Five Things About... The Third Pole by Mark Synnott


(Julie and I have a buddy-read post planned for this, so stay tuned)

I am a complete sucker for books on mountain climbing, hiking, running, rock climbing, alpinism, etc… and this book did not disappoint. I was captivated from the first page (correction: the dust jacket). 

I will confess that the more historical sections were a little less exciting for me than the present day, which I know is strange since the past is what drove Synnott and crew’s present expedition. I will say that he did a great job of paralleling the events of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine and his own team’s. 

I became so invested in the stories of some of the climbers- I was so worried about one woman, Kam, that I looked her up on Instagram to make sure she was still alive after  Synnott said she was supposedly presumed dead (I left a comment on her post about the book and she wrote me back within an hour- so nice!). 

I need to know more about sherpas. Obviously this isn’t a new concept to me, since I’m no newbie to Everest, but Synnott went more in depth on both their physical adaptations and also the economics behind the guide industry. I know there’s at least one other well-received book out there primarily on it, so I’ll get it soon. 

Books like this make me really think about my physical endurance, love of nature, and overall priorities. I think if I truly wanted to climb Everest I could physically- it’s not a super technical route and I’d train really hard for a few years first. The problem for me would be anatomically- I am prone to vertigo and inner ear issues, and I also have weak lungs from a life of asthma. I’d die. Still, though, reading this was a good reminder to enter the Yosemite Half Dome lottery for this year!

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