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At some point during the inhumanly cold Himalayan winter straddling 1965 and 1966, a peculiar collection of box-shaped objects — one sprouting a six-foot, insect-like antenna — plummets nine thousand feet down the sheer flanks of a remote peak. Ripped from its moorings by an avalanche, the jumbled apparatus slides down a funnel-shaped hourglass of hard snow and shoots over a black cliff band, careening a vertical distance six times the height of the Empire State building. The boxes come to rest on the glacier at the mountain's base. One, an olive-drab casing the size of a personal computer, begins to sink. Then, trailing a robotic dogtail of torn wires, it slowly burns through the snow, melting into solid blue glacial ice, eventually disappearing beneath the surface, and never seen again. No one actually witnessed this event. But as you read these words, nearly four pounds of plutonium — locked in the glacier's dark unknowable heart — are almost certainly moving ever closer to the source of the Ganges River. Eye at the Top of the World, provides a harrowing present-day account of Takeda's expedition to solve the mystery of Nanda Devi.
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Pete Takeda is a senior contributing editor to Rock and Ice magazine and a contributor to Sports Afield and Backpacker. His climbing exploits have been covered in Sports Illustrated, Men's Health, Outside and Sports Afield, in which magazines he has also appeared for print ad campaigns. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.From Publishers Weekly:
In 1965, a CIA-recruited team of elite American and Indian mountaineers planted a sensor atop a Himalayan peak in India to eavesdrop on nuclear bomb and missile tests in western China, then unreachable by spy planes and satellites. But one sensor-powered by highly poisonous, radioactive plutonium-disappeared in an avalanche and remains lost to this day. Compelled by the mix of Cold War intrigue and his climbing jones, veteran mountaineer and writer Takeda (Climb!) organized a 2005 expedition to retrace that mission's steps. In this audacious account, Takeda describes the miseries of his team's grueling, near-fatal trek. An avalanche covered their camp, forcing them to dig for their lives. They retreated, then turned back again from a second summit when a storm intervened. After returning to the U.S., several members of the team underwent treatment for post-traumatic stress. Except for reviving the story, Taneka's book adds little to the history of the CIA operation, but it contains a good deal of lively, often hair-raising writing. Some armchair adventure travelers may roll their eyes at the positively masochistic suffering the expedition endured as it struggled up icy and increasingly dangerous slopes through deteriorating weather, but aficionados of the disastrous climbing trek genre will have few complaints.
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Book Description Basic Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1568583583 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW33.2692338
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