Book Review: Everest- The Death Zone by Odd Harald Hauge

Everest- The Death Zone
Author: Odd Harald Hauge
Publisher: Yatra Books
Rating: 4.5/5

Climbing Mount Everest was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life. I wish I’d never gone. I suffered for years of PTSD and still suffer from what happened. I’m glad I wrote a book about it. But, you know, if I could go back and relive my life, I would never have climbed Everest.

Jon Krakauer

Mount Everest is a hostile host that does not allow anyone to survive. There are always clouds on the horizon! Coldest wind, thinnest air, low temperature, lack of resources and habitation- all of these are innate in this colossal mountain. When Edmund Hillary and the Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, climbed Mount Everest in 1953, the whole world broke out in a frenzy and since then people have been making never-ending attempts to triumph over the peak.

The area at an altitude of >=8000m is called as the Death Zone. Several commercial expeditions prepare for a climb every year. One such endeavour was initiated by Odd Harold Hauge, the author of this book. He describes the immense trauma the mind faces when one has to brace himself for a journey that doesn’t promise a safe return. Moreover, the author beautifully elaborates on how it is important to form a mental blueprint because mountaineering is ‘more of a mental game rather than a physical effort’.

The story has five characters who are as different as chalk and cheese- Blanc, Simmons, Manuela, Martin and Richard. They come from varied walks of life. What they do not realize is that climbing Everest is a different kettle of fish! This experience brings together moments of antagonism, pain, indecisiveness and dread. Right from beginning the expedition to deciding each day when to halt, each moment is harried.

‘Everest’ is a pragmatic and realistic portrayal of climbers- their struggles and their experience- facing the most unfavourable conditions at a height that wears the cloak of death and nabs the human body. With a gripping narrative and a thrilling storyline, the author does justice with the theme of the book. Since the author’s prowess lies in making the experience relatable owing to his accolades and adventurous life, he presents the story that can send chills down your spine. However, Yatra Books disappoints with the font and typesetting.

The focus of the book is on the corpse-strewn Death Zone that lies beyond campsite 2. As readers, we can hear the deafening winds interrupting the conversation between two climbers; we can see the overblown carpet of white snow making the life of the climbers difficult. There is ample visual and auditory imagery.

Overall, a riveting read!
This book is a must-have for all the adventure junkies out there who have been bitten by the travel bug.

Buying Link: Amazon

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