Addicted to Danger is a climbing memoir of Jim Wickwire and his personal reflections of what his obsession has meant to his life and those around him. Its brutally honest and shares his failures on the mountain and as a person as well as his successes. Most of the stories are gripping and hard to put down. His success as being the first American to climb K2, in which he had a record bivouac near the summit, is perhaps the high point of this experience, but the low points included the deaths of four fellow climbers in three separate instances, and three failures to summit Mt. Everest. Particularly unnerving was the opening chapter in which he and his climbing companion fall into a crevasse. Wickwire broke his shoulder but was able to get himself out, after which he tried fruitlessly for hours to free his wedged companion but in the end could only stand aside as he slowly froze to death.
At times Wickwire is egotistical and arrogant, but he doesn’t blame his failures on anyone else or sugar-coat his short comings, which is refreshing. He openly disclosed his neglect of his family to pursue his climbing addiction as well as his affections for a female climber who wasn’t his wife. He portrayed his life honestly rather than merely attempt to make himself look good. But the stories are all a worthwhile read for anyone who likes climbing or a harrowing tale of any sort.
From the Back Cover
Adventurist Jim Wickwire, an eyewitness to glory and terror above 20,000 feet, has braved bitter cold, blinding storms, and avalanches to become what the Los Angeles Times calls “one of America’s most extraordinary and accomplished high-altitude mountaineers.” Although his incredible exploits have inspired a feature on 60 Minutes and a full-length film, he hasn’t told his remarkable story in his own words – until now.
Among the world’s most fearless climbers, Jim Wickwire has traveled the glove in search of fresh challenges. He was one of the first two Americans to reach the summit of K2, the world’s second highest peak, the toughest and most dangerous to climb. But with the triumphs came tragedies that haunt him still. During several difficult climbs, he was forced to look on helplessly as four of his climbing companions lost their lives. A successful Seattle attorney, Wickwire climbed his first mountain in 1960. Deeply compelled by the thrill of risk, he pushed himself to the limits of physical and mental endurance for thirty-five years, before facing a turning point that threatened his faith in himself and his hope in the future. How he reassessed his priorities and rededicated his life – to his family and his community – completes a unique and moving portrait of one man’s courage and commitment. ADDICTED TO DANGER is a tale of adventure in its truest sense.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Atria (February 1, 1999)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds