Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Icy Cold Survival Stories


Alone on the Ice : the greatest survival story in the history of exploration (M)
by David Roberts

"Douglas Mawson is not as well known as Amundsen, Scott, or Shakleton, but as this intense and thrilling epic shows, he deserves a place on the pedestal next to these other great explorers of the Antarctic. Trained as a geologist, the Australian-born Mawson launched an expedition to a largely unexplored region of Antarctica in 1912. The effort soon turned into a grim struggle of endurance and survival against an unforgiving environment. Mawson and his team had to cope with the unpredictability of severe weather, hidden crevices in ice that could easily swallow a man, the loss of their food and other supplies, and their slow physical deterioration. Roberts attributes their survival in no small measure to the guts and determination of Mawson. He is portrayed here as a fascinating combination of reticence and aggressiveness, with an ability to both command and inspire his men. This fast-moving account earns for Mawson and his team a well-deserved place of honor in the so-called heroic age of Antarctic exploration." - Booklist

Buried in the Sky : the extraordinary story of the Sherpa climbers on K2's deadliest day (M)
by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

"In August 2008, 11 climbers died on K2, the world's second-highest mountain. The story has been told before (in, for example, Freddie Wilkinson's One Mountain Thousand Summits, 2010, or Wilco van Rooijen's Surviving K2, 2012), but here the authors take an unusual approach, chronicling the tragic events, which were triggered by the collapse of an ice wall that stranded climbers in the Bottleneck, a gully leading to the summit, from the point of view of the Sherpas who had been assisting the climbers. Sherpas are usually unnamed and unmentioned (apart from Tenzing Norgay, Edmund Hillary's Sherpa on his historic Everest climb), but the authors do a very nice job of not only reminding us that climbers couldn't do what they do without the Sherpas' expertise and dedication but also giving us a revelatory look at Sherpa history and culture. Two Sherpas survived the K2 disaster, and their stories are key to the book. For climbers, and for readers of books about climbing, this one is highly recommended." Booklist

Man on the Ice: the Rex Saunders story (M)
by Rex Saunders

“This is going to be a good day out in boat,” said Rex Saunders, a sixty-six-year-old sealer from St. Lunaire-Griquet, NL, before heading out to the icefields on May 4, 2009. Later that day, the cold and unforgiving waters of the Atlantic Ocean nearly claimed another victim after his boat capsized. He had phoned his wife mere moments before the mishap and told her to expect him home in an hour, but now the sealer found himself stranded and alone on an ice floe. There he spent the next two nights, miles from shore and armed only with a flotation suit, a five-gallon gas can, and his faith.

Man on the Ice is the autobiography of Rex Saunders, a man of faith who grew up on the rugged shores of the Great Northern Peninsula. His battle with the elements made national headlines when this everyman-turned-hero stared death in the face while waiting for a miracle he knew would come." - Publisher

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