Announcing Our Best Books of 2021

A Beginner's Guide to Mountaineering: Background information when reading Halfway to Heaven

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Halfway to Heaven

My White-knuckled - and Knuckleheaded - Quest for the Rocky Mountain High

by Mark Obmascik

Halfway to Heaven by Mark Obmascik X
Halfway to Heaven by Mark Obmascik
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2009, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2010, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

A Beginner's Guide to Mountaineering

This article relates to Halfway to Heaven

Print Review

Mountain climbing, or mountaineering, is the sport of attaining or attempting to attain high points in mountainous regions, mainly for the pleasure of the climb. Before the 18th century, climbing for sport was rare. Humans did ascend high peaks, but generally only out of necessity or for religious reasons (many ancient religions such as the Mayans and Greeks built mountaintop shrines, and it is believed that pilgrims have been journeying to the foot of Mount Kailash in Tibet since well before recorded history).

The birth of contemporary mountain climbing came in 1760, when Horace Benedict de Saussure offered prize money for the first summit of Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in Europe (no attempt was successful until 1786). The first summit of the Matterhorn came in 1865. The activity became increasingly popular, with mountaineers looking for ever greater challenges, culminating in the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, on May 29, 1953. The invention of better, lighter climbing gear over the decades has enabled more and more people to participate in the sport. It is no longer just for the elite climber; thousands of "regular people" summit mountains every year.

In addition to the typical gear most people would take on a backpack trip, mountaineering requires some specialized equipment:

  • Good quality mountaineering boots, which differ significantly from hiking boots - the toes and soles are more rugged, with less flex to accommodate crampons.
  • Crampons – Metal "teeth" that are attached to hiking boots, providing extra traction when walking on hard snow or ice.
  • Helmet – Protects from falling rock.
  • Trekking poles – A pair of light-weight, adjustable poles, used to assist with balance. They also reduce stress on the lower half of the body by absorbing some of the impact of walking over difficult terrain.
  • Ice axe – Used to provide extra stability in snow and prevent slipping. It can also be used to stop the climber from sliding all the way down a snowfield. Finally, it is used to chop steps in snow or ice to make footing more secure.
  • In Class 4 and 5 climbing, the use of a rope, harness, and anchors may be necessary.

Even with the appropriate gear, mountaineering is a dangerous sport. Lower air pressure and lack of oxygen can lead to severe headaches, nausea and lethargy, collectively known as altitude sickness. The afflicted individual may eventually acclimatize, but altitude sickness can lead to high altitude cerebral or pulmonary edema (an edema is a swelling caused by fluid trapped in the body's tissues), either of which can be fatal. In addition there are a whole raft of other potential conditions that can afflict climbers, from snow blindness to what is politely known as high altitude flatus expulsion, which is caused by the differential between the lowering external pressure and the relatively high pressure within the body.

Despite the many different ways to achieve injury or death on a mountain, the most common cause of injury is, as you would expect, falling.

Useful Links

Filed under Cultural Curiosities

Article by Kim Kovacs

This "beyond the book article" relates to Halfway to Heaven. It originally ran in May 2009 and has been updated for the May 2010 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Book of Mother
    The Book of Mother
    by Violaine Huisman
    Fictionalizing the life of author Violaine Huisman's own mother, this debut novel is split into ...
  • Book Jacket
    People from My Neighborhood
    by Hiromi Kawakami
    People from My Neighborhood is exactly what it sounds like — an unnamed narrator recounts a ...
  • Book Jacket
    Win Me Something
    by Kyle Lucia Wu
    Kyle Lucia Wu's Win Me Something opens with a young woman named Willa explaining that she did not ...
  • Book Jacket: The Island of Missing Trees
    The Island of Missing Trees
    by Elif Shafak
    The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak tells a tale of generational trauma, explores identity ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Beasts of a Little Land
    by Juhea Kim

    An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement.

Who Said...

Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Y Can't S T H, G O O T K

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.