Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Would You Climb A 14,000 Foot Mountain?

I'm a couch potato. Sure, I drag myself to the gym several times a week, but exercise is NOT my idea of a good time.  Mark Obmascik felt the same way when his twelve year old son pestered him into climbing a mountain.  He figured it would be a good bonding experience, and that he'd probably survive.

For your reading pleasure today, I present Halfway to Heaven, the story of - in his own words - a fat, mid-40s journalist who decides to scale all 54 of America's 14,000+ peaks...in a single year.  The author is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, so I assure you the prose is crisp and funny and honest.  Without any training, he leaps into the insular world of climbing.

Even in the middle of summer, each mountain is treacherous with snow and ice.  He has to somehow drum up climbing buddies (and many of his friends won't commit more than once).  Despite the constant danger, lack of sleep and oxygen, every mountain is a fresh and different story, laced with fascinating tidbits of Colorado history, climbing lore, and juggling a midlife crisis, a scared wife and an almost teenage son.  Obmascik loses weight, gains confidence, strengthens friendships, and provides a vicarious adventure enjoyable to all.

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