Climbers who court danger in the world's highest places risk far more than just their own skins. When tragedy strikes, what happens to the people who love them? Why would anyone choose to invest in a future with a high- altitude climber? What is life like in the shadow of the mountain?Such questions have long been taboo within the international world of mountaineering. Now Maria Coffey breaks this silence. She recounts climbers' stories of near- death experiences, and gives a voice to the families and loved ones of Chris Bonington, Ed Viesturs, Anatoli Boukreev and Alex Lowe, amongst many other famous names. Her riveting narrative weaves tales of adventure with first- person accounts of the people left behind, highlighting the conflicting beauty, passion and devastation of this alluring obsession.
Winner of the 2003 John Whyte Award for Mountain Literature and the 2004 National Outdoor Book Award "Coffey begins where Jon Krakauer left off. His characters strive, suffer and vanish 'into thin air.' This compelling book offers voices from the other side of the mountaineering story - those left behind."- "Los Angeles Times" ."..an important book...Coffey is an accomplished author with the specific expertise to make this book the great read that it is." - "Gripped Magazine" "This book is a page-turner: Coffey's writing style is direct and ferociously honest, while her use of emotionally gripping anecdotes infuses an engaging, novelistic feel...A gripping must-read."- "American Alpine Journal"