Read Addicted to Danger: A Memoir by Jim Wickwire Dorothy Bullitt Online


Adventurist Jim Wickwire, an eyewitness to glory and terror above 20,000 feet, has braved bitter cold, blinding storms, and avalanches to become what the Los Angeles Times calls "one of America's most extraordinary and accomplished high-altitude mountaineers." Although his incredible exploits have inspired a feature on 60 Minutes and a full-length film, he hasn't told hisAdventurist Jim Wickwire, an eyewitness to glory and terror above 20,000 feet, has braved bitter cold, blinding storms, and avalanches to become what the Los Angeles Times calls "one of America's most extraordinary and accomplished high-altitude mountaineers." Although his incredible exploits have inspired a feature on 60 Minutes and a full-length film, he hasn't told his remarkable story in his own words -- until now. Among the world's most fearless climbers, Jim Wickwire has traveled the globe in search of fresh challenges. He was one of the first two Americans to reach the summit of K2, the world's second highest peak, the toughest and most dangerous to climb. But with the triumphs came tragedies that haunt him still. During several difficult climbs, he was forced to look on helplessly as four of his climbing companions lost their lives. A successful Seattle attorney, Wickwire climbed his first mountain in 1960. Deeply compelled by the thrill of risk, he pushed himself to the limits of physical and mental endurance for thirty-five years, before facing a turning point that threatened his faith in himself and his hope in the future. How he reassessed his priorities and rededicated his life -- to his family and his community -- completes a unique and moving portrait of one man's courage and commitment. Addicted To Danger is a tale of adventure in its truest sense....

Title : Addicted to Danger: A Memoir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780671019914
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 322 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Addicted to Danger: A Memoir Reviews

  • Suman
    2019-07-06 18:04

    Meh, it was okay. The writing was nothing spectacular and the descriptions of the climbs were only interesting insofar as they added another viewpoint to other more eloquent portrayals. There was also this rather uncomfortable thread that I'm not sure should have been included in the memoir. Throughout the book, Wickwire writes about loving his wife and his regret for constantly leaving her for the mountains, but we readers don't see evidence of this love, since nowhere does he depict her as anything more than the stock abandoned but stolid wife. Then, he spends his best writing lovingly describing a woman expedition partner whom he wants to abandon his wife for. There is closure only because the woman dies in a climbing accident, but how awful must it be to be the wife that has to play the modern day Penelope while Wickwire unsuccessfully chases his Circe, and then goes and tells the world about it?

  • Heather Fineisen
    2019-07-08 00:27

    I read this book in one sitting. And thought the whole time I didn't like it. But I realized I didn't like Jim Wickwire. I am familiar with some of the other climbers he writes of, and continue to find this addiction to danger fascinating which may have enhanced my overall satisfaction with the content. However, I would like to see more perspective from the family members. And I wonder, if Wickwire reveals he is this much of a jerk in his own memoir that is seemingly guarded at points, what is her really like? That Wickwire is an older climber offers an interesting perspective on the sport and attitudes through the years. If you are addicted to addicted to danger or climbing books, pick this up. Not sure? Start with Into Thin Air by Krakauer.

  • Colin
    2019-07-12 21:05

    I was propelled by the excitement of the first half of the book into the funk of the second. Unable to stop reading a book that far completed I drug my ass through to the finish. While having it's suspense, it's tragedy and it's triumphs the book wasn't very well written and at times failed to spur my imagination. Conclusion, Wickwire climbs mountains much better than he writes about climbing mountains.

  • Brian
    2019-07-11 01:12

    Don't climb with this guy. Most of his partners end up dead in the bottom of crevases.

  • Mazola1
    2019-06-24 19:14

    Jim Wickwire writes that the title of his memoir, Addicted to Danger, came to him as he recalled his repeated promises to stop climbing and his inability to follow through, despite small children at home and the deaths of several companions. He admits that he climbed not only for the solitude, beauty and physical exertion, but also because "of an attraction to danger." Wickwire's book provides ample proof of the truth of those words. Was he addicted to danger? Judge for yourself.In 1971, Jim Wickwire nearly died trying to climb Mount Ranier's Willis Wall. Only the heroic efforts of his climbing partner saved Wickwire's life. Wickwire was 31 years old at the time, with a wife and 5 small children at home. Wickwire had started climbing in 1960, a year in which he survived a 50 foot fall with only a fractured wrist. He writes that falling made him a more careful climber, but "also left me with a heightened attraction to danger."So perhaps it isn't surprising that despite his close call on Mount Rainier, Wickwire became consumed with the desire to climb higher mountains. He was a member of the unsuccessful 1975 American expedition to K2. As he left to board the plane to Pakistan, his nine year old daughter whispered to him, "Daddy, don't get killed." The expedition was famously beset by all kinds of trouble, infighting among the members and a barrage of criticism when the members returned home. Stung by the criticism, Wickwire decided to do an extraordinary climb to "shut the critics up." This was the genesis of his decision to attempt to climb Mount McKinley in 1976 by a new route, solo. His wife told him she was afraid for him every time he left on a major climb, and that he was on a "bloody ego trip." Wickwire had grossly underestimated the difficulty of the route, and at points, dangerously, he had to descend unroped. He decided his wife was right, doing the solo climb was an ego trip, and putting his life at such gret risk when he had five small children at home "was incredibly irresponsible and utterly foolish."Nonetheless, when he was invited to join the 1978 American expedition to K2, he eagerly accepted, racing home euphoric to throw his arms around his wife in celebration. Shortly before this, a good climbing friend, Leif Patterson, was killed in an avalanche along with his 12 year old son and a 17 year old friend. Patterson had been a member of the 1975 K2 expedition, and was slated to go on the 1978 expedition. To get ready for K2, Wickwire decided to climb in the Fairweather Range in Alaska along with 3 other members of the 1978 expedition. All four reached the summit and began to descend. About 300 feet below the summit, Wickwire heard a scraping sound, and turned to see Al Givler and Dusan Jagersky, who had roped together, sliding down the steep slope. Wickwire "watched in horror" as the two slid down the slope and disappeared into a gully. The 4,000 foot fall was unsurvivable. Wickwire was shaken because these friends had "died right in front of me." Nonetheless, he decided that he could not think of the expedition as a failure: "It had been a good -- even a great -- expedition. We were the first to climb Mt. Abbe and Peak 8440; the first to stand on their glaciers, their ridges, their summits, and I felt enormous satisfaction for what we had accomplished." The bottom line was that although his friends had died, and he had seen their "horrible remains," Wickwire did not want to stop climbing.Wickwire successfully climbed K2 in 1978, wlthough he nearly died in the process, being forced to bivouac at 28,000 feet without food, water, a tent or a sleeping bag. Upon arriving home, he underwent surgery to remove a part of his lung and parts of two toes. He says after his surgeries, he seriously considered quitting climbing, but as his health improved, this resolve diminished.Invited to join a 1982 expedition to Mount Everest, Wickwire happily accepted. He decided to get ready by climbing Mount McKinley by a new route up the Wickersham Wall. While he and Chris Kerrebrock, a 2 year old climber, were traversing a glacier, they fell into a deep crevasse. Wickwire's shoulder was broken, but he was able to climb out. But Kerrebrock was wedged into the crevasse headfirst, and despite Wickwire's strenous efforts, he was unable to free him from the cravasse. In what must surely be one of the saddest and most horrible of climbing deaths, Kerrebrock froze to death in the crevasse. Again, Wickwire says he decided to stop climbing: "From now on I would live differently, my priorities would change -- I owed it to those I loved." He even went so far as to tell his wife he was going to withdraw from the Everest expedition. Of course, he didn't. Instead, to get in shape he climbed Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America. On that expedition, he met and started to fall in love with a young female climber, Marty Hoey, "the most competent woman climber I had ever known." Hoey, who was also a member of the 1982 Everest expedition, would end up being Wickwire's climbing partner on that trip, in his eyes, Chris Kerrebrock's "logical successor."At 26,000 feet, Wickwire was going to take some rope to two companions slightly higher up. Hoey stepped back to get out of his way. He heard a sound and turned to see her "pitching backward, head-down the icy slope." Then he "watched in shock and disbelief as she slidat an ever increasing speed, disappearing into a tunnel of mist, over a huge ice cliff, and onto the glacier six thousand feet below."Hoey had made an inexplicable, fatal error, having failed to secure the belt of her waist harness. Wickwire decided to continue his quest for the summit, but was unsuccessful.After this, Wickwire says he once again considered calling it quits, but "in spite of Marty' death, I did not expect to look back on the expedition with negative feelings." Although he did not summit, he felt that "we had given it all we had."In 1984, Naomi Uemura, a famous Japanese climber and adventurer, and a close friend of Wickwire, died on Mount McKinley after having climbed it solo in winter. Wickwire participated in the search for his body. Also in that year, Wickwire again attempted unsuccessfully to climb Mount Everest. At the age of 44, for the first time in his life, he felt his physical powers beginning to wane, and could no longer keep up to the younger members of the expedition. He told his wife he was never going back to Everest.A year later, one of Wickwire's law partners was murdered, together with his wife and two children, and Wickwire began to think about death and risk once again. He writes that after losing so many friends in the mountains, "mountain summits seemed an absurb target for my ambitions, yet I could not break the habit." He concluded that he climbed mountains not because he wanted to die, but because "I wanted to know death, to understand it."Despite his declining physical prowess and gossip in the climbing community that he was "bad luck," Wickwire continued to climb, including 1989 and 1990 expeditions to Kanchenjunga and Menlungtse in the Himalayas. When he returned from Menlungtse, he determined to end his climbing career, and even cancelled the climbing coverage on his life insurance policy. Nonetheless, when asked to join an Everest expedition set for 1993, and secretly decided return to climbing. To prepare, he planned to climb Mount McKinley in 1992. Thus, Wickwire was on McKinley during that famously deadly season, which saw 12 climbers perish on the mountain. Wickwire and his partner took part in several rescues of injured climbers, as well as the recovery of the bodies of some of the dead. Wickwire's attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1993 was not successful. He decided he was no longer willing to spend the time necessary to climb 8,000meter peaks, and instead climbed smaller peaks, being unready to hang up his crampons.After reading Wickwire's book, and many other climbing memoirs, I have decided that climbers are not ordinary people. Their books almost uniformly paint portraits of driven, self-consumed and selfish people who seem to be unable to appreciate life except by risking death. Although they all seem to realize that it makes no rational sense to risk one's life to stand on top of a mountain, they nonetheless continue to undergo great pain, risk life and limb, brush off the deaths of companions and give short shrift to the feelings of and fears of their families and friends. Despite their best efforts, no climber has ever been able to make a case that what they do is really worth the price of the effort. In that regard, Wickwire's memoir is just as unconvincing as all the rest, and succeeds only in telling an exciting story and convincing the reader that he is a little bit crazy.

  • Rob Neyer
    2019-07-04 21:12

    I agree with both the positive and the negative reviews of this book.Go figure!

  • Mackenzie
    2019-07-11 19:03

    About Jim Wickwire's life and mountain climbing career, this autobiography takes you though the many years and many climbs that defined his life. At points, a friend reminded me that he is of a different generation -- his early views of marriage were jarring, at the least. But this book got better with each page, as Wickwire grew and changed with each mountain expedition. Like other mountain climbing books I've read, I'm again shocked by the risks and tragedies that occur. How could anyone in their right mind embark on such a risk venture, with a family back home? Yet I'm fascinated by the unrelenting desire to continue to climb the next mountain, to overcome the next challenge, to push yourself to the limit and come back. Wickwire acknowledges the risks and time again promises to stop climbing -- but as the aptly named book indicates, he never did.

  • anne s.
    2019-07-11 20:11

    Some of the most gruesome accident detail I've read in any climber bios, this book really makes you question the sanity of mountaineers. It's gripping, for sure, although the author is a completely selfish man in a way that many of us are probably both disgusted by and envious of. The main drawback is that writing style is your basic sports writing; simplistic and with a lot of faux-modesty and passages like "After the tradgedy on Mt McKinley, I vowed to climb Everest in his memory" or whatever. If you're not really into this genre, skip it and read "Touching the Void" instead.

  • Sherrie
    2019-06-24 19:21

    rereading this one. it's amazing what this man has been through yet he can't stay away from the mountains...after reading this book, i'm glad i'm not addicted to danger.a great read if you're interested in trying to figure out what drives people to do high elevation climbing. through out the book he is asking himself this question with every climb he attempts. i loved it, and even though at times i wanted to reach into the book and strangle him...the first american to climb k2 deserves some props.

  • Barb Klinger
    2019-06-22 23:23

    This book details two good climbing adventures. The rest are repetitous recounts of hanging out in base camps, who he likes and who bugs him. I was shocked at the disregard the author shows for his wife and children. He seems more addicted to himself than anything else. I came to the conclusion his wife preferred him to be gone for months at a time on his adventures, as a guy with this level of narcissism had to be hard to have around.

  • Abram
    2019-07-03 18:08

    Lots of cool climbing but overall sad and too reflective.

  • Martin
    2019-07-03 01:25

    Good mountaineering literature must be able to present selfish and vainglorious behavior as heroism. Since Wickwire does not know how to do this, he comes off as a self-centered jerk.

  • Kathy
    2019-07-21 02:26

    Almost gave it 4 stars, but deducted 1 because the author was just too arrogant.

  • Diane
    2019-07-06 21:18

    I found this book very interesting. Unlike most books written by climbers, this was written after a life of climbing in order to explore the author’s strengths and weaknesses and choices. I have read a lot of books on climbing, and Wickwire discusses aspects that I have never seen addressed before. The quote at the beginning of the book is attributed to Euripides: “A man who has been in danger, when he comes out of it forgets his fears, and sometimes forgets his promises.” I see why he begins with this quote. Over and over and over again, he decides he is going to give up climbing, but then reverses this decision. Wickwire seems to be brutally honest about discussing his decisions and his motivations.I was surprised by the huge number of deaths of friends and colleagues. Almost every trip has some tragedy where a young climber dies. I have read elsewhere that 40% of climbers die on the mountains and this account seems to support that terribly high number. I don’t think I could possibly have continued climbing after seeing the deaths of even one person, but climbers seem to accept the danger and the high probability of death. I was also surprised by his accounts of summiting major mountains, because so often he chose to do the final climb with insufficient equipment. Very often he suffers from not having the equipment needed. Again, this seems to have been fairly common among climbers. He bivouacs (stays overnight) without necessary equipment several times and suffers some severe health problems. It is so clear that the weather on the highest mountains changes very, very quickly, so I was shocked to read about the decisions to climb to the summit without sufficient equipment.Near the end of the book, after he has stopped doing major climbs, Wickwire does some alpine guiding. I was fascinated by this section of the book. At one point he and other guides discuss the ethics of guiding, such as: If someone engages you as a guide, are you most responsible for getting them to the summit or for their safety? No one knew the answer. I would like to read or hear more discussion of these sorts of questions.

  • Paul Ivanov
    2019-07-13 02:10

    This was the first climbing / mountaineering book I've ever read. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but those considering reading it should be forewarned that Jim Wickwire did more than his fair share of very challenging and dangerous climbs, and though he lives to write about it, too many of his companions did not have the same fate.As I read this, I started thinking about life slightly differently. I still don't know much about climbing and mountaineering, but it is clear that almost no ascent succeeds in a linear forward progression. There's a constant ebb and flow to and from camps higher up and base camps. It depends on many things - accidents, weather, supplies, strength, etc. So while the day may start off at Camp 4, and you make it all the way up to Camp 6 - a turn in the weather may turn you around and force you all the way back down to basecamp, even though you were a mere few hundred vertical feet from the summit.I now look forward to reading Annapurna, which seems like it's one of the classics for this subgenre.

  • Amber
    2019-07-04 02:33

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It definitely isn't for everyone. Some say it is too reflected; however, I enjoyed both the climbing stories and the reflection. You get a glimpse of what mountain climbers are like and what is required, besides technical skill, to achieve such accomplishments. It seems the degree to which Jim had control over his mind largely effected the success of his climbing. I was interested by how religiously he wrote in his diary. It seemed common among climbers to keep an extensive diary. If they died, their diary was one of the first things they wanted to have taken back to their family. Very interesting read.

  • Gerry
    2019-07-01 18:17

    Sometimes frightening in its detail, particularly of the accidents that he encountered and was involved in, Jim Wickwire's story of his mountaineering experiences is gripping and difficult to put down. It does taper away towards the end when he is retiring from, dare I call it, the sport but is still entertaining. Amongst his many achievements, he reached the summit of K2 but, despite several attempts failed to make the summit of Everest, much to his eternal regret. While all this was going on he continued to run his law practice but perhaps his greatest achievement was to keep a hold of his long-suffering wife, Mary Lou, and to father five children.

  • Amy
    2019-07-11 02:08

    Well written, an easy read, but almost every chapter had a sad moment. It is amazing what people go through intentionally, and the losses experienced by them even when engaged in an activity they love. Climbing has always fascinated me, especially the danger climbers put themselves in, and to read how easy it is to lose your life if one false move is made. You can feel connected to Jim while reading this book, it is a great account of an interesting life, and the stories of each climb are intriguing to say the least.

  • Rick Heller
    2019-07-05 23:06

    This book is disturbing to read but worthwhile. In his many years of mountain climbing, Wickwire has seen quite a number of his companions fall to their deaths (not his fault, it's a dangerous sport).Often after a tragedy, he decides to quit climbing, but that decision fades once he's back home and his desire to climb returns.He is self-aware of his emotions and his addiction. The attraction of climbing seems not to be the immediate thrill (unlike skydiving) but rather providing a sense of purpose to do something that is really hard.

  • John
    2019-07-07 22:09

    I like almost any mountaineering book. However, this was kind of a weird memoir for a number of reasons. Being a lawyer, he comes off as always arguing his case. I guess everyone does that to some degree, but Wickwire seems kind of clueless and almost inappropriate. The number of people who have died climbing as his partner also seems to say something about how much he was focused on his objectives when in the mountains.

  • Andre Miranda
    2019-06-24 22:12

    Mais um relato sobre homens e montanhas, e como não poderia deixar de ser, real e cruel.Interessante perceber que embora o autor soubesse dos perigos de sua atividade e testemunhasse alguns acidentes terríveis, muitos que levavam à morte de alguns de seus melhores amigos, não conseguia diminuir a atração que as montanhas tinham sobre ele, sempre planejando a próxima expedição, almejando o pico mais difícil, mais alto...

  • Susan
    2019-07-18 21:30

    I really enjoy well-written books about mountaineering, and this book is one of the better ones out there. Wickwire presents stories of his climbs of some of the tallest peaks on earth, and stories of the friends he lost while doing so. He explores the conflict between climbing and being there for his family; for most of his life, mountain climbing beat out his family. A good read if you are a fan of books about mountain climbing.

  • Jeff
    2019-07-19 21:30

    This book was interesting....if you can get past the self-involved narcissism of the author. Seldom have I disliked an author more than Wickwire. He has no regard for his own family (Despite his protestations otherwise), and seemed to be a burden on his climbing partners (despite his self-proclaimed expertise).

  • Dan
    2019-07-05 20:07

    Easily readable book about one guy's mountaineering obsession. Unfortunately he is not a very likable person for most of the book. The mountaineering stuff is interesting and there are pictures throughout, which is nice. The writing leaves quite a bit to be desired, but I guess that's to be expected. Overall, just ok.

  • Dale Hoffman
    2019-07-10 00:09

    Great drama, everything you would expect and more in a mountain climbing book! Jim Wickwire continued to climb throughout his livetime, even as he personally witnessed many die in the mountains. Father of five children he missed many family holidays and special occasions because he was gone on expeditions, but he was truely addicted to the dangers of the high mountains.

  • Joanne
    2019-06-26 01:18

    Amazing! I loved Jim's journal entries, his vivid language when describing his ordeals on the mountains, and all of the pictures of his adventures. I made me want to try mountain climbing, although maybe not to the extent that he did! :)

  • Steve Lundh
    2019-06-21 18:24

    This is a good book with a story that at times is difficult to read but very interesting. What keeps it from being a great book is the up front arrogance that the author seems to express at every turn. Still worth the read but are aware.

  • Briann
    2019-06-29 23:12

    I read this a long time ago, but absolutely loved it. It is pretty tragic, but by far my favorite mountaineering book. LOVED IT! Even if you are not interested in mountaineering this book will still be very intriguing.

  • C.
    2019-07-07 00:25

    I found this book riveting from start to finish. WIthin the first 10 pages you get the feeling the ground has fallen out from under your feet and your stomach is in your throat. An amazing and exciting inside perspective on what drives mountaineers.

  • Susan
    2019-07-20 22:29

    I picked this up in a used book store on a whim expecting to flip through it but read it cover to cover and very much enjoyed it.