Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest

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9780062516886: Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest

In a story of Everest unlike any told before, Jamling Tenzing Norgay gives us an insider's view of the Sherpa world. As Climbing Leader of the famed 1996 Everest IMAX expedition led by David Breashears, Jamling Norgay was able to follow in the footsteps of his legendary mountaineer father, Tenzing Norgay, who with Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in 1953. Jamling Norgay interweaves the story of his own ascent during the infamous May 1996 Mount Everest disaster with little-known stories from his father's historic climb and the spiritual life of the Sherpas, revealing a fascinating and profound world that few - even many who have made it to the top - have ever seen.

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Review:

In a spectacular and mesmerizing narrative, Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the climbing leader for the IMAX film expedition on Mount Everest, details the ill-fated 1996 summer climbing season (made famous by Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air) and deftly weaves in the history, politics, triumphs, and tragedies of climbing the world's tallest mountain. Norgay knows Everest, and Touching My Father's Soul is a must-read for anyone contemplating a summit attempt, even if exclusively from the comfort of a favorite armchair.

Just because technological and meteorological advances have benefited later expeditions, newer isn't necessarily better; much wisdom can be gained from studying the mistakes and encounters of previous attempts. Anecdotes and gripping prose shine throughout, like this gem: "That night--and then the following night--we lay in our tents listening to the malevolent roar of wind high on the mountain. The train was still running, the 747 endlessly trying to take off." As a Sherpa and practicing Buddhist, Norgay flavors the book with his culture and its climbing rituals and carefully dissects the differences between the local, deep respect for their mountain--Chomolungma--and the nonnative brashness that has often led to disaster.

Norgay is intent on the accomplishments and experiences of his legendary father, Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa who first reached the summit with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, and commendably shares his most private and human thoughts while retracing his father's greatest path. As Touching My Father's Soul acknowledges, however, no one conquers Everest. You sneak up on it, then get down as quick as you can. --Michael Ferch

About the Author:

Star of the IMAX movie Everest, which chronicled the tragic 1996 climb, and Climbing Leader of the IMAX Everest Expedition, Jamling Tenzing Norgay is the son of famed mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, the first to summit Everest, together with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. Norgay runs his family's travel adventure company, Tenzing Norgay Adventures, which teaches half a million climbers each year. Norgay is based in Darjeeling, India, when he is not climbing.

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