4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The seven summits are the highest mountains in each continent. They include Mount Kilimanjaro, Denali, Aconcagua, Elbrus, Vinson, Everest and Carstensz pyramids. Climbing them to the pinnacle is considered an awe-inspiring achievement. Nevertheless, it’s not an easy task. Many give up or die in the process before reaching the pinnacles.
The Altitude Journals is the memoir of David Mauro, a novice who succeeded in reaching all the seven pinnacles despite the life-threatening challenges surrounding each climb. He started at Denali and culminated at Everest. He was a man at war. Life had dealt him blows that left him broken. As a child, he was an Olympic hopeful in ax throwing. He started practicing but retired from the career the same day he started practicing. He then tried baseball but the game had an uncomfortable effect on his bladder so he quit too. In adulthood, he was compelled by his sister’s husband to try mountain climbing.
The mountains he climbed had metaphoric connotations for him. They were his battlefields where he faced his life demons. He viewed each successful summit as a way of conquering personal demons. Life had taken a lot from him. However, he believed, no one could not take away the joy he experienced with each successful climb. He embraced some customs to mark each of them. He scattered Danny’s cremation ashes on the pinnacles as a way of honoring him in death. Danny was his deceased brother. He also tattooed the profile of each mountain into his shin. In addition, upon his return back home, his life partner, Lin, would pick him up from the airport, wearing a costume that best represented the local culture of the people around the particular mountain.
In The Altitude Journals, David Mauro documents all lessons learnt from each climb. Personal photographs are incorporated to validate his summiting stories. He also includes footnotes for additional information. The subtitles are interesting. The vivid descriptions of the climbs are capable of sending chills down the spine. My favorite summit was Carstensz Pyramids, which involved hilarious adventures. I was intrigued by the ‘loose stool’ incidents and the 3 o’clock disappearances. The mention of cannibals lit the fire of curiosity in my mind. This fire compelled me to read further, literally wanting to experience cannibal encounters.
I mostly liked his skill of planting the minds of his readers into the adventure. His vivid descriptions of each climb gave me a feeling of being present. Consequently, his lessons became my lessons and each nourishment the climb wrought, became my nourishment as well. I did not like anything least. The whole story is well-paced and interesting. The grammar is simple and understandable. It contains one profanity but no erotic content. I recommend this book to all who wish to embrace mountaineering as a hobby or as a life goal.
I will not rate it 3 stars since it is very educative. Consequently, it increased my theoretical, outdoor, survival skills. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
The Altitude Journals
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon