In April 2014 Mark Horrell went on a mountaineering expedition to Nepal, hoping to climb Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world, which shares a base camp and climbing route with Mount Everest.
He dreamed of following in the footsteps of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, by climbing through the infamous ice maze of the Khumbu Icefall, and he yearned to sleep in the grand amphitheatre of Everest Base Camp, surrounded by towering peaks.
He was also intrigued by the media publicity surrounding commercial expeditions to Everest. He wanted to discover for himself whether it had become the circus that everybody described.
But when a devastating avalanche swept across the Khumbu Icefall, he got more than he bargained for. Suddenly he found himself witnessing the greatest natural disaster Everest had ever seen.
And that was just the start. Everest Sherpas came out in protest, issuing a list of demands to the Government of Nepal. What happened next left his team shocked, bewildered and fearing for their safety.
For many years Mark Horrell has been writing what has been described as one of the most credible Everest opinion blogs out there. He writes about trekking and mountaineering from the often silent perspective of the commercial client.
For nearly 20 years he has been exploring the world’s greater mountain ranges and keeping a diary of his travels. As a writer he strives to do for mountain history what Bill Bryson did for long-distance hiking.
Several of his expedition diaries are available from the major online bookstores. He has published two full-length books: Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest (2015), about his ten-year journey from hill walker to Everest climber, and Feet and Wheels to Chimborazo (2019), about an expedition to cycle and climb from sea level to the furthest point from the centre of the earth.
His favourite mountaineering book is The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman.
Honest, non-sensational eyewitness account of the Everest avalanche of 2014. Mark Horrell was at Base Camp to climb the sister peak Lhotse, and was there to see the avalanche itself and the political and human fallout afterwards. I've been researching this event for my own novel, subscribing to Mark's blog, so when I saw he'd published his diaries from that time I couldn't wait to read them. This is a short book, well put together, and the highly emotional events of the disaster and aftermath are handled with sensitivity and dignity. He doesn't have all the answers or a panoramic journalistic view, but there are plenty of other places you can get that - and there's plenty of interest in this level-headed, thoughtful account. I enjoyed it - thank you, Mark.
This is the only book I can find on the 2014 Sherpa disaster and strike. I'm always eager for books that talk about the politics of Nepal and mountain climbing rather than just be another story about a guy who climbed the mountain and talks about how it was really, really hard. Horrell tries to come off empathic and even-handed, but the writing isn't very good, and it's clear that a lot of things went over his head because he didn't speak Nepali (not that I would normally expect that of a non-Nepali). There was just a lot going on that he tries to lay out but he isn't a professional journalist who did interviews and research before producing this book. Still, I'm glad I read it.
Unbelievable, sad and economically unsustainable! It was a blog account of what happened at Everest base camp in 2014. Since Mark Horrell was actually there, it was written from his own perspective and was well and truly worth a read. He even openly admitted to 'turning off his phone' and not had 'read a single word written by Western media'. While his account was bought for a bargain (a $1) it doesn't diminish the events that unfolded at that time. Like I said, I thought it was a fiasco ~ it was sad, ludicrous behaviour by 'an angry mob' and didn't do anyone any favours. The Nepalese workers, the people who have paid big money to be there nor the Himalayan Mountaineering companies have all lost out. Two weeks after the season closed, the local Nepalese climbers would have then realised that they now had no money and no job. hhmmm, a sad state of affairs, indeed.
I enjoyed this book as a different perspective as to what goes on in the area of Everest. The situation bringing about the dispute with the Sherpas was not unique. I think the disagreements which occurred between the government and Sherpas with the western clients in between are well described but also show the difference between the more experienced and young Sherpas. Hopefully the young Sherpas will learn from their more experienced peers. This is a well written book adapted from blogs, it explains the situation on the south side of Everest well.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Nothing more than I expected of the recent genre's of mountain climbing books, but the interest in the political hassles behind the scene do tell an interesting story that I have never heard before. While not great literature, nor a great mountain climbing book, it was a fun and easy to read story of one person's experience in the area of Mt. Everest.