Wednesday, June 18, 2014

There is never a challenge too big

I do book reviews all the time, but occasionally I enjoy reading non-fiction, true life accounts of inspirational people and their inspiring stories.  When I chose Blind Descent by Brian Dickinson it was the cover that caught my eye. "Surviving Alone and Blind on Mount Everest"  I had to read this man's story.

This book was even more than I thought it was going to be, and in a good way.  Brian Dickinson who is a former Navy rescue swimmer and avid climber decides to climb Mount Everest.  His training began years ago, and continued along with his families help and support.
Brian made the decision to climb Everest not alone, but with careful prayer and conversations with his wife and children.  They all felt that this was something he had to do.

Brian starts his story, and tells you from the beginning how he came to the decision, and how he prepared and came up with the funds for this expensive adventure of a lifetime.  He knew going into it, it wasn't the cost, climb, or the elements that was going to be the hardest part.  It was going to be leaving his family for two months while I made the climb.

I've actually met a couple of Sherpa's in real life, and I've listened to their stories, so even before I started reading Brian's story I understood quite a bit on how climbing Everest goes.  So a lot of the things in the book weren't a surprise to me, however a few other things were.  Those things are the things you don't hear from public speakers who are only there to inspire, these are the trial and thoughts that went through his mind at different times during his adventure journey.

One of the pleasant surprises was the military flashbacks that he inserted into the book.  His military experience prepared him more for what was about to happen to him, than any of his Everest preparation.  Even though I am a daughter of a military father who went through some of the same and similar training, I learned a few more things, that provided some interesting conversation with my own father.  As he told me a few little bits more about his own experiences, that he doesn't talk about very often.
I also enjoyed the pictures Brian provided from his own taking.  I enjoyed looking at them more after I finished reading the story, because then each picture had so much more meaning behind them.

Blind Descent is a story and journal leading up to the day the fateful day he goes to climb the summit.  He wasn't supposed to do it alone, but when his Sherpa begins to have trouble and has to turn back, they both decided that Brian is healthy enough to climb those last 1,000 feet alone.
He didn't make the decision lightly, but had a good feeling that this is what he should do.  Four hours later, just as predicted Brian makes it to the summit of Mount Everest.  He snaps a few picture's, takes a few moments to enjoy the view and reminisce on his journey to get here.  Then radio's his position back down to base camp so everyone will know he made it and is now on his way back down.  Not knowing it at the time, he accidentally turned the nob on the radio device that changed the wave signal to reach help below if needed.

Brian begins his decent, already knowing he is low on oxygen.  That is when everything goes wrong, and first things go blurry and a few seconds after that nothing, he is completely blind.  Unable to see anything he is all alone and he has a long way to go and many hours before he would get to anyone who could help him. Not that anyone could help him, people don't exactly get rescued on Everest, every climber knows that going in. When he tries to use the radio he couldn't see the dials on it to switch things back to the right wave to get to them, and he didn't have time to spend figuring it out, he was about out of oxygen.
A few prayers later Brian is on his way down, feeling his way.  Climbing Everest is already a slow journey, you take a good 3 seconds in between each foot's step, its all the body can do at those heights.  But when you are blind and in some of the most dangerous terrain in the world it takes twice as long.
Especially when you miss your foot and hand holds and fall.

I found Blind Descent to be a gripping story, that I couldn't put down.  It's amazing the different training and lesson's Brian Dickinson learned in life that came into play, that saved his life.  There is no challenge too big for God.  It's incredible what your mind and body can do when you have everything going against you, and what some would say no chance of survival.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy an adventure in faith and the human will to survive.  You will not only come away from reading this book with a sense of awe, but a reminder that you are never alone.


Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Tydale House Publisher for my honest review.  I was not asked to write a positive review, all thoughts and opinions above are my own.




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