Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow, The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure


Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow, The Dark Side of  Extreme Adventure
Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow, The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure
Manufacturer Maria Coffey (St. Martin's Press)
Page By silversummit
Page Type Apr 7, 2009 / May 28, 2010
Object ID 6035
Hits 4301
Maria Coffey examines the other side of climbing; that is, the lives of those who are left behind either temporarily or in many cases forever by those they loved. Interspersed with examples of her years with climber, Joe Tasker she also examines in great detail the reasons why men and women choose to climb even when they suffer debilitating injuries and are torn between their love for adventure and love for their families. She gives vivid examples of the thrill of planning the next expedition, meeting up with colleagues who share your excitement and dreams, suffer with you for months on end, build to success or painful defeat and then it all ends abruptly. You have the sudden shock of "re-entry" into the real world of bills, phones ringing, mundane errands and you don't fit in or far worse, your family will receive a phone call they never want to answer.

Husbands, wives, children, mothers and fathers of climbers such as Joe Simpson, Alison Hargreaves, and John Harlin were interviewed with great compassion. The pain and hurt is evident years after a death but so is the tremendous love and understanding of why people want to climb to the extreme. No cliches here, no quick answers; just glimpses into the hearts of those who go farther than the human mind of most can grasp.


Price: $ 23.95

Hardback: 234 pages

Author: Maria Coffey

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Year Published: 2003

Language: English

ISBN: 0-312-29065-9



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silversummit - Apr 7, 2009 11:09 pm - Voted 5/5

Perceptive writer
This is one of the few books about mountaineering that approaches understanding the desire to climb from many angles. Maria Coffey gives the reader a variety of explanations and a personal look into the inner climbing world which she experienced.

Holsti97 - Sep 13, 2010 12:54 am - Voted 5/5

One of the best...
mountaineering books I have read (and I've read a lot of them). Maria Coffey eloquently tells the story of those left behind after the mountains claim another climber. The book looks into those who love the mountains more than their family and how their obsession affects relationships, family, and paying bills and helping with household chores. She describes many accomplished climbers as being "selfish" while others call these same climbers brave heroes. This book hit close to home. I don't climb in the Himalayas, but have left my family behind while I climbed Rainier, Hood, and Gannett Peak. Made me think a bit.

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