Summit 8000

I am deathly afraid of heights.  So much so that I cannot even climb a ladder.  True story.  Because of this fear, I have never been on a mountain.  I've never even seen real snow.  The only thing we normally get in Texas is ice.

One thing that is amazing about reading books is that you get to go on adventures that you would never dream of go on in real life.  For me, that would be mountain climbing.  I think that's why I loved Summit 8000 as much as I did.


I admire the sport of mountain climbing so much.  It takes strength, perseverance, and faith which is what we see in Summit 8000 as Australian climber Andrew Lock takes it through his mountain climbing career.  Andrew started climbing in 1985 as a sport but climbing quickly became a passion.  

"The mountains are a medium through which we can discover who we really are.  Altitude exposes our strengths and weaknesses, our true characters." -Andrew Lock

There are 14 mountains that are over 8000 meters and Andrew Lock decided to join a very small group of people who have summited (reached the peak) each 8000-meter mountain and lived to tell about it. 

Andrew became the first Australian to have climbed all fourteen of the world's 8000 meter mountains and you are with him on each expedition.  He talks about the trails of mountaineering like going without food and water for hours at a time while also exerting a tremendous amounts of energy.

Reading about the several times he fell down a mountain or the times he had to bivouac on several of the mountains at extremely high altitudes in pitch black and absolute silence made my heart quicken.  Obviously, you knew Andrew somehow survived to tell about it but many of his comrades were not so lucky.  As the story continued, and with each new climber he would introduce, you began to wonder if this one was going to make it like Andrew did.  Sadly, many of them didn't but I know they all lost their lives doing something they loved.  That's all part of the risk of this very dangerous sport.

"In order to climb properly on big peaks one must free oneself of fear.  This means you must write yourself off before any big climb.  You must say to yourself, "I may die here." -Doug Scott

I don't want to spoil the story for anyone but when I first started reading about Andrew Lock's expeditions I was sure that Everest would be his toughest mountain to tame.  I was wrong.  Annapurna is the one mountain that he attempted and failed several times before finally reaching the summit and never climbing her again.

Annapurna

There were many times throughout this book that I found Andrew's words to be on the conceited side and moments where I thought, "Wow! This guy is heartless!"  There is one instance in particular that really got to me.  Andrew actually rationalized climbing again despite just watching his friend die right in front of him!  I could never do that but maybe it's that separation that sets Andrew Lock apart.  Andrew is the 18th man in the world to climb all the 8000ers after all.  Who am I to judge?

"Some might see my attitude as callous, but for me it was practical, given that we were there to climb the mountain." -Andrew Lock

Despite those few instances that made me cringe, Summit 8000 was a wonderful read.  It brought me into a world I've never known before.  I have now watched a few documentaries on climbing and find it absolutely fascinating.  There is one documentary that Andrew was apart of but I could not find it.

Andrew Lock claims to be done with mountain climbing but you can tell by his final words in the book that the hunger is still there despite mountaineering for twenty-seven years.  If you check out Andrew Lock's website you will find some amazing pictures from his expeditions as well as details about The Great Traverse Expedition which he is actually on right now!  Oh to have his stamina and drive...

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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