Addicted to Danger

A Memoir about Affirming Life in the Face of Death

By Jim Wickwire; Dorothy Bullitt (Joint Author); Jim Wickwire (Introduction by)
Atria Books, Hardcover, 9780671019907, 336pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 1998

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Description
Adventurist Jim Wickwire has lived life on the edge -- literally. An eyewitness to glory, terror, and tragedy above 20,000 feet, he 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," an award-winning PBS documentary, a Broadway play, and a full-length film, he hasn't told his remarkable story in his own words -- until now.

Among the world's most intrepid and fearless climbers, Jim Wickwire has traveled the globe, from Alaska to the Alps, from the Andes to the Himalayas, in search of fresh challenges and new heights to conquer. Along the way he accumulated an extraordinary roster of historic achievements. He was one of the first two Americans to reach the summit of the 28,250-foot K2, the world's second highest peak, acknowledged as the toughest and most dangerous to climb. He completed the first alpine-style ascent of Alaska's forbidding Mt. McKinley, spending several nights without tents in snowcaves, crevasses, and open bivouacs. But with the triumphs came harrowing incidents of suffering and loss that haunt him still. On one climb, his shoulder broken by a fall, he watched helplessly as a friend slowly froze to death, trapped in an ice crevasse. Buffeted by storms, Wickwire spent two weeks utterly alone on a remote glacier before his rescue. On two other expeditions he witnessed three fellow climbers plunge thousands of feet, vanishing into the mountain mist.

A successful Seattle attorney, Wickwire climbed his first mountain in 1960 and discovered the wonder of leavingbehind the complexities of the civilized world for the pure life-and-death logic of granite, glacier, and snow. Deeply compelled by the allure of nature and the thrill of risk, he pushed himself to the limits of physical and mental endurance for thirty-five years, ultimately climbing into legend.

After more than three decades of uncommon challenges, Wickwire faced a crisis of heart -- 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 to his community -- completes a unique and moving portrait of one man's courage, commitment, and grace under pressure. "Addicted to Danger" is a tale of adventure in its truest sense.

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