Aug. 19, 2017

“And after the wind… a still, small voice…” 1 Kings 19:11-12

After the Wind: Tragedy on Everest: One Survivor’s Story by Lou Kasischke

In 1996 eight people from three expeditions perished when trapped by a storm on Mount Everest. Included in the dead were the leaders of two of the expeditions, Rob Hall and Scott Fisher. There have been a lot of books written covering the tragedy, exploring exactly what went wrong.

Survivors have written books telling the tale from their own perspectives. These accounts do not always agree. I think it safe to say that if you were not there yourself, there is no way to know who is and who isn’t correct. Therefore I believe in taking everyone at their word that their story is what they experienced.

This is the story of Lou Kasischke. In the horror that descended on the mountain that day, Lou’s inner voice saved his life. With climbers still headed for the summit, Lou turned around knowing this was his only shot at Everest. Yet Lou came home from the mountain without severe injury. Others who summited never left the mountain…

Lou’s story of what happened rather than assign blame cites mistakes made for which there is no good answer. He had joined Rob Hall’s Adventure Consultants Expedition based on Rob’s success and his impeccable safety record. The year prior, Rob had turned his team around in sight of the peak when he felt conditions were not conducive to a safe summit bid.

Things didn’t go as planned in 1996. Rob’s usual all-star crew had prior commitments, so he had to replace them with men without the same experience. None of the new guides felt comfortable about making decisions without Rob. Rob’s inflexible turnaround time was ignored in favor of getting the most people to the summit. The sudden storm was the final blow.

Lou doesn’t discount sacrifices made to help rescue climbers lost in the storm and darkness. The questions he asks are about ways the tragedy might have been avoided altogether. Once disaster struck, efforts made to rescue the climbers were partially successful. One man survived after being left for dead. But five died including Rob and Mountain Madness Expedition leader Scott Fisher. Three more died from an expedition climbing Everest from the opposite side. Lou could have been among them except for obedience to that inner voice…

I give this book five stars…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>