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In the new offering Forever on the Mountain ($27, wwnorton.com), James Tabor exposes the controversy that delayed the rescue of the 1967 Wilcox Denali Expedition and cost seven men their lives. Tabor reconstructs the stranded mountaineers’ last days from meager evidence of a camp found near the summit. Presumably, the seven got lost in the white out and hunkered down in ice caves for two weeks on a wind-scoured precipice near 20,000 ft. There they attempted to wait out one of Denali’s worst storms, unable to descend, stricken with altitude sickness and starvation. Tabor unveils the drama leading up to and following this disaster, including original documents, letters, maps and recent interviews.
This well-researched work cites personal politics and an encumbered bureaucracy for the deaths of seven mountaineers in one of Denali’s worst storms. Even today, this mountaineering disaster remains a mystery.