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082 Halfway to a Review 2009-05-13

Halfway to Heaven Book Cover

On the 14ers.com web site last week I read a post regarding a book soon to be released on climbing the 14,000 foot peaks of Colorado. I found it on Amazon and read it over the weekend (before the release, somehow - Amazon is amazing). I couldn’t put it down. Halfway to Heaven is a fun, quick read, that will make you laugh.

The author, Mark Obmascik, tells an autobiographical story of his quest to climb all of the Colorado fourteeners. He was a middle aged man in need of the adventure of his youth. His wife would not let him climb solo so he had to find climbing partners. Locating "man-dates" became a large (and at times very funny) part of the story. The author also did a great job blending the area history, climbing history, tall tales, and his personal journey, keeping me wanting more as I devoured the chapters.

When I bought the book I was hoping to gain some insights on the peaks my wife and I had not yet climbed. I wasn’t looking for technical information, but instead gut feelings. On the mountains I had climbed, I paid particular attention to how hard the author thought they were. Then I was able to compare his moan levels of the peaks that I had climbed to the peaks I had not climbed. As we try to fulfill our fourteeners quest this summer it will be interesting to see if our moan ratings match.

Other notes:

  • The book is also about the cult of 14ers.com climbers. I caught myself going to the site to find out more about some of the more colorful characters.
  • I liked the main character of the book. I wondered if the character was real, as in did he really think and say those cleaver things on the spot or were the conversations manufactured by the author. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided that it really did not matter, I still liked him.
  • The book was short. It left me wanting more. He went through eleven significant peaks spending a few paragraphs at best on each one. Somehow it seemed as if the editor told him to stop or perhaps he ran out of cliches. Regardless, I still wanted more.

I would recommend Halfway to Heaven to anyone who knows the sweat, aches, and pains of pushing themselves to the limit again and again. And to those who have climbed or want to climb a fourteener, it is even more insightful and inspiring. And to those who care nothing about climbing but enjoy humorous stories about crazy cults, Halfway to Heaven will sate your appetite.

Buy it!


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