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Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy
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Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  540 ratings  ·  51 reviews
On May 10, 1996, Lene Gammelgaard became the first Scandinavian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. But a raging storm and human error conspired to turn triumph into catastrophe. Eight of her team's climbers, including its renowned leader Scott Fischer, perished in a tragedy that would make headlines around the world. In her riveting account, Gammelgaard takes us f ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 20th 2000 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Alain Dewitt
Oct 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
Ever since reading Jon Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air' I have been very interested in Mount Everest literature, especially books recounting the events of the 1996 disaster.

Lene Gammelgaard was a member of Scott Fischer's Mountain Madness expedition and survived the storm that claimed the lives of Fischer and fellow expedition leader Rob Hall as well as clients Doug Hansen and Yasuko Namba. She was also the first out of the gate with a book recounting her experience.

Unfortunately, it's a terrible book
Affascinato dal libro di Krakauer sulla tragedia dell'Everest del 1996 ho deciso di leggere anche gli altri resoconti di quella sciagurata spedizione.
E' la forza della Natura, ad affascinarmi, ma anche la difficoltà degli uomini costretti, in carenza d'ossigeno e di energie, infreddoliti e stravolti, a prendere decisioni che influenzano direttamente la loro sopravvivenza e quella degli altri.
Lene Gammelgaard è una delle "clienti", delle scalatrici a pagamento della spedizione di Scott Fisher, la
Marvelle Morgan
Although I tremendously enjoy reading about the 1996 Mt. Everest tragedy, I didn't enjoy this account nearly as much as the books by Jon Krakauer and Anatoli Boukreev. I felt it was poorly written and very disjointed. Also, it really wasnt so much about the expedition as it was about Lene's own personal climb and her disappointment at not being able to climb without oxygen.

The tone of the book seems very self-congratulatory. She tells readers many times how she is one of the strongest, fastest c
The author is one of the most self obsessed, whiny and irritating climbers that I've ever had the misfortune to read about. Yes I get that it is about her journey but seriously, I got tired of reading how wonderful she was, how superior to everyone she was. You get the feeling that she believed she could have stopped everyone dying in the disaster if she was in charge.

She barely talks about the death all around her, preferring to be critical of other climbers and whining about not being the cen
La tragedia sull'Everest del 1996 vista da un punto di vista diverso rispetto al famoso "Aria sottile" (per chi fosse interessato la mia recensione qui). Stavolta la vicenda viene raccontata da Lene Gammelgaard, facente parte della spedizione di Scott Fischer (Krakauer faceva invece parte della spedizione di Rob Hall).
Dal punto di vista della scrittura è inferiore rispetto ad "Aria Sottile", ma sicuramente da leggere perché da un lato descrive la scalata da un punto di vista femminile e più sogg
Certo, la stessa storia raccontata da Krakauer in "Aria sottile" ha un alto spessore. Lene la fa lunga in motivazioni, automotivazioni, seghe mentali, allunga il brodo prima di arrivare al dunque; si concentra, comprensibilmente, su sé e non ha uno sguardo più ampio su quel che è successo quel giorno su quella montagna. Non ci sono nemmeno i nomi di tutti gli 8 morti di quella maledetta giornata. Però. Però è molto importante secondo me un'altra voce, di una persona testimone dei fatti che difen ...more
Dec 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cold-books
Horrible book. Bad writer (or translator), judgemental and annoying person. This book proves to me that not everyone has a book in them, even if they are part of something incredible (like the 1996 Everest season).
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love reading expedition stories. I would read it again without thinking, it is very inspiring to find stories of mountaineering from the perspective of women
Nov 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is nothing like "Into Thin Air" (which was a really good, gripping tale of the Everest Tragedy.) It is a first hand account but is written like a journal or diary. It does provide an interesting itinerary of her trip and what she was going through. However, it doesn't focus on much else. She mentions some of the other climbers and the leader, Scott, but mostly in a very superficial manner. It isn't a terrible book but she is not a good writer - it rambles, is self-serving and not that ...more
Jun 03, 2008 rated it liked it
I think i might be a bit biased towards Krakauer's Into Thin Air perhaps because that is the account of the Everest tragedy i read first, perhaps because i see him as more objective but this is still a compelling read (as i find most Everest accounts). And who knows what is closest to the truth, we all have our own (reconstructed) memories, and memories can be nothing else.
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: armchair-vertigo
For Everest completists.

