The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent

The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent

Author: Reinhold Messner
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Mountaineers Books (July 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0898865743
ISBN-13: 978-0898865745
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches

On August 20, 1980, Reinhold Messner, the world-renowned master of alpine-style climbing, became the first person to reach the summit of Everest solo and without supplemental oxygen. A vivid account of the expedition, “The Crystal Horizon” also reflects on how he explored his innermost thoughts while facing the most extreme physical challenge he had ever encountered. 217 photos. 36-page color photo insert .

The controversial Messner, revered by some as the spiritual leader of mountaineering and denounced by others as a macho peak-bagger, chronicles his extraordinary 1980 solo climb of the world’s tallest mountain. Messner’s philosophy dictates that he climb without the aid of oxygen and unencumbered by the people and equipment of large-scale expeditions; he carries only a tent, camera, some climbing equipment, and food. Climbing from the Tibetan side, Messner provides intriguing observations of that mysterious region. He also includes fascinating stories of the climbers who preceded him. Messner presents selections from the diary of his American girlfriend, who accompanied him to base camp. Messner’s reflections, coupled with those entries, show Messner to be egotistical and self-centered, perhaps the very characteristics that make him such a determined, ambitious, and great climber. Highly recommended for adult as well as YA collections.  – Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svces., Boulder, Col.

The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent
ByTim Schmidt (Washington) –
Great story, poorly translated, and bogs down in details you may not care about.

Reinhold Messner is clearly one of the great climbers of all time and maybe arguably the greatest. Having climbed all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters by himself without supplemental oxygen, this is the story of the tallest-Everest.

Like good fiction, the story has several dimensions that work together. The three basic themes include: · The story of the opening of Tibet · The story of climbing Everest · The story of a waiting love one

For the pure climbing enthusiast, much of this book is likely to be pretty boring. Approximately half the book is dedicated to the story of obtaining permission to climb Everest on the Tibetan side and his traveling through Tibet on his way to the mountain. Reinhold Messner has a deep love for Tibet and its people. For him this first trip through Tibet was as exciting as the assent of Everest. For someone less interested in this, the first half of the book is excruciating. Interwoven in this section is Messner’s political agenda to free Tibet from Chinese domination.

The story of the actual climb is amazing. Undeniably one of the most amazing ascents ever, he climbed Mount Everest, alone, without supplemental oxygen, during the monsoon period! Obviously crazy, the accomplishment is undeniable. What was especially great is getting a sense of what it was like for him to make the climb, the obstacles he faced, and the nearly robotic drive to the top of the mountain. It is both inspiring and daunting. During the ascent, he finds himself in impossible positions like his having fallen into a crevasse or crack in the glacier. You know that he survives but you still find your self on the edge of your seat in total suspense. It was difficult to put the book down during this part of the book.

Throughout the story there are excerpts from the diary of his girlfriend. For the most part, I found this annoying and did not want to hear her story. At the same time, it was interesting to have the perspective of the loved ones who wait at the bottom to see if you come home. It certainly is hard for anyone who cares. At the same time, those climbing the mountain give the mountain everything and emotionally, mentally, or physically there is nothing left. Undoubtedly this is a major reason for Messner’s previous divorce. While mountain climbing may be the art of suffering, this element of the book shows that it is also a part of the lives of the climber’s loved ones.

The worst part of the book is the writing. I am not sure if it is on the part of bad English by Reinhold Messner or poor translation by an editor. In either case, those familiar with working with the Germans will recognize the sometimes-strange sentence structure, phases that do not make sense, and the occasional struggle to figure out what the heck he is trying to say. I look forward to my German improving so that I can read the book in German.

All in all, an amazing story and is well worth the time to read it. The reader that is able to skim through uninteresting parts will enjoy the book more. Otherwise it requires some amount of dedication to power through the parts that are of disinterest.



About sulastama

Sulastama Raharja, Graduated from Geological Engineering, Gadjah Mada University.

Posted on January 20, 2011, in Biografi, Reinhold Messner and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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