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A Lifetime Spent on the Edge By Peter Hillary and John E. Elder

When Peter Hillary climbed Mt. Everest in 1990, thirty-seven years after his father's historic first ascent in 1953, they became the first father and son to reach the top of the world. It was just one of more than 30 major expeditions to the Himalayas, the Andes, the Karakoram, the Arctic and the Antarctic.


"What an extraordinary book!  A beautifully written, at times haunting and highly evocative story of what it is like to endure some of the harshest environments on earth. A truly remarkable piece of writing. "

 --Terry D. Garcia, Executive Vice President National Geographic Society


"The true journey in exploration is the emotional and cerebral struggle one faces on epic adventures. IN THE GHOST COUNTRY clearly articulates the consuming internal conflicts and team dynamics every expedition experiences. An outstanding account of adventure, courage, and endurance."

 --Brent Bishop, Himalayan Climber and the first American legacy to summit Everest


"Peter Hillary's harrowing account of his attempt with two companions to complete Captain Robert Falcon Scott's doomed journey to the South Pole makes for powerful reading. A masterful story of an expedition's precipitous collapse and a study of a life lived on the brink, this is a vivid tale of physical endurance, heartbreaking loneliness, and ultimately the triumph of a man over the cruelty of the Antarctic wasteland and the ghosts of his own past."

--David Breashears, Leader and Co-director, Everest IMAX Filming Expedition

In the Antarctic summer of 1998-99, explorer Peter Hillary, the son of legendary Sir Edmund, and two companions set out to retrace the route of doomed explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole and get back alive. But with the relentless watch of the eager media and the developing acrimonious discourse between the team members, the direction of the trip quickly became something more ominous than any of his earlier expeditions. IN THE GHOST COUNTRY: A Lifetime Spent on the Edge is the dramatic story of this trip, and Peter Hillary’s revelations of the costs incurred in a lifetime of exploration.

This is a memoir of extraordinary depth and searing honesty, IN THE GHOST COUNTRY is the story of Peter Hillary’s physical and emotional journey across the icy wastes of Antarctica. A place where the thoughts and memories of a lifetime were called forth by the blank slate of the Antarctic snows - so real that the ghosts of lost friends and loved ones walked with him in the white maelstrom. The sensory deprivation due to the unending white landscape, the “great white everywhere,” lent to Hillary’s increasing solitude and escapism into his own memories. Hillary's journey became a hallucinogenic pilgrimage, a memory book of more than thirty expeditions in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Arctic and the Antarctic. It tells of triumphant adventures – travelling with his father, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Neil Armstrong to the North Pole, climbing Everest twice – and bitter tragedies, like the loss of his mother and sister in a plane crash in the Himalayas, and the shattering  K2 climb where Peter was the only one of eight climbers (including Alison Hargreaves) to survive.

Interwoven with commentary by long-time friend and journalist John E. Elder, and extracts from Sartre’s play “No Exit”, in which three people are locked in a room forever, Hillary’s first person accounts of the places and people are powerful snapshots of a lifetime of incredible experiences. Hillary also draws on his life experiences; growing up as the son of a legend, seeing Everest for the first time at age 7, becoming the first second-generation mountaineer to climb Everest in 1990 and traveling with Neil Armstrong to the North Pole.

IN THE GHOST COUNTRY is a powerfully candid and telling account of this trip, a bittersweet chronicle of profound isolation and loneliness and of the mental toll exacted by expeditionary challenges.  This rare memory book framed by the South Pole expedition is an evocative look into a life of adventure.

About the authors: When Peter Hillary climbed Mt. Everest in 1990, thirty-seven years after his father's historic first ascent in 1953, they became the first father and son to reach the top of the world. It was just one of more than 30 major expeditions to the Himalayas, the Andes, the Karakoram, the Arctic and the Antarctic. He works with the foundations that support the schools and hospitals that the Hillary family operate around the foot of Everest. Peter works as a speaker, a writer and adventure travel operator. He is married, and he has four children.

John Elder is a senior writer for The Sunday Age newspaper in Melbourne, renowned for writing about the more desperate and seedy side of the human experience. In 1986, as a