Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Summit by Eric Alexander

The Summit: Faith Beyond Everest's Death Zone by Eric Alexander, is a chonicle of the spiritual journey as well as the physical expedition of Mount Everest.  Not only a journal of the past paced action of the challenges presented in climbing the most formidable of  mountains, the spiritual journey as well is described in indepth detail.

The battle is not just extremely physical, as most would rightly assume with no doubt, but spiritual as well!  How unlikely, many readers may say to themselves as they neglect to consider that not only do the mountaineers meet up with life threatening physical battles and obsticles but spiritual obsticles as well.   Eric chronicles the spiritual opposition faced as a bible believing Christian in the midst of the "oppressive false spiristism of the Hindus" (page 32) ...."How such an oppressive spirit existed in the midst of such kind, servant-like, humble and genuine people" is an irony that he ponders. "...people are indeed captive to many spirits: decpetive and controlling". It is deeply ironic that the majestic beauty of the mountains, which glorify God's creation and his eternal powers are situated in a culture of people who are blinded by false religion.  The beauty of the snowy environment is  overshadowed by the looming evil spirits and the culture of superstion. In fact, Eric must make conscious efforts to avoid active participation in the supertitious rituals and native idols that even his expedition mates fall prey to.

This book covers the wide variety of emotions encountered: such as the joys of success, in which success is not defined in worldly standards of accomplishing material goals and personal  recognition  but in maintaining one's integrity and self sacrifice.  The fear and human emotion of loss is addressed with the death of the author's climbing parnter just two weeks before the climb to Everest.  There are some humorous moments as well when the author thinks he can fool his blind climbing parnter Erik into sleeping on the "scary" side of the tent which borders the edge of a cliff.  In response, Erik is keen enough to avoid the bad side, by staking his claim on the "good" side by placing his dirty underwear on the side he wants. There is plenty of good scientific description about the climbing process and acclimization as well.  In the back there is an appenix with a glossary and detailed equipment lists.  There is a full color insert of photographs as well sandwiched in the center of the book.  As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I recieved a copy of this book for the purposes of writing a review.

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