 and the IMAX team's victory but those events are ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953 (and come back alive). Following in his father's footsteps, Tenzing's son Jamling was Climbing Leader in David Breasheares's IMAX expedition during the fateful 1996 Everest season that claimed several lives. In this memoir, Jamling not only tells the story of that terrible tragedy as it unfolded before his eyes, and afterwards his own group's successful trip to the summit, but also intersperses it w ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book makes me want to re-read Krakauer's Into Thin Air. It is good to get another perspective on Everest, culture and Beliefs; Especially from a local.

I don't understand wanting to climb Everest for personal gain or to say you did it. Jamling did a good job of explaining how Everest should be approached, with respect and humility and blessings. I liked how he explained his culture and father's story as well as his account of the climb.

It saddens my heart to know how much $ is spent to cli
Another telling of climbing on Everest during 1996; this time by Tenzing Norgay's son. A wonderful story of a climb, introspection and so much information about Nepalese Buddhist practises. Very interesting to have a Sherpa's perspective, and a perspective from someone who considers themselves cross-cultural. This one, too, places climbing Everest in historical context - talking of past climbs, and of course the first successful summit (and descent) by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. Very muc ...more
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book that details the Sherpa/Buddhist view of Everest expeditions. I learned a great deal about Sherpa rituals and practices by reading this account written by Tenzing Norgay's son, Jambling. Jambling's quest to summit Everest as part of the cast for the Imax movie, Everest, opens many doors to how and why people make climbs like this, the team interactions and challenges and his pursuit to connect with his religion and his famous father. It reads a bit choppy since it jumps f ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the footsteps of Tenzing Norgay touching my Father's Soul....A friend gave me this book to read; normally this is not the kind of book that I would’ve chosen for myself. Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of the sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who in company with Edmund Hillary made the first ascent to the summit of Everest in 1953, relives his own experience of climbing the mountain, finds himself high on Everest in the spring of 1996 as a key member of David Breashear's IMAX film team. It is the same S ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Having read about 5 or 6 books related to the 1996 Everest disaster I hesitated before starting this book. However it is much less about the 1996 disaster and focuses largely on Jamling's journey to follow in his Father's footsteps up Everest. It looks at Sherpa culture, Tibetan Buddhism, provides interesting background on Tenzing Norgay and the influences on his life, as well as the complex influences on Jamling's life. There are few books written from the perspective of the Sherpa people & whi ...more
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After reading Into Thin Air by Krakauer, which gave an overview of the tragedy of the spring 1996 Everest climbing season, followed by The Climb by Boukreev, which gave a somewhat clearer and more technical account of the same, this book was a refreshing change of pace in my sudden obsession on the topic. Interweaving the story of the IMAX crew's climb on the fated day are the stories of many other climbers and Sherpas, including the 1953 climb by Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay, the authors fa ...more
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Deep thinkers and adventurers
Recommended to Kell by: The book store shelf...
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