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Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season, by Nick Heil Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.15 out of 54.15 out of 54.15 out of 54.15 out of 54.15 out of 5 4.15 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nick Heil Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In early May 2006, a young British climber named David Sharp lay dying near the top of Mount Everest while forty other climbers walked past him on their way to the summit. A week later, Lincoln Hall, a seasoned Australian climber, was left for dead near the same spot. Hall’s death was reported around the world, but the next day he was found alive after spending the night on the upper mountain with no food and no shelter. 

If David Sharp’s death was shocking, it was not singular: despite unusually good weather, ten others died attempting to reach the summit that year. In this meticulous inquiry into what went wrong, Nick Heil tells the full story of the deadliest year on Everest since the infamous season of 1996. He introduces Russell Brice, the outfitter who has done more than anyone to provide access to the summit via the mountain’s north side—and who some believe was partially responsible for Sharp’s death. As more climbers attempt the summit each year, Heil shows how increasingly risky expeditions and unscrupulous outfitters threaten to turn Everest into a deadly circus. 

Written by an experienced climber and outdoor writer, Dark Summit is both a riveting account of a notorious climbing season and a troubling investigation into whether the pursuit of the ultimate mountaineering prize has spiraled out of control.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Through rock-solid reporting and vital prose, Heil leads us up into this rarefied world, step by hypoxic step.”

    Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers

  • “Enthralling from start to finish, Heil has created a timely, thought-provoking story that will thrill adrenaline junkies and armchair adventurers.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Drummond stresses the ironies and dramatic moments in Heil’s work…[His] voice work humanizes the key figures.”


  • “Here is humanity itself, personified in exemplary fashion by Nick Heil, addressing the Everest culture’s lack of compassion and coming up with the right answers.”

    Bob Shacochis, author of The Immaculate Invasion

Listener Reviews

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Jennifer | 4/23/2011

    " Fascinating. Obviously we can never know for absolute certain what transpired in 2006, but this book does a great job of presenting all the differing accounts. The book is like 80% history and 20% 2006 season, but that didn't bother me at all. Very interesting and well-written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Linda | 1/3/2011

    " Very good book, re introducing me to the life, dangers, thrill, of Mountain climbing, well written it brought me back to this type of books encouraging me to read more of them immediately. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Sarah | 1/3/2011

    " Well told and thoroughly researched account of the 2006 season on Everest, particularly regarding the David Sharpe scandal. A great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Diane | 12/28/2010

    " Lots of facts given to decide where to lay blame for a deadly season on Everest. Or....should we lay blame at all? I come to a different conclusion everytime I think about it. Kudos to the author for letting the reader make those decisions. I love a good, true, intense read!!!

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About the Author

Nick Heil first wrote about the 2006 climbing season for Men’s Journal. Now a freelance journalist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he was a senior editor at Outside from 1999 to 2006. He has also worked as a climbing and skiing instructor and has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and North America.

About the Narrator

David Drummond has made his living as an actor for over twenty-five years, appearing on stages large and small throughout the country and in Seattle, Washington, his hometown. He has narrated over thirty audiobooks, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, fantasy, military, thrillers, and humor. He received an AudioFile Earphones Award for his first audiobook, Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay. When not narrating, he keeps busy writing plays and stories for children.