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Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest [Paperback]

Lincoln Hall
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 19 2009
Lincoln Hall's breathtaking account of surviving a night in Everest's "death zone."

Lincoln Hall likes to say that on the evening of May 25, 2006, he died on Everest. Indeed, Hall attempted to climb the mountain during a deadly season in which eleven people perished. And he was, in fact, pronounced dead, after collapsing from altitude sickness. Two Sherpas spent hours trying to revive him, but as darkness fell, word came via radio from the expedition's leader that they should descend in order to save themselves. The news of Hall's death traveled rapidly from mountaineering websites to news media around the world, and ultimately to his family back in Australia. Early the next morning, however, an American guide, climbing with two clients and a Sherpa, was startled to find Hall sitting cross-legged on a sharp crest of the summit ridge.

In this page-turning account of survival against all odds, Hall chronicles in fascinating detail the days and nights that led up to his fateful night in Mount Everest's "death zone." His story is all the more miraculous given his climbing history. Hall had been part of Australia's first attempt to reach the top of Everest in 1984 but had not done any major climbing for many years, having set aside his passion in order to support his family. While others in the team achieved their dream during this 1984 expedition, Hall was forced to turn back due to illness. Thus, his triumph in reaching the summit at the age of fifty is a story unto itself. So, too, is Hall's description of his family's experience back in Australia, as sudden grief turned to relief and joy in a matter of hours. Rarely has there been such a thrilling narrative of one man's encounter with the world's tallest mountain.

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"There have been a great many Everest-themed books lately, but this one stands alone."
-Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Lincoln Hall is one of Australia's best known mountaineers, with a climbing career that spans three decades, most notably in the Himalaya, Antarctica and the Andes. He had a key role in the first Australian ascent of Mount Everest in 1984, and his account of that expedition, White Limbo, became a bestseller. Hall's second book was The Loneliest Mountain, the story of a journey to Antarctica in a small yacht and the first ascent of Mount Minto. His only published work of fiction is Blood on the Lotus, an historical novel set in Nepal and Tibet. Fear No Boundary is Hall's biography of his friend Sue Fear, who died mountaineering in the Himalaya while Hall was on Mount Everest in 2006. He has worked as a trekking guide, has edited adventure magazines, and is a director of the Australian Himalayan Foundation. Hall was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1987 for his services to mountaineering. He lives with his wife, Barbara Scanlan, and their two teenage sons, Dylan and Dorje, in Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales.

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Most helpful customer reviews
After a failed attempt in 1984, Lincoln Hall returned to Everest in 2006 to be the camera man for an attempt by a young Australian. Hall describes the drive to base camp, the acclimatization climbs, and the many deaths on the mountain in 2006, including David Sharp. When his client dropped out, Hall continued the climb and reached the Everest summit on May 25 at 9am. "The crest of the summit itself rose like a small breaking wave, creating a final half-metre-high step. I paused for an extra breath then stepped up onto the highest point on the planet. Eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty metres. I was alone on the roof of the world."

On the descent after passing the Third Step, Hall collapsed, becoming: "a delirious, unaccomodating person ... staggering a few steps, collapsing in the snow, muttering nonsense, refusing to cooperate." The Sherpas tried dragging him down the mountain, but gave up as night approached. "After lying totally motionless in the snow at 8600 metres for two hours, I had been pronounced dead, with the probable cause of death being cerebral oedema."

"I was no longer capable of distinguishing between the reality of the mountain and the fabrications of my mind. ... I was exhausted, frostbitten and alone on the summit ridge of Everest. I had begun the decline, which would finish with me freezing to death. ... The horror of this realization snapped me into complete lucidity. I knew I had to escape from this awful predicament."

Hall contrasts what is happening to him on Everest with his wife, family and friends, who were told he was dead. The next morning Dan Mazur, Andrew Brash, Myles Osbourne, and Jangbu Sherpa found Hall, who was able to speak coherently with them, but still suffering hallucinations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story :-) May 15 2008
By Little Miss Cutey - Published on
Over two years ago, Lincoln experienced the best and the worst of Mt Everest. He was reaching the summit when he got a severe case of altitude sickness. His group attempted to revive him, but when that failed he was left for dead, very close to the summit. As fate would have it, a group of climbers making their way up, saw him in desperate need of help and ultimately saved his life. He writes about his horrible ordeal in this amazing book.
His hands and feet were absolutely covered in frostbite. He has had some limbs and toes and fingers amputated, and various other surgeries as a result of his experience up there. He refers to May 26, 2006 as the day he died, and writes in here the pros and cons for climbing Everest. He puts his family on both lists; on the con - the fear of leaving his wife and kids without a husband or father and on the pro list, the idea to show them that he was willing to take a chance to live out his dream. He describes the bitter cold and all the thoughts running through his head. It's a book that takes you through different emotions - triumph, fear, relief and everything in between.
Whether you like mountain climbing or not, this book is a great read. It is moving and interesting and it's good to see a happy ending. I really enjoyed this and hope you will too.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lincoln Hall tells a great story May 16 2008
By Erik Stewart - Published on
I got this book a year ago thru a friend from Australia when it first came out over there. I read it in one sitting and could not put it down. For those who have read Beck Weathers Left For Dead, Lincoln Hall goes even further into the fight for living after the physical part is gone. I have all of Lincoln Hall's books he has wrote, and along with Blood On The Lotus this is his best writing.If you are into the physical and mental demands of what climbing Everest is about, Lincoln really blows you away with his own mind trip that night as he lay there in a fantasy world of his own.Excellent read..
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about this one Sept. 17 2008
By Justry - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm an avid reader and find especially interesting the personal accounts of extreme survival situations. I am in awe of strength of the human spirit and the will to survive. Lincoln Hall's ordeal is no exception. I do however take exception to how poorly this book is written. Now I know not all and actually most people that do have these experiences aren't authors and so some forgiveness is required. But this guy....hmmmm he professes to be a writer! Whoa, I struggled with much of the book, because it was/is so poorly written. He rambles and there are paragraphs of boring minutia, that not only don't reveal any insight into who he is, nothing of any real interest regarding the "story" is added. Yes he survived an event that most people would not have and thus obviously has a story to tell, but his editor should have reined him in and kept his rambling under control. I say don't waste your money and check it out from a library rather than buy it. Buy... Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, instead.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read June 5 2008
By Larry - Published on
This is an excellent book- very well written and hard to put down. I have read many books on climbing and Everest, and this is one of, if not the best. His survival is incredible, and it's nice to read how histhoughts and love of his family kept him going (and played into whether he would attempt the climb at all) at a time when so many people only think of themselves. I highly recommend this book.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story of human spirit May 27 2008
By T. Wagoner - Published on
This is much more than just a story of a climb to Mt. Everest (which is a inspiring story on it's own!). This is a story about the strength of the human spirit. There is no scientific explanation for his survival. It is obvious the strength of his mind/spirit is what brought him down from that mountain. The story was written well and enjoyable to read. Although I enjoy the outdoors, I am not a mountain climber, and I found this book so inspiring!
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