The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone


The White Death:  Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone
Page Type Gear Review
Object Title The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone
Manufacturer McKay Jenkins (Random House)
Page By Augie Medina
Page Type Apr 18, 2007 / Sep 11, 2015
Object ID 3000
Hits 3138

Product Description

This book affords a well written natural history of avalanches taking as a point of departure the deaths of five young climbers in 1969 while attempting a winter climb of the north face of Mount Cleveland in Glacier National Park. A colossal avalanche had swept them down the mountain. The author details the massive search effort undertaken to locate the bodies. Not until the spring thaw when searchers recovered a camera with its film intact were there enough clues to eventually locate the climbers’ bodies suspended upside down in a cave of snow and ice.

The author skillfully interweaves information on the anatomy of avalanches, narratives of significant (in terms of human loss) avalanches in world history with particular emphasis on major avalanches that have occurred in this country, with the story of the inspiring 1969 search effort to locate the bodies of the Montana climbers.

Product Details

Hardback: 228 pages with black and white photos
Author: McKay Jenkins
Publisher: Random House, New York
Year of Publication: 2000
Language: English
ISBN: 0-375-50303-X



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Augie Medina - Apr 18, 2007 9:49 pm - Voted 5/5

Awesome Search Effort
The scope of the search and recovery effort was amazing and fascinating detail is provided on every aspect of this effort. If you didn't have sufficient respect for avalanches before, this book will give it to you.

silversummit - Mar 5, 2009 9:41 am - Voted 4/5

Interesting Tome!
It took fortitude to plod through the first half of this book. While it is laden with the history of Glacier NP (which I loved) and the formation of various rescue groups and the families of the climbers at the heart of the story itself, I really couldn't get into the book until the second half.

The second half of the book though is worth re-reading. Practically every sentence concerning the rescue efforts and discovery of the five climbers is understated. It's almost like the best and heart of the book was shortchanged and condenced into a few short chapters. A very unevenly written book but definitely worth reading for the last 70 or so pages. The description of the discovery of the bodies is so vivid I couldn't sleep that night reliving it.

There are many lessons to take from this book but one is an ageless adage; there are no old, bold climbers.

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