Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Seven titles about the triumphs & tragedies of mountain climbing

Karen Outen’s fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, The North American Review, Essence, and elsewhere. She is a 2018 recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award and has been a fellow at both the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan and the Pew Fellowships in the Arts. She received an MFA from the University of Michigan. She lives in Maryland.

Dixon, Descending is her debut novel.

At Electric Lit Outen tagged seven books thar "delve into the 'why' questions to give us more nuanced accounts of the triumphs and tragedies that so often go hand in hand in the mountains and in the lives of climbers." One title on the list:
Life and Death on Mt. Everest: Sherpas and Himalayan Mountaineering by Sherry B. Ortner

An integral part of the climbing experience for Western climbers involves their relationships with the Sherpas. In Life and Death on Mt. Everest: Sherpas and Himalayan Mountaineering, anthropologist Sherry B. Ortner lays bare the conundrums presented by Western dependence on Sherpa support in climbing Everest, and on the difficult choices facing the Sherpas who work for them. For instance, many Sherpas believe the mountain to be sacred and the very idea of climbing it violates their beliefs, yet they can earn nearly a year’s wages from one expedition. Are Sherpas ultimately exploited, or is the economic benefit to Sherpa families worth the risk? Can either Westerners or Sherpas fully “cross the cultural divide to form a mutually beneficial working relationship?”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue