Friday, November 25, 2011

Book Review - Everest from sea to summit by Tim Macartney-Snape

At the last Save The Children Book Fair at UWA I purchased Everest from sea to summit by Tim Macartney-Snape. Turns out that it is an autographed copy, although with my name not being Margaret its' probably not worth quite as much as it could be, and not a bad buy for $6.

As soon as I saw the title I knew what the book was about. It's the personal account by New Zealand-born Australian Tim Macartney-Snape's trek from sea level in India to the summit of the world's highest peak. Without oxygen. On foot. Wow!

I like his style of writing and found it to be quite engaging. Not that I'd say as though I felt that I was a part of the journey but he has a lovely way of describing his experience and you find yourself wanting to be there to share the experience. India was a bureaucratic nightmare, maintaining a team of personnel to help was eventful and the wait around base camp prior to his summitting the mountain was painstaking. Even the journey to the summit had me hanging on during his struggle. And I knew that he'd made it beforehand!

It's a great read and Tim Macartney-Snape is a bit of a philosopher who wanted to examine the human condition. What more reason do you need to scale Everest with the start point being 1000kms away?

I picked out a number of quotes from the book that I'd like to share:

p11 - Heroes provide role models and encourage lesser people to strive harder - Richard Cashman.
p45 - To a certain extent the probability of an accident is determined by the caution and judgment you exercise.
p52 - I believe the path to a greater spirituality is through self-knowledge and understanding, not resignation to mysticism; through mastering consciousness, not blocking it out.
p94 - The danger faced is mostly the result of one's own mistakes.
p105 - ...on any journey the only way forward can sometimes be backward..
p129 - We can only look forward to the time when the cause of human upset has been eradicated by an understanding of our condition.
p130 - By making the object of the journey the destination rather than the journey itself, we rob ourselves of an important element of living.
p155 - There is pleasure in hard physical work, a celebration of the remarkable and perfect teamwork of the body's individual parts.
p167 - ...even our greatest mountains are but the tiniest crinkles on the Earth's surface and it is only because we are so small that we perceive them as grand.
p169 - Comfort should not be gained from an airy promise of some mystical afterlife but from the certainty that we are inextricably part of the continuum of life.
pp169-170 - Caring for the environment is a question of education and common sense. The more we are alienated from nature, the more that sense is hidden.
p172 - "to rought it you've got to smooth it".
p212 - Impatience is an easy attitude to cultivate, and it tends to be blind to future possibilities.
p220 - Nothing has ever seemed as lonely and desolate as leaving that wreck of a camp at 3.30 in the morning to head up an icy slope that seemed never to end.
pp224-225 - Criticising others is a natural thing for us to do; it offers us relief from our constant, subconcious self-criticism.
p229 - Even the most insignificant act can help realign the mind in a positive direction.
p245 - One should not go to a famous place if one seeks solitude, even the top of Everest.

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