For my last review of 2023, I decided to go back to a topic that always fascinates me - high altitude mountain climbing. Found this book on Kindle Unlimited written by a climber who scaled Everest without Sherpas or bottled oxygen. Wondering how he and the team could possibly do this, I picked up the book and am glad I did. Here is my review of “Snow in the Kingdom.”
Title/Author: “Snow in the Kingdom” by Ed Webster
Rating: 4 of 5 stars (very good)
Review: No matter which peak, which path, or how many are in the climbing party, there is always an element of danger is such an expedition. This book by Ed Webster brings to life one such trek, when he and three other climbers reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the spring of 1988. This was accomplished without bottled oxygen, assistance from Sherpas, or radios. Webster’s account of this expedition on a new path to the top, along with stories from before that Everest climb (it was his third attempt to reach the summit) that make the a very good read for the most part.
I say “most part” because there times the book feels like it is moving slower than a novice climber on their first Himalayan climb. This is especially true when Webster describes his previous climbs before his famous 1988 trekking. The book also moves along slowly at times durian the Everest climb although that helped readers to understand the slow pace, and the danger, these climbers faced.
Two parts of the book I really liked were the descent after reaching the summit and the photography. While reaching the peak for any climb is undoubtedly the goal and is often dangerous, often the descent back to Base Camp is just as risky. In Webster’s case, that was certainly true. The terrifying ordeal the team went through on the descent, with frostbitten toes and fingers that eventually were amputated as a result, was a more gripping account of climbing than the journey to the highest peak in the world was.
Even though I read this in e-book format, the photography was stunning, especially the color photographs. Whether it was the beauty of the mountains, happy pictures of Webster and others (including a few of Lauren, his girlfriend who was killed in a rock climb accompanying Webster) or photos of the climbers on the mountain or back in camp, they all help to tell the story of this very intriguing climb of Mt. Everest.