The Climb

Everest, Gordon's second adventure trilogy, continues in The Climb. Four of the youngest climbers ever attempting to scale the world's tallest mountain (chosen from among 20 of the best teen climbers in the world), have flown halfway around the world, prepared for their challenge.

All are determined to succeed, but Everest is no walk in the park. Death is common for climbers attempting to scale to its incredible summit, and the challenge these young athletes face is one of the toughest on Earth.

But the members of this team will have to face even more than the mountain, as Tilt is still sending nasty gossip to the tabloid the National Daily, the other climbers and even the Napalese government are concerned that team member Dominic Alexis is too small and young for the journey, and Dominic, himself, is afflicted with HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema), a dangerous lung condition which, while seldom fatal, is likely to end his chances to finish the climb ... at least on this trip.

All in all, it is a very difficult challenge that faces the SummitQuest team, and we're only up to book two! Keep your eyes out for The Summit, book three, for the conclusion of the story!

From the Book:

Babu tapped Cicero on the shoulder. "Got a minute?"
"What's up?"
"I've been hearing the Sherpas talking about someone they call the 'little sahib.' The word is there's this kid -- just a boy -- who's been helping them carry loads through the Icefall for the last couple of days."
Cicero's face flamed red. "I'll kill him!"
"That's impossible!" exclaimed Sneezy. "How could it be Dominic? The kid was in a Gamow bag a week ago."
"Then who is it?" snorted Cicero. "One of the dozens of other thirteen-year-olds hanging around Mount Everest?"
"For what it's worth," added Babu, "they say he climbs like one of us."
Cicero reached for the radio and hailed Base Camp. A moment later, Dr. Oberman answered his call.
"This is Andrea."
"Where's Dominic?" Cicero practically barked at her.
"He's around somewhere," came the reply. "You know Dominic; he marches to the beat of a different drummer. He's made friends with some of the Sherpas, and they honestly seem to love him."
"Of course they love him!" howled Cicero. "He's been doing their work for them!"
"What work?"
"He's carrying loads up the Icefall!"
There was a pause, then the doctor's voice said quietly but clearly, "I'll kill him."
"Get in line!" growled Cicero. "Listen, if you find him, sit on him. I'm coming down." He began to strap on his crampons.
Babu reached for his own gear.
"God, no!" Cicero exclaimed. "I need you here to keep an eye on these three so they don't start a summit push without us!" He shouldered a small pack. "What happened to us, Babu? We've been guiding this peak forever. How did we lose control?"
Babu shrugged. "We've got a good system that works on this mountain, but it's based on everybody being adults. If you tell a forty,year-old lawyer, 'Stay out of the Icefall,' and he doesn't, that's
his problem. But if the same happens with a thirteen-year-old kid, you feel like it's your fault and you've let him down. We're climbers, Cap, not baby-sitters."
As Cicero began to descend the Cwm from Camp Two, his mind was in turmoil. Dominic. It was always Dominic. Cicero had known in boot camp that the kid was too young and too small. But the boys surprising skill and indomitable spirit had won him over.
And what's my reward for having faith in him?
Who got HAPE on the trek? Who turned into the
National Daily's poster boy for "Send This Baby Home"? Summit headquarters had even begun to receive inquiries from the Nepalese authorities about why such a young child was listed on their climbing permit.
And now the little brat wouldn't stay out of the icefall.
So lost was he in his internal rant that he barely even looked at the line of porters passing him in the other direction. They were Sherpas, climbing under heavy packs and making it look easy. He was almost past them when, with his peripheral vision, he noticed that one of them -- the smallest -- was wearing a SummitQuest hat.
Dominic looked up, surprised. "Oh, hi, Cap."
Cicero went to top volume. "You were sick, mister! Do you have any idea how
stupid this is? And carrying all that weight makes it twice as likely that you'll have a relapse of HAPE!"
Dominic shrugged, load and all. "I feel really good."
Cicero stared at the boy. He
looked really good, too. Cicero had guided enough expeditions to recognize a climber in difficulty. Dominic was rosy-cheeked and breathing well. He moved with a spring in his step despite a pack that must have weighed forty pounds.
But that didn't excuse the disobedience. "When I say stay in Base Camp, what code word is in there that tells you to start climbing? And now you're in the Cwm, so I guess the Icefall isn't good enough for you anymore! Where were you planning to stop? The summit? Or were you going to continue on to the moon?"
Dominic looked stricken. "I'm sorry, Cap. It just sort of got away from me."
Cicero was not receptive to his argument. "Too much candy on Halloween Night --
that gets away from you! Not the Icefall! Climbing through the most inhospitable landscape on the planet is something you do on purpose! Give me one good reason why I shouldn't pack you off to Kathmandu right now."
"I'll go down, Cap. I promise. I just have to deliver this load to the Japanese camp at ABC."
Cicero swallowed his exasperation. That was classic Dominic. Even when he was in big trouble, he wouldn't duck out on his responsibilities to a bunch of Japanese climbers he had never met.
"Give me that." The team leader yanked the pack off Dominic's back and hefted it himself. "You can sleep at Camp Two tonight and descend with the whole group tomorrow." A grunt of effort escaped him. "You carried this?"
The Sherpas laughed.
"Little sahib strong like yak," their Sirdar assured him. "For him, air no thin. Thick like sea level."
Cicero turned his face away to hide a smile of pride.
Welcome back, kid.

Copyright © 2002 by Gordon Korman, used by permission