Minus 148 Degrees

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Press:Mountaineers Books Mountaineers Books; 3rd edition (December 1, 1999)
Publication Date:1999-07
Author Name:Art Davidson


Classic tale of dramatic near-death experiences in the harshest of conditions.


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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     Good read. I like pushing the body & minds limit and this is a pretty good tale of that. I am a southern guy so I find it hard to image surviving in below +50 degrees more...
  •     Amazing trip and a very well written book. I love to read stories about strong-willed people determined to overcome all odds. You will not regret this purchase. It is almost as exciting and a fast read as into thin air, by Jon Krakauer. Amazing story considering they attempted this in 1967. Must read!!!'
  •     A pretty quick and easy read, yet truly one of mountaineering's classics. Well written and compelling.
  •     Total page-turner. Absolutely loved this book. If you like adventure you'll enjoy it.
  •     After reading this, you get a bit of understanding just how ridiculously difficult and dangerous it is to climb the highest peaks in the world.
  •     I was recommended this book by our tour guide when we recently visited Denali, in Alaska. While I kept a safe distance on a tour bus, a group of young men several decades ago...
  •     One of the best books I've ever read! Art has such a great voice as an author and the story in and of itself is amazing.
  •     The climb to the summit of Denali is difficult in good weather, but to reach the summit and successfully descend in the dead of winter truly is insane.
  •     Mt. McKinley is a daunting climb during climbing season. No one had ever summitted in winter because to do so is to invite almost certain death.The author and his friends, in what can only be described as youthful arrogance and hubris, decide to make the first winter summit. This story is seat-of-the-pants exciting as the successful summiteers get stuck and have to reckon with one of the lowest recorded wind-chill temperatures ever seen in North America.The group did summit, though one of their team members was lost early on the way up in a crevasse. Just how remarkable their winter summit was is then demonstrated when the survivors get trapped in a snow storm or whiteout on the way down. The mountaineers are forced to dig a snow cave and then are trapped their by the brutal conditions for over forty days - stranded on the top of the mountain. The title comes from the low temperature they recorded of minus 148 degrees (wind chill). With thin air, scant food and gusting winds that would sweep them off the mountain if they tried to move from the cave, it is a wonder they survived.This is a gripping book of survival in the meanest and most raw conditions. A good read that was tough to put down.
  •     A must for the mountaineering reader.
  •     One of the most honest climbing accounts I have read.
  •     I first read this book in 1972 while in high school. Could not read it fast enough but did not want it to end. Had all the adventure and suspense of a true Alaskan adventure. On my second trip to Alaska as a state park campground host in 1994 I worked in Denali state park. Not until later did I realize that the six foot five, red head ranger was none other than Dave Johnston. One of the first three men to reach the summit of Mount McKinley in the winter. To know that these men could survive such an ordeal and years later be so down to earth. If you enjoy books about Alaska and not just mountaineering this is a must read.
  •     It is clear from the beginning of this book that trouble was looming on the horizon for these intrepid, but somewhat reckless, climbers. The loss early on of one of their comrades to a fall into a crevasse was predictable. How they could think of walking unroped, on a glacier that they knew was ridden with crevasses, is almost unbelievable. This was due, no doubt, to youthful inexperience and a lack of leadership necessary to set the parameters of what would be acceptable in terms of safety. These factors combined were to cost them dearly. It was not until near the end of their forty two day stay on the mountain, that they coalesced into a team.Notwithstanding the sheer recklessness of their initial, bumbling efforts at a winter ascent of Mt. McKinley, the fact remains that they did achieve the first such summit, no mean feat any time of year, but almost inconceivable in the dead of winter. Coming off the summit, their thermometer recorded the temperature at a quite bone chilling minus fifty eight degrees.Caught in a whiteout on their descent, however, the three summiteers were forced to dig a snow cave, where they were to spend endless days, in weather which saw temperatures plummet to an almost mind boggling minus one hundred and forty eight degrees with the wind chill factor, hence the name of the book. That they could survive this, is a testament to their fortitude.In their snow cave, it was a relatively toasty minus thirty five below. That snow cave was the only thing that stood between them and certain death. With virtually no food, frost bitten, and suffering from disorientation due to the altitude, they waited out the storm and lived to tell the tale.This gripping chronicle, of the forty two days they spent on the highest and coldest mountain in North America, is a classic in mountaineering literature and one of the best books on McKinley climbs. Those who love this genre will certainly enjoy this book. It is made all the more interesting by the author's new afterword, which gives a retrospective of what happened to all those who participated in the first winter ascent of Mt. McKinley.
  •     I bought this book because I wanted to get a feel for high altitude climbing though I have no interest in climbing for myself. Geez! I got the picture. I'm still blown away by the story of what happened on the mountain. But, thankfully, blown away, only in a metaphorical sense...I had a friend who was a high altitude climber who told me about a friend climbing in the Himalayas. The guy went out during a blizzard at high altitude to relieve himself and was never seen again. My friend said,"He was blown into the stratosphere". I never understood that kind of language until I read this book.It's an incredible story of survival right up there with the story of the voyage of the crew of the Endurance.The writing is awfully good for a mountain climber!
  •     If you are thinking of attempting a Denali summit, read this.This is a well told, first-hand account.-148 is cold.

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