As one of the first Western climbers authorized to climb Everest from the
Tibet side, the author takes considerable time with the exploration of Tibet and his
feelings around his visit to the land related to the relatively recent
military actions by China in Tibet. And, he detours frequently into the development
of his relationship with Nena Holguin. Messner describes, in detail, the
effort that he put into climbing Everest solo and without oxygen. In spite
of his considerable climbing skills, it reads as though he had much luck in
coming down successfully. Unfortunately, even with this tension, it is
difficult to determine whether the languid nature of this book is due to the
translation from German or the writing itself.
Although an interesting book,
in large part to Messner's reaction to what he saw in Tibet, this would not
be my first choice on what it means to climb Everest; I'd probably reach for
Everest: The West Ridge by Thomas Hornbein first.