The White Ladder: Triumph and Tragedy at the Dawn of Mountaineering

Daniel Light

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte


A sweeping history of mountaineering before Everest, and the epic human quest to reach the highest places on Earth.

Whether in the name of conquest, science, or the divine, humans across the centuries have had myriad reasons to climb mountains. From the smoking volcanoes of South America to the great snowy ranges of the Himalaya, The White Ladder follows a cast of extraordinary characters—conquistadors and captains, scientists and surveyors, alpinists and adventurers—up the slopes of the world’s highest mountains, seeking the summits of the world’s highest peaks. With thrilling pace and novelistic detail, Daniel Light traces the epic rise of mountaineering’s world altitude record and highlights the roles of local guides and indigenous mountaineers whose feats are too often eclipsed by their white European counterparts. Describing the innovative technical accomplishments of the climbers, Light shows how each new breathtaking ascent heightened the spectacle of their dangerous sport.

“[Daniel Light] ... has thought seriously about the entire sweep of his subject. ... It’s a massive story with an enormous cast of characters, among them some of the most compelling figures of mountaineering history.”—Wade Davis



andes, mountains, mountain sports, altitude, himalayas, danger, alpinism, everest, alps, english alpine club, chimborazo, adventure, peaks, nanda devi, kashmir, k2, climbing, popocatpetl, kangchenjunga, nanga parbat