Cautionary Tale(s)

Reviewing "Peak Experiences"

Whether you love the outdoors or prefer to experience it relaxing in your recliner, "Peak Experiences: Danger, Death & Daring in the Mountains of the Northeast" [University Press of New England, $24.95; eBook, $19.99] is a riveting read.

It's a collection of stories by mountain hikers - both experienced and not-as-experienced-as-they-should-be - that illustrate the ever-present dangers of the sport, especially above tree line.

Edited by avid mountain hiker Carol Stone White, the book takes the reader to frozen mountaintops, mostly in New Hampshire, with climbers who deal with blinding snowstorms, knock-you-over winds, treacherous ice and more. Readers also accompany the people who rescue those who couldn't distinguish between difficulty and danger, or those who simply had a mishap like a turned ankle; they are lost, injured or dead. (There have been more than 100 deaths on Mt. Washington and in the Presidential Range area.)

"Peak Experiences" is thick with information about how to avoid "poking the dragon," as climbers say. It also helps you understand why people would "climb on" when they should have turned back.

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