Bookish Banter- The Third Pole

[This post was done with Julie from Julz Reads... it was also supposed to go up last Thursday but I accidentally scheduled it for next Thursday.. so... here we are]

Julz:  There was so much to love about this book.  The multiple narratives, the incredible stories of survival, and even the tragedies of the 2019 climbing season.  I was especially moved by Kam’s story.  That was particularly intense.  What was your favorite aspect?

Christine: I was so worried about Kam! I checked her out online at one point to make sure she made it! I left a comment on one of her Instagram posts like a total weirdo and she was so sweet (and is planning to hopefully summit again soon). She needs to write a book- I’d be all over that preorder.  Overall, I think my favorite part was once Synnott started the process of acclimating to the altitude and really getting ready to climb.

Julz:  No way! (Pauses to IG stalk Kam).  Yup, I could totally see you two being besties.

You’re outdoorsy and enjoy hiking.   Have you ever given any thought to about mountain climbing?  What do you think your chances of survival on Everest would be?

Christine: I would die. Ha! I think I could prepare my body physically to do it, if I had a year or two, but I have had trouble with vertigo and my inner ears, plus asthma, so when it comes to my actual anatomy I don’t think I could handle it. Plus, technically, I’ve never done more than hiking and the idea of having to clip into lines and do things with axes scares me.

What is the biggest physical risk you’ve ever taken, or that you’d like to take?

Julz:  I am NOT a physical person.  Lifeguard training in college was pretty demanding.  I do feel pretty comfortable in water, so I would love to learn to surf.  But I hate being cold (irony of being a Midwesterner), so I would not do well on a snow-capped peak.  I would, however, be very much interested in doing a hike to base camp on the Nepal side.

Could you imagine letting a 13-year-old Sawyer attempt summiting Everest?

Christine: Part of me would be proud if he wanted to, since he can be a bit hesitant to take physical risks, but I would also be terrified. I’ve mentioned hiking up Half Dome in Yosemite when he’s older a few times and he always gives me a hard no.

There is some talk in the book about how hard it is to be married to climbers. What are your thoughts (besides substantial life-insurance policies)?

Julz:  I’m not much of a worrier, I’m pretty pragmatic when it comes to things like that.  But I doubt I ever would have been attracted to that type of personality in the first place.

I found it interesting reading about China’s subordination of Tibetan culture after seeing similar commentary about China’s transgressions on NBC for the Beijing winter Olympics (aka, the socioeconomic rape of minorities and their heritage).  What. A. Travesty.

Christine: I don’t know a lot about it, but I am definitely interested in learning more about the Sherpa guides, in particular. I need to order a few books.

Julz:  Synnott references Wade Davis’ Into the Silence several times.   Start there for sure.   The World Beneath Their Feet by Scott Ellsworth gives a great historical background on using locals as guides and the different ethnicities in the Himalayan region.

Do you believe China’s claim that they have Irving’s body and possibly the camera?

Christine: Part of me thinks that it’s plausible, but then I don’t know… the whole idea of finding a body in the snow after all of these years in a short amount of time seems so daunting to me. What about you?

Julz: Nah, I would put about as much stock in the Chinese government’s honesty as I would Putin.  I think he’s down in a crevasse somewhere inaccessible.  But it is a little strange that Mallory’s rock-buried grave hasn’t been located since the initial identification…


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