Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow

Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow

The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure

Maria Coffey; Foreword by Tom Hornbein

St. Martin's Press



Without risk, say mountaineers, there would be none of the self-knowledge that comes from pushing life to its extremes. For them, perhaps, it is worth the cost. But when tragedy strikes, what happens to the people left behind? Why would anyone choose to invest in a future with a high-altitude risk-taker? What is life like in the shadow of the mountain? Such questions have long been taboo in the world of mountaineering. Now, the spouses, parents and children of internationally renowned climbers finally break their silence, speaking out about the dark side of adventure.

Maria Coffey confronted one of the harshest realities of mountaineering when her partner Joe Tasker disappeared on the Northeast Ridge of Everest in 1982. In Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow, Coffey offers an intimate portrait of adventure and the conflicting beauty, passion, and devastation of this alluring obsession. Through interviews with the world's top climbers, or their widows and families-Jim Wickwire, Conrad Anker, Lynn Hill, Joe Simpson, Chris Bonington, Ed Viesturs, Anatoli Boukreev, Alex Lowe, and many others-she explores what compels men and women to give their lives to the high mountains. She asks why, despite the countless tragedies, the world continues to laud their exploits. With an insider's understanding, Coffey reveals the consequences of loving people who pursue such risk-the exhilarating highs and inevitable lows, the stress of long separations, the constant threat of bereavement, and the lives shattered in the wake of climbing accidents.

Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow is a powerful, affecting and important book that exposes the far reaching personal costs of extreme adventure.

National Outdoor Book Awards - Winner


Praise for Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow

Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow...has taken me on a journey I did not anticipate and has left me with deeper understanding and appreciation for those on the other side of the mountain.” —Tom Hornbein from the foreword to Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow

“This haunting book is the first of its kind in mountaineering literature. No longer will we be able to ignore the cost of climbing to our familes and loved ones.” —Jim Wickwire, coauthor of Addicted to Danger

“This compelling book offers voices from the other side of the mountaineering story - those left behind. With her history of personal pain, Coffey has an entrée into the shattered worlds of wives, husbands and children. A consistent pattern emerges: The climbers addiction pushes them to a terrible end. Coffey explores all dimensions of these tragedies, including why anyone would attempt a relationship with a serious climber.” —The Los Angeles Times

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Maria Coffey; Foreword by Tom Hornbein

Maria Coffey is the author and co-author of ten books, including Fragile Edge, an account of her relationship with the mountaineer Joe Tasker and his death on Everest. She lives with her husband Dag Goering on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Maria Coffey

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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