Sur­viv­ing Lo­gan

Gripped - - REVIEWS -

Erik Bjar­na­son and Cathi Shaw Rocky Moun­tain Books, 2016

One mo­ment you think you’re go­ing to live, to see your chil­dren again, to claim the prom­ises you made to yourself while tent bound; the next, it’s a fore­gone con­clu­sion that noth­ing stands be­tween you and an icy grave on the high­est moun­tain in Canada. This sort of er­ratic vor­tex of emo­tion plays it­self out re­peat­edly as Erik Bjar­na­son draws on ev­ery­thing he’s learned as a long­stand­ing mem­ber of Van­cou­ver’s North Shore Res­cue. He’s seen many a tragic out­come in the moun­tains and com­mits him­self ut­terly to sur­vival in the cold­est place on Earth out­side Antarc­tica.

This mem­oir, writ­ten more than a decade af­ter an ex­pe­di­tion to climb Mount Lo­gan that saw three team mem­bers trapped in an ex­tra­t­rop­i­cal cy­clone. Their tent shred­ded, their wa­ter and fuel gone, Bjar­na­son’s hands be­come un­us­able and acutely frost­bit­ten. The events are told as if they hap­pened yes­ter­day, and are har­row­ing to say the least. As much as it’s a cau­tion­ary tale of the power of the alpine to wreak havoc on the most sys­tem­atic of plans and the courage to fight as a team, it’s also a per­sonal ac­count of the mo­ti­va­tions to set off into the moun­tains in the first place.

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