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The Horizontal Everest: Extreme Journeys on Ellesmere Island
Jerry Kobalenko

I picked up this book on our last vacation and enjoyed it immensely. It is not really a climbing book although it shares quite a bit with the extreme conditions of wind and cold that are experienced in the high arctic; Ellesmere Island gets to within 400 miles of the North Pole. The book starts by describing what makes visits to Ellesmere so extreme and gives the reader a chance to understand the landscape through the lens of Kobalenko's treks. Then, using the series of twenty or so sledging treks that Kobalenko has made around the island, the book shifts gradually into a personal history of the exploration era of the early 1900s when Peary and Cook and other arctic explorers used Ellesmere as a base for their attempts to get to the North Pole or to discover new lands.

Although sometimes oddly repetitive, which I suppose is because the book was formed from a series of magazine articles, the book became more captivating for me as it got deeper into the history.


Winner of the Banff Mountain Book Festival Award for Adventure Travel in 2002. From the award citation:

In the book, Kobalenko explores the past and present of this forbidding but beautiful landscape. Julie-Ann Clyma, a 2002 jury member, comments: "Kobalenko’s The Horizontal Everest stood out. He writes with passion, clarity and — praise be — some humour. I found myself smiling a lot at his observations."


Related Books

bullet Arctic Crossing: A Journey Through the Inuit Passage And Northwest Culture by Jonathan Waterman 
bullet I May Be Some Time: Ice And The English Imagination by Francis Spufford 
bulletFour Against the Arctic: Shipwrecked for Six Years at the Top of the World by David Roberts
bulletThe Man Who Mapped the Arctic by Peter Steele
bullet End of the Earth: Voyages to Antarctica; Peter Matthiessen
bulletFatal Passage: The Story of John Rae, the Arctic Hero Time Forgot by Ken McGoogan

Click here to see the full list of books that we have reviewed.


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