Master of Thin Air
The true story of a man who climbed the world’s fourteen tallest mountains—named one of Backpacker’s “Five Adventure Books You Need to Read This Summer.” On Earth, there are only fourteen mountains exceeding 8,000 meters (26,000-plus feet). Beyond that height, any climbers who dare to go on are walking into a death zone where there’s not enough oxygen for humans to breathe. But Australian mountaineer Andrew Lock wanted to do more than climb and survive just one of these killer mountains—he wanted to conquer them all. Here, he tells the harrowing, heartbreaking, and ultimately triumphant account of his sixteen-year journey to summit the world’s “eight-thousanders”—which he accomplished without the aid of bottled oxygen for all but one mountain. Climbing solo or in small teams without Sherpa guides, Lock went on twenty-three expeditions, spending a total of three years of his life ascending these dangerous ranges—losing more than twenty climbing friends and, in April 2014, witnessing Mount Everest’s deadliest avalanche. Master of Thin Air is the riveting, thrilling account of what it takes to challenge the planet’s highest peaks and survive. It tells of death-defying ascents and even riskier descents, the gut-dropping consequences of the smallest mistakes or plain bad luck, the camaraderie and human drama of expeditions, and the sheer exhilaration of altitude. It is also the inspiring story of what motivates a person to achieve an extraordinary dream, a story of passion, resourcefulness, self-motivation, and hope—even at the edge of death.