Deborah, David Roberts

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Less reflective and somber Mountain of My Fear, David Robert’s Deborah: A Wilderness Narrative alternates between fast-paced and vivid descriptions of an inspired or mad assault on the East face of Mt. Deborah, in the Alaska range and an account of the prolonged hunger, damp, boredom, and ultimately pain of the expedition during one of the Alaska's heaviest snow seasons on record. Somehow Roberts can tell about an experience that at almost every turn he seemed to perceive as unpleasant, and yet make you want to immediately venture out to test the still-unclimbed face.

I’ve returned Deborah to the Caltech Library, so check it out next time you are looking for a classic adventure!

'Next, I saw the face of the mountain beyond. The crumbly brown rock towered, flat and crackles, a few degrees less than vertical. A thin, splotchy coating of ice overlay most of the rock. Where the rock overhung, great icicles grew. A few vertical columns of plastered snow, like frozen snakes, stuck to the coating of ice. And above, blocking out half the sky, was the terrible black cliff, the six-hundred-foot wall that we had once blithely, back in Cambridge, allowed three days to climb. At its upper rim, nearly a thousand feet above me, hovered monstrous chunks of ice, like aimed cannons at the top of a castle wall. As I watched, one broke off, fell most of the six hundred feet without touching anything, then smashed violently on a ledge to my left and bounced out of sight down the precipice. I had never seen a mountain sight so numbing, so haunted with impossibility and danger.’ -David Roberts, Deborah