Not terrible, but no analysis of the tragedy and scarcely even any acknowledgment of the deaths outside her own team, except in footnotes. The book really could use an epilogue.

(should be more like 2.5 stars)
Bedrooped Bookworms
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author, Lene Gammelgaard, begins the book with a foreword about what is to come. If you are not aware (I wasn’t, except for hearing about it from my wife who has read this book and Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer), in May of 1996 there was a sudden snowstorm on Mount Everest that caught several expeditions by surprise and resulted in the deaths of 8 people in two days. So you know at the beginning of the book that this is going to end in a tragedy, if the title alone was not enough. Despite th ...more
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diaster, non-fiction
A woman’s touch

There have been many accounts written about the 1996 Everest tragedy. On May 10-11, eight people from three expeditions died when trapped by a storm in the Death Zone. They either disappeared on the mountain or were later discovered frozen to death. A ninth victim, Beck Weathers, survived after being left for dead when he was unable to move on his own. His walking into camp was nothing short of a miracle.

Lene Gammelgaard was one of the hikers that made the summit on that fatal tri
continuing the 1996 Everest accounts. This one reads more like part travel log, part diary than Krakauer's fairly comprehensive journalistic approach. It is told mostly event by event with very little context or reflection. Climbers from the other expeditions are sometimes mentioned by name but very briefly. There were moments during the summit push where Gammelgaard just describes other climbers by equipment (for example, a climber from Hall's expedition visibly struggling is not named) and mak ...more
Sally Edsall
May 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: everest, biography
I was so looking forward to reading this book. I wanted to read about a woman's experience on Everest, particularly during the 1996 season so well written about by others (particularly Krakauer). How disappointed and let down can one be!

I have never, not never will climb mountains, but I found this to be self-indulgent and full of new age psycho-babble.

I found her atttitude towards others patronising, especially in an excrutiating couple of exchanges with where she offers the "po
Anon Reader
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
First-hand account of the 1996 Everest tragedy from Mountain Madness client Lent Gammelgaard. Sticks principally to personally witnessed and observed events. The majority of the book is devoted to Gammelgaard's personal journey to get to the mountain and the month of acclimitization prior to the final summit push and immediate aftermath.

It's incredibly sparse in its recounting of the heart of the tale, devoid of critical facts, and steers far clear of any commentary on many issues and questions
Non mi è piaciuto lo stile di scrittura dell'autrice: troppo veloce nel resoconto, pochi dettagli, tanta vanità e zero empatia. Un abisso da Aria Sottile di Krakauer.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a solid 4.5 stars. I could not give five stars because it was written too concisely and it seemed sometimes with too much sentiment with the flowery, new-age psycho-babble and not enough sentiment with the real-life drama that unfolded. I give Lene much kudos for her title of first Dane woman to summit, but toward the end, this title that keeps flying around in her words seems selfish and off-putting. She keeps putting it in our face too much while others have died. There is some hu ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a person who enjoys hiking I have always been in awe of those who challenge themselves with heights, especially the big mountains. Having experienced hiking in altitude and minimal climbing; I find it impossible to imagine dealing with extreme temps and extreme conditions high above sea level. This was a very well done account of one Danish woman's self challenge to conquer Mt Everest. She writes in a manner that shares her trials and tribulations and all of the mechanics of preparing for the ...more
Nov 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A generous 3 stars because of the Danish connection; Gammelgaard was the first Scandinavian woman to summit Everest. I enjoy books about climbing so much that I tend to overlook poor writing or editing. Disjointed writing and complete lack of attempt to address the tragic aspects of her summit made this less enjoyable to read. I have mixed feelings about the fact that the deaths outside of her team that took place on Everest during the same storm in which her expedition leader, Scott Fischer, pe ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Lene Gammelgaard was the first Danish (and first Scandinavian)woman to summit Mr. Everest. This book is her story of the tragic 1996 climbing year when there were 12 deaths. She emphasizes that on the mounntain, you and you alone are responsible for yourself, which I think is the correct approach. It's a risky but thrilling business to "Climb High." Having read Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" and Anatoly boukreeve's "Climb," I find this account to ring true. It is HER account and not someone's in ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, women mountaineers
I really enjoyed this book from the first Danish woman to climb Everest. It was told in diary format which enabled me to get a feeling for the everyday facts of climbing: the effects of high altitude on the body; what they ate; what they wore; the best equipment to use; the acclimatization process; and just how boring base camp life could be while waiting for the perfect weather window of opportunity.

Leni was a member of Scott Fisher's Everest expedition team that was caught during the 1996 stor
David Ward
Climbing High: A Woman's Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy by Lene Gammelgaard (Seal Press 1999) (796.522). Lene Gammelgaard lived through the May 1996 tragedy on Everest in which eight people died after being caught by bad weather and darkness while still high on the mountain. She was there as a member of Scott Fischer's “Mountain Madness” expedition. This is her account of the events of that terrible trek. In Gammelgaard's opinion, Anatoli Boukreev, an assistant guide for Fischer's team ...more
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it - a first-person narrative account of what happened to the author during the 1996 disaster - with journal entries and reflections on process. I appreciated the account of the lead up to the expedition and team members.

If you're looking for more of an overview of all participants and the event from all angles, (omniscient style), I recommend: "The Climb" by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt.

For other excellent "arm-chair adventure" mountain climbing books, recommend:
"Annapurna, A
Jan 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all the books written out of the 1996 Everest tragedy. Lene's wasn't the best written or engaging account but i appreciate her accomplishment and her perserverence, which led her to still be with us today. Her motto: "To the summit and safe return" became my mountaineering mantra. Because of her (and all the Everest climbers), I never forgot that reaching the summit was only half of the climb.
Jessica Dally
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
this is a good book to read in addition to Anatoli Bourkreev's "The Climb" and Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". Written from a woman's perspective it may be a bit girlee for some of you guys out there. That being said, reading about how she psyched herself up for the climb is awesome and inspiring. Not to mention getting another view of that horrible season on Everest is interesting, if nothing else then to compare stories and get a more complete view of what happened.
Diane Robinson
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
After reading several mountain expedition accounts, an author has finally given me a sense of the remarkable splendor and grandeur of these earthly giants, leaving me to semi-understand why one would risk all to stand on top of one. Still, the sad, intense story of one of, if not THE deadlist climbing seasons ever grips your heart.
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not as good as the other "Into Thin Air" books. She wrote in journal form and that has to be pretty good to get my attention. Also, she is not a native English speaker, so I found this book more wandering. Good account from another perspective. I just wouldn't recommend it to someone not interested in the story already.
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Climbing High is a fairly basic account of the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy written by a member of Scott Fischer's expedition. It's certainly not the best book about the events on the mountain that year, but its unemotional and factual view makes it a must read for those interested in the 1996 tragedy on Everest.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
If you are a petite Danish female mountaineer then you'll probably like this book. For anyone else, not so much. Lene Gammelgaard was among the climbers on Everest in May 1996 when tragedy struck and eight climbers perished. You'd think that experience should make for an exciting or at least interesting book. It's a shame that this isn't that book.
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UCAS English 11 R...: October Reading Assignment 1 2 Oct 30, 2018 06:41PM  
  • The Other Side of Everest: Climbing the North Face Through the Killer Storm
  • Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life
  • Epic: Stories of Survival from the World's Highest Peaks
  • A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond
  • Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer
  • The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak
  • Savage Summit: The True Stories of the First Five Women Who Climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain
  • On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined
  • Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory & Irvine
  • Doctor on Everest: Emergency Medicine at the Top of the World - A Personal Account of the 1996 Disaster
  • Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest
  • Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest
  • Everest: Expedition to the Ultimate
  • Kiss or Kill: Confessions of a Serial Climber
  • The Climb Up to Hell
  • One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story Tragedy and True Heroism on K2
  • High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places
  • Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure