I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of the review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
What do you do when you reach the top of the world (literally) and then find yourself completely blind and completely on your own with no one to help you? This is the situation that Brian Dickinson found himself in. He reached the summit of Mt. Everest and had just enough time to take a few pictures and be amazed at the view before he lost his sight completely due to snow blindness. Blind Descent is an autobiography that shows how training, strength and preparation can only do so much. At some point in this harrowing journey down the face of the highest mountain in the world, Brian realized that only God and divine intervention was going to bring him safely down the mountain and back to his family.
Blind Descent Book Review
I read alot of books on Hobbies on a Budget but I don’t usually contact the author directly. This book just connected with me and I found myself wanting to know more about Brian and his family. Our family loves to explore our local hiking trails and we are regularly out exploring our world. But climbing is a different ballgame completely. I contacted Brian and asked if he would be willing to answer a few questions and share more about his life with us.
Interview with Brian Dickinson
I read your book in record time and found myself fascinated with your story. I am not a climber of any sort. The highest I’ve climbed is Clingman’s Dome hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains or Stone Mountain in Georgia. But our family loves to get out and explore our local hiking trails so I can relate to the sense of adventure we get from being out in nature together as a family. Since you have kids close to our ages, I wanted to see if you have any tips for taking kids climbing/hiking.
It seems that kids these days will default to lazy with all of the technology in their lives so it’s important to nudge them into the outdoors and to lead by example. Start with baby steps rather than jumping to an exhausting adventure that’ll discourage them in the future.
One of my proudest moments was this past feb when my 7 and 10 year olds (and wife) summited Kosciusko, the highest peak in Australia. The weather wasn’t ideal and they were tired but they never once wanted to turn around or complain.
Are there essential items you pack in a backpack for day trips with kids that are different from what you carry on your own extended climbing adventures?
Sure, day trips are typically lightweight packs with snacks and plenty of water. I try to stick to a 1 hour hiking, 5 minute rest interval. On an expedition I’m carrying 60+ lbs of survival gear.
For new climbers, are there any pieces of gear that newbies should invest in?
It really depends on the hike. Any newbie should be focused on trail hikes to get their gear dialed in and to understand their body and abilities better. Good boots, a layering system of clothes and a solid pack are essential. Map reading and route finding skills are a great idea once you start getting beyond the beaten path.
Anything you wish you had known before you took your first real climb?
I had years of military training and experience so I was better prepared than most. I look back on some of those early climbs and the real lessons learned revolved around clothing and equipment. Newbies tend to carry excessive gear, which they really don’t need. After a few sufferfests in the mountains you learn to reevaluate what’s needed vs nice to have.
Is there any plan to turn your story into a movie? Who would you chose to play the lead?
Possibly, but only if they follow the true story. That is very important to me and I was very happy that Tyndale respected my wishes in Blind Descent. I’m totally content with my life so I’m ok if there’s no movie.
No comment on the actor.
Follow Brian Dickinson on his website.
You can request a copy of Blind Descent: Surviving Alone and Blind on Mount Everest at your local library or purchase it from Amazon.com.
Have you ever attempted to climb a mountain? What questions would you ask Brian if you got the chance?