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The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone

by Jenkins, McKay

  • ISBN: 9780375503030
  • ISBN10: 037550303X

The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone

by Jenkins, McKay

  • List Price: $23.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Trade
  • Publish date: 02/15/2000
  • ISBN: 9780375503030
  • ISBN10: 037550303X
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Description: McKay Jenkins writes, "No matter how we have defined our relationship to mountains, avalanches have always fatally foiled our best efforts to move through, inhabit, or climb them.....Avalanches have always found their way down the slope, and have always refused to accommodate the vagaries of human desire. In a way, avalanches have forced us to tell different stories about ourselves, and about the haunting wilderness that surrounds us. Stories not of heroism, but of humility." "The White Death" gives us the fascinating history of avalanches, and our helplessness before such awesome power. Drawing on a variety of sources -- newspaper accounts, works of literature, folk lore, and interviews with avalanche survivors -- McKay Jenkins pieces together a gripping and harrowing view of the path avalanches have carved through the ages, and man's grueling attempt to develop a workable method of rescue.

Interwoven is the gripping account of the Mt. Cleveland disaster, in which an avalanche claimed the lives of five young climbers. Over the Christmas holiday in 1969, a group of five young men from Montana attempted to climb the rugged north face of Mt. Cleveland in Glacier National Park, Montana -- the highest and most unforgiving peak in its range. By January 2, when the boys had not returned, a massive search and rescue operation began, but was soon given up on account of the deteriorating weather conditions. The boys' bodies were not retrieved until the summer thaw, when they were discovered hanging upside down in a frozen ceiling of snow. Just as Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm recreates the sensation of drowning, "The White Death" provides the disturbing detail of a climber's worstnightmare -- the sensation of being buried alive in an torrent of snow and ice.

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