- Publication date: 18 Oct 2018
- Publisher: William Collins
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07DQGFJYS
- Source: ARC copy from the publisher via NetGalley
My eyes lifted to the horizon and the unmistakable snowy outline of Everest.
Everest, the mountain of my childhood dreams. A mountain that has haunted me my whole life. A mountain I have seen hundreds of times in photographs and films but never in real life.
In April 2018, seasoned adventurer Ben Fogle and Olympic cycling gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, along with mountaineer Kenton Cool, took on their most exhausting challenge yet – climbing Everest for the British Red Cross to highlight the environmental challenges mountains face. It would be harrowing and exhilarating in equal measure as they walked the fine line between life and death 8,000 metres above sea level.
For Ben, the seven-week expedition into the death zone was to become the adventure of a lifetime, as well as a humbling and enlightening journey. For his wife Marina, holding the family together at home, it was an agonising wait for news. Together, they dedicated the experience to their son, Willem Fogle, stillborn at eight months.
Cradling little Willem to say goodbye, Ben and Marina made a promise to live brightly. To embrace every day. To always smile. To be positive and to inspire. And from the depths of their grief and dedication, Ben’s Everest dream was born.
Up, from here the only way was Up.
Part memoir, part thrilling adventure, Ben and Marina’s account of his ascent to the roof of the world is told with their signature humour and warmth, as well as with profound compassion.
I have a bit of an obsession with Everest and have read quite a few interesting books on the subject in the past including old books about the expeditions of George Mallory and more recent ones about him. I’ve also read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, more than once and Bear Grylls book about his expedition at least twice and countless others (all books mentioned in this book) so when I saw this one on NetGalley I was fortunate enough to be accepted to read it.
In recent times, there appears to be a bit of a misconception that’s developed about Everest and that is with the latest equipment and technology and the sheer numbers of people attempting to summit the highest mountain in the world, in guided tours and some assume that it’s an easy climb – it isn’t. Nothing about climbing Everest is easy. Every step of it is highly dangerous, treacherous and life threatening in so many different ways. Ben Fogle with his thirst for adventure and in his self effacing manner describes his perilous journey to the top of the world.
After the stillborn death of their young son Wilhem, Ben and his wife Marina vow to live brightly and embrace every day.
Ben’s childhood dream to one day climb Everest becomes a reality and along with Victoria Pendleton, the Olympic cyclist in his team. Both train hard for the ultimate adventure of a lifetime. Ben’s wife and two young children stay at home and follow his progress and Marina shares her thoughts, feelings and worry about his safety in this book not knowing if she would ever see her husband again.
I really enjoyed the book and as usual when I read books about Everest started to feel freezing cold and extremely anxious about the outcome for the team. I recognised all the usual stages, including the Khumbu icefall not far from base camp that is one of the most dangerous parts to pass through on that route. The acclimatisation process of getting the body used to functioning at higher altitudes. Fogle describes the whole experience, the sights, the sounds and smells, the Sherpas, the food and I felt as if I was there and whenever he veered off in the book to write about his previous adventures I wanted him to go back to writing about Everest! (Diving with crocodiles? Is he mad?)
At one point there was a terrible storm up Everest with members of another team reported missing and the survival of Ben Fogle’s team depended on their tent staying up while they waited the storm out on an ice ledge thousands of feet up.
No spoilers for anyone who is unaware of the outcome of the team effort or individuals.
The only complaint about the book is that I wanted it to be longer!
Ben Fogle is a presenter, writer,
adventurer and dog lover. His passion for
animals and wildlife has taken him all
over the world, and he has presented
numerous programmes including the
BBC’s Animal Park, Wild in Africa,
Countryfile, Crufts, One Man and His
Dog and Extreme Dreams. He writes
regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and
the Independent and has written
numerous bestselling books. He
campaigns tirelessly for conservation,
the environment and animal welfare, is
an ambassador for WWF, Médecins
Sans Frontières and Tusk, a fellow of the
Royal Geographical Society and the
President of the Campaign for National
MARINA FOGLE is a writer and broadcaster. She produces a weekly podcast, The Parent Hood, has a monthly column in the Mail on Sunday and has written a bestselling book, The Bump Class (Ebury). Ben and Marina live in West London with their two children, Ludo and Iona, and their Labrador, Storm.