Read: Icefall

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The world is a dangerous place. For John All the danger comes in falling into a crevasse, alone in the high mountains near Everest. And on top of Everest and in the sticky Central American jungle among other places, and when it comes to his relationships….just about everywhere. (Not bagging on him, his relationships fall like ice towers in the rapidly warming atmosphere. Commitment comes with a price.)

Fall is a scientist who blends his love for the high art of mountaineering with the fact based reality of attempting to better understand climate change. I’m just going to say this now. We can’t use “climate change” any longer. Do I believe in climate change? Yes. Do I believe in math, science, fact and truth? Yes. I’m one of THOSE people, but the term “climate change” has been so politicized it no longer has meaning and it polarizes our tranquilized population. (I’ve spoken to two people in the past week who scoffed at climate change because they are in the middle of this deep freeze that hit the East Coast. “See, it’s colder than ever,” they said. Ya, we are doomed. But I digress.

All brings us “Icefall,” which starts and stops with him making a serious mistake that nearly costs him his life. He starts mangled and ends mangled but in between is a story of someone who is trying to balance two ideas while trying to find happiness and fact. He climbs Everest without crampons because there is so little snow he doesn’t need them. Ya, try that on for size.

All also co-founded the American Climber Science Program. He’s been on NPR and been quoted by numerous media outlets in regard to science, climbing, etc. The last chapter of this book is a must read. The last chapter explains climate change in simple terms. Did you know Venus is hotter than Mercury? I didn’t. Wanna know why? Read the book!

Comments 5

  1. I’m with you. It doesn’t take much to realize what’s going on but you do have to pull your head out of the sand and open your eyes. The massive extremes in weather pretty much prove how out of whack everything is right now. For us, we’re in one of the driest winters in the last 20 or 30 years. Fire season is going to be bad this year.

    Everest without crampons? Did you hit your head? Crazy talk but I believe it.

    My ‘to read’ stack is a little low so I’ll have to add this one.

    Btw, I know my last recommendation fell a little short so I hope to make it up with this one. ‘On Trails’ by Robert Moor.

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      Everest sounds horrible with or without crampons. I get cramps just thinking about it. I’ll take that 800 foot peak in Bali.

    2. Really? Altitude, cold or both? Base camp might be an interesting sight but it’s not the same as it once was. It’s become too accessible. Although, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and upper Mongolia are all high on my list.

      Not counting out an 800′ peak in Bali. I’d have to get a new water housing for that trip though. No way I’d go all the way out there without jumping in for some images of perfect Indo barrels.

      Many moons ago, right after Dillen was born, I had to pass on a Bali trip. I was going to go meet Nachtwey for a workshop near Angkor Wat. They had just started VII. Still kicking myself that I didn’t do it.

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      COLD. Crowds. However, trekking there is also high on my list. I don’t feel a burning need to summit something like Everest. I’m more interested in the cultures surrounding it. And the religions, politics and visual drama. Have you seen Eric Valli’s work? both stills and films?

    4. Crowds are a huge issue for me. Part of the reason I dawn patrol it when headed to RMNP. Like you, my primary interest would be culture, sights, sounds, tastes and the spirituality of the place.

      Have not seen Eric’s work. Going to look it up right now.

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