On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Dec 1, 2006 - Sports & Recreation - 432 pages
17 Reviews
What compels mountain climbers to take the risks that they do? Is it the thrill in the physical accomplishment, in managing to defy the odds, or both -- and why do they continue to do what they do in the face of such great danger? In On the Ridge Between Life and Death, David Roberts confronts these questions head-on as he recounts the exhilarating highs and desperate lows of his climbing career. By the time he was twenty-two, Roberts had already been involved in three fatal mountain climbing accidents and had escaped death himself by the sheerest of luck. And yet, as he acknowledges, few things have brought him more joy than climbing.

In a famous essay on the subject written more than twenty years ago, Roberts judged climbing to be "worth the risk." He continues to climb to this day, and several of his challenging routes in Alaska have never been climbed since. But in reassessing the emotional costs to himself and to loved ones, he reaches a different conclusion, one that is sure to cause controversy not only in climbing circles, but among adventurers of all kinds. Candid and unflinching, On the Ridge Between Life and Death is a compelling examination of the risks we take in order to feel more alive.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined

User Review  - Mike - Goodreads

A well written biography about the life of mountaineer David Roberts. The most facinating aspect of this book is that he reflects on the hazards of mountain climbing and asks "Is it worth it." He was ... Read full review

Review: On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined

User Review  - Greg Goodrum - Goodreads

This book exemplifies many of the best parts of Roberts' adventure writing. Much more thoughtful and personal than his earlier work, this biography finds Roberts examining the emotion and lifestyle ... Read full review


one Gabe
two The Vacant Lot
three Lisa
four Hard Man
seven Hostage to Fortune
eight Professor of Mountaineering
nine Backing Off
ten The Unexamined Life

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

David Roberts is the author of twenty-four books on mountaineering, adventure, and the history of the American Southwest. His essays and articles have appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, and The Atlantic Monthly, among other publications. He lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic information