Read In the Shadow of Denali (Delta Expedition) by Jonathan Waterman Free Online
Book Title: In the Shadow of Denali (Delta Expedition)|
The author of the book: Jonathan Waterman
Date of issue: March 1st 1994
ISBN 13: 9780385312455
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 730 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.4
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These people are crazy.
Addicted to pushing physical and emotional barriers, climbing becomes an obsession, leading to injury, death, or at the very least, burnout.
Waterman captures the intensity of the experience and the (mostly) men who make mountains, in this case Denali (Mt McKinley) in Alaska, the main focus of their lives. Some of them are anti-social to begin with; certainly their ability and wish to relate to others is severly tested by the self-imposed deprivations and limited circle they inhabit.
Some of the accounts of the climbs, journeys and rescues are very powerful; others lack the same life. Those who climb only to add another accomplishment to their resume, rude and often unprepared, do not come off well, particularly in their lack of appreciation for the environment they are defiling, and their expectation that others will make up for their deficiencies and mistakes and pick up after them or rescue or even die for them. Most cannot even manage a word of thanks.
Waterman is also distressed by the disappearance of the wilderness and habitat of native Alaskan species; he speaks often of the Native American views on honoring the spirit and of the land, of treading lightly and with humility, a way of living he agress with. His descriptions of the environment surrounding Denali are often eloquent and from the heart.
I think he idealizes the climbers' often short lives and deaths, and plays down the pain they may have brought to their families and friends. It's an insular world, that does not have much respect for those who make different choices, or allow that they can also live lives that possess integrity. When he speaks of "the banality of city life" and its "already dead" inhabitants, I know he is parroting a stereotype, not the expeience of the city I know. Surely he does not need to denigrate others to honor his friends.
At the same time, you have to admire the respect the climbers show for the earth and its beauty and power, their willingness to challenge themselves, both physically and mentally, and the way they live sparely, not accumulating more than they need or wasting what they have.
They would not consider a snowmobile championship, or hunting and fishing for sport, or drilling for oil, as accomplishments to list on their resume. In that, perhaps, they represent the true spirit of Alaska, rather than the "Alaska lite" of its current political leaders.
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