Below Another Sky: A Mountain Adventure in Search of a Lost Father

Ridgeway, Rick

Published by Holt Paperbacks, 2002
ISBN 10: 0805069275 / ISBN 13: 9780805069273
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Synopsis: Combining gripping adventure writing with intimate memoir, Rick Ridgeway takes readers to the mysterious mountain domain of Tibet and into the remote corners of his past. In what Tim Cahill called the "most intensely personal" of his books, Ridgeway recounts the extraordinary journey he takes with Asia Wright, the daughter of his friend Jonathan, who was killed during an expedition with Ridgeway in a terrifying avalanche twenty years earlier. Hoping to help her connect with the father she never knew, Ridgeway takes her to the breathtaking Himalayas her father so cherished. Trekking through forbidding terrain and threatening weather, and past jumpy border patrols, they search for the place where he died.

Here, Ridgeway's storytelling technique hits perfect pitch as he weaves together indelible stories of past adventures with his and Asia's journey of self-discipline and self-discovery. Below Another Sky is at once an evaluation of a life lived on the edge and a wrenching story of loss-and of truths revealed.

Review: On October 13, 1980, alpinists Rick Ridgeway and Yvon Chouinard, in company with National Geographic photographer Jonathan Wright, were struggling up the slopes of the little-explored Tibetan mountain Minya Konka when an avalanche swallowed them. Wright, only 28 years old, died. As he did, Ridgeway writes, "something left him. I saw it." The survivors buried Wright in a rocky grave on Minya Konka's flanks and, dispirited, returned home with the haunting vision of that death always in their memories.

Fast-forward nearly 20 years. Wright's daughter, an infant when he died, asks Ridgeway to take her to Tibet, climb Minya Konka with her, and find her father's grave. Their remarkable journey in honor of a lost friend and father, one that would honor Wright's vow "to live each day as though it were my only one" and that would take them into mountains that had never before been climbed, forms the heart of Ridgeway's thoughtful memoir, which is sure to become a classic of mountaineering literature. The book is, however, more than a simple narrative of a difficult task accomplished; it affords Ridgeway an opportunity to reflect on his many perilous adventures (kayaking in the stormy waters off Tierra del Fuego and scaling Mount Everest among them) and on what drives him to undertake such challenges in the face of hard-earned knowledge of the risks involved--all of it having something to do, as he writes, with "telling yourself you're not sure you can make it, but making it anyway."

Like Peter Matthiessen's Snow Leopard, Ridgeway's book involves a voyage of personal discovery that's rich with meaning. And, like Matthiessen's book, Below Another Sky deserves a place on the shelves of anyone possessed by the spirit of adventure. --Gregory McNamee

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Title: Below Another Sky: A Mountain Adventure in ...
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Very Good

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