Cover image for Within reach : my Everest story
Within reach : my Everest story
Pfetzer, Mark.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Books, 1998.
Physical Description:
xiii, 224 pages : color illustrations ; 20 cm
The author describes how he spent his teenage years climbing mountains in the United States, South America, Africa, and Asia, with an emphasis on his two expeditions up Mount Everest.
Reading Level:
970 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.0 11.0 25913.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.3 16 Quiz: 16174 Guided reading level: X.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV199.92.P495 A3 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV199.92.P495 A3 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV199.92.P495 A3 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Reading List
GV199.92.P495 A3 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Reading List

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Two years ago, every media giant from ESPN to Good Morning America scrambled to document the inspirational true story of fifteen-year-old Mark Pfetzer, the youngest climber ever to attempt the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest and most coveted peak. Now, as Mark prepares to embark on yet another record-breaking feat -- to become the youngest ever to lead an Everest expedition -- he shares his extraordinary personal story.

Like Jon Krakauer's best-seller Into Thin Air, an account of another climbing party on the mountain at the time, Mark's personal saga is filled with both triumphs and setbacks. Details of his fascinating and careful preparations as well as a moment-by-moment account of the climbs are included in a suspenseful and fast-paced first-person narrative. Readers will marvel at Mark's determination through high-altitude and ice training as well as the arduous daily workouts; they'll sympathize with his fatigue as he carries nearly twenty extra pounds of schoolbooks to Advanced Base Camp. They'll also feel the adrenaline pumping when they accompany Mark past the ever-shifting Khumbu Icefall, over three-hundred-foot crevasses, and up into the high-altitude "Death Zone." When his father is stricken with cancer back home, Mark's story also becomes an eloquent testimony to the unbreakable bond between father and son.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Pfetzer is an outstanding biographical subject because of his personality as well as his record-breaking feat as the youngest person to scale Mount Everest. Quite appropriately, co-writer Galvin marvels at Pfetzer's "dreams-to-reality ratio." Even a flicker of inspiration propels Pfetzer toward astounding success with relative ease. More impressively, he fearlessly raises the stakes of already insurmountable challenges, as when he decides to climb the less attempted northern peaks of Everest because they're more treacherous. Yet his confidence never eclipses his vulnerability. In one chapter he conquers Everest with aplomb, in another he frets about school assignments on Julius Caesar and The Old Man and the Sea. This Superman/Everyman dichotomy will keep readers riveted; for throughout the detail-rich, briskly paced account, Pfetzer is psychologically challenging, yet always emotionally within reach. --Roger Leslie

Publisher's Weekly Review

In May 1996, Mark Pfetzer at age 16 was the youngest climber on Mount Everest to reach 26,000 feet, and his gripping autobiography focuses exclusively on his mountain climbing achievements. Recounted in diary format, Pfetzer's dense but taut story opens during the 1996 Everest expedition, then jumps back to a 1992 advanced camping trip, when his passion for climbing first ignited. An advertisement for a mountaineering trip in Nepal sparks his imagination and determination (he must raise $5000 for the excursion), and the experience starts Pfetzer off to the farthest (and highest) reaches of the globe, on to Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania and finally to Mount Everest. Even though he fails to reach the summit on either of his two Everest trips (the second of which takes place during the fatality-filled 1996 expedition described by Krakauer in Into Thin Air), Pfetzer does set an altitude record for his age. While some of his inspirational comments about going for one's dreams come off as a bit condescending, and a few of the descriptions and metaphors have an adult flavor, readers are sure to be fascinated by the suspenseful storytelling and the wealth of insider details. For instance, at high altitudes climbers can break a rib just by coughing; those who reach the summit often urinate on the peak to commemorate the event. Even readers with no interest in rappelling will likely be swept up in the details of the people and places Pfetzer meets in his travels. A glossary and a chapter by chapter "Cast of Characters" will help readers unfamiliar with the world of climbing. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Readers who enjoyed John Krakauer's Into Thin Air (Villard, 1997) will also be interested in Pfetzer's credible and inspiring climbing story that puts both authors on Everest on that tragic May morning in 1996. In 1992, Pfetzer, then 12, was dreaming of mountains before he'd ever seen one. Serendipity provided him with mentors at critical junctures who propelled him from a Rhode Island climbing gym to high-altitude expeditions to several continents in less than two years. This quick-reading autobiography is generally well written, marred only by some occasional redundancy, and is enhanced by a section of color photos. Pfetzer enthusiastically describes the hard work, training, and sacrifice related to big climbs and provides insight into both the physical and developmental heights he has scaled. He learned about sponsorship and compromises; about luck and timing; about instinct and rationality; about the difference between being a paying member of a trek and a paid leader of one; about challenge and the optimism that moves one forward. His motives are questioned and his qualifications are doubted. Often, the cocky, invulnerable teenage voice is tempered by the cautious voice of experience. What can he-or any climber-say when faced with the death of comrades? Only that he will be better prepared, better conditioned, smarter, and that he will survive. Pfetzer aptly renders the breathtaking beauty and exhilaration that are his reward. Finally, faced with his father's debilitation from cancer, the young man reconsiders his short-term goals and returns to finish high school, with an eye on future challenges.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mark's Mountainsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Prologue: Within Reachp. 3
1 Getting Startedp. 8
2 Finding a Wayp. 16
3 To Nepalp. 22
4 Bigger Ideasp. 35
5 High Altitudep. 39
6 Getting Physicalp. 53
7 Ecuador: Success and Failurep. 60
8 Argentinap. 70
9 The North Sidep. 83
10 Everest '95p. 102
11 My Mother's Necklacep. 120
12 To Base Camp with Camerasp. 132
13 Everest '96p. 143
14 The Stormp. 159
15 The Guidep. 177
16 Cho Oyup. 188
17 The Decisionp. 207
Epiloguep. 215
Cast of Charactersp. 217
Glossaryp. 223