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Nanda  Devi: The  Tragic Expedition 

By John  Roskelley  

Stackpole  Books, Harrisburg, 1st Edition: 1987, 2nd Edition: 2000; 239 pages

Nanda  Devi: The  Tragic Expedition  Nanda  Devi: The  Tragic Expedition, 2nd edition


“This is a book that tells the story of a harrowing and complex series of events that occurred on Nanda Devi in 1976; an expedition conceived by a father and his daughter, whose name was given in honour of the mountain: Nanda Devi Unsoeld. Her father, Willi Unsoeld, it will be remembered, made the first ascent of the West Ridge of Everest with Hornbein. The Nanda Devi expedition began in some confusion, which continued all the way to and up the mountain, and culminated in the death of Devi Unsoeld at Camp 4 after a deservedly successful ascent by John Roskelley, Lou Reichardt and Jim States. Roskelley has written the book, a very personal account which gives a detailed and emotive view of what went on.”
Jim Curran, “Mountain” 1988,  July/August, No 122, p. 42

“This tale has to be read as both an expedition story (how the North Ridge was climbed) and the real version of the team's conflicts — an aspect which is being hyped for publicity purposes. Oddly enough, Nanda Devi works best as an expedition book. (…)Nanda Devi is not for the faint of heart; strong emotions thunder through it, and the everpresent pall of death will effect even the most hardened.”
Stuart Pregnall, „Climbing”, 1988, December, No 105, p. 112

“There is a lot of "I" in this book. Too much of it for me. Though if that were all—too much ego, the book could still hold its own. And there's the rub. The same single-mindedness that served Roskelley well on the mountain and allowed him, Lou Reichardt and Jim States to push a new route up through the difficult North Buttress here gets in the way and throws the scale out of balance. This is a partial telling, partial both to Roskelley himself and to his closest allies on the climb. There are lengthy accounts of why he was right about events and others were wrong. Most notably, he implies that he alone understood the reasons for Hoey's illness and Devi Unsoeld's death. All too often the "I" in the book becomes, "I told you so." That is where it suffers.”
Erik S. Hansen, “American Alpine Journal” 1988, p. 292-294

“Roskelley writes clearly, concisely, and directly to the point. He has, after all, never been accused of mincing words. As you might not expect, however, Roskelley has written a balanced and, at times, eloquent account of this troubled expedition and its tragic consequences. He readily acknowledges that his blunt outspokeness contributed to the division in the team. What emerges is the unmistakable impression that Roskelley, for all his drive and ambition, both understood and cared for even those who were, at times, his ardent adversaries.”
Robert F. Rosebrough, “Summit”, 1988, November-December, p. 32

 

 

 
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