SPORTS & RECREATION

Hidden Mountains: Survival and Reckoning After a Climb Gone Wrong

Ecco: HarperCollins Jan. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780063085527. $28.99. REC
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Climbing guide Wejchert (chair, Mountain Rescue Service) chronicles a climbing expedition by four friends to Alaska’s Hidden Mountains. This range southwest of Anchorage is very remote and contains lots of unnamed and unclimbed peaks. The climbers’ skills and experience were up to this challenge, but when a fall renders Emmett (one of the climbers) unresponsive, a rescue is requested. A search and rescue (SAR) team is mobilized, and a perilous airlift rescues the injured climber, flying him to Anchorage for medical treatment. Advances in technology now allow remote climbing parties to signal for help, which is great, but it puts a strain on a woefully inadequate and patchwork network of SAR operations and endangers those (mostly volunteers) who try to help. Wejchert weaves interviews with SAR experts with his own stories and others’ tales of climbing experiences to remote locations, where a rescue may become impossible.
VERDICT Wejchert’s personal relationship with the climbers, especially Emmett, make for a compelling, page-turning story. This title is recommended for fans of adventure stories.
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