... Synnott skillfully describes early-20th-century exploration, then dives into a story about Everest that merges mystery, adventure and history into a single tragic bundle ... When many books have been written on a subject, like Everest, we turn to a new one largely in the hope that the author will make a good guide and traveling companion. Synnott measures up nicely ... Synnott knows how to keep readers turning the pages, and they will speed their way to his mystery’s resolution.
Throughout the book, Synnott skillfully intertwines Irvine’s story with his own expedition’s progress, while highlighting some of his fellow travelers’ stories. He also discusses the physiological effects of altitude, the development and use of supplemental oxygen, the environmental impacts of Everest tourism, and the challenges of filming at an elevation where altitude plays havoc on bodies and equipment. As in his previous book, the author’s writing comes alive when he recounts life on the mountain, including low visibility and high winds, along with his determination to find answers ... id Synnott and his team solve mountaineering’s greatest mystery? No spoilers here, but this is a must-read for outdoor enthusiasts and readers of Everest and exploration history.
Synnott, weaves back and forth between the early climbing pioneers’ experiences and his 2019 expedition, harrowing in its own right. A gifted storyteller, he proves firsthand the irresistible lure and perilous dangers of climbing Mount Everest.
... narrated by Synnott with easy grace—even when the climbing and weather were anything but ... the author introduces readers to a side of the mountain and its routes not typically seen, as most expeditions start from the Nepalese side. In addition to describing all of the roadblocks in their way, he populates the harrowing text with excellent background material to convey a rich sense of what summiting the great peaks entails. Synnott offers important pocket-sized biographies of Mallory and Irvine, of course, but there are also discerning forays into British colonial geopolitics, the ongoing disputes between China and Nepal, Tibet’s tortured relations with China, and the many vested Chinese political interests in the history of Everest mountaineering. Unsurprisingly, given his experience as a mountain guide, Synnott writes with gratifying savvy about all elements involved in the dangerous venture ... A fine tale of adventure and exploration sure to please any fan of climbing and Everest lore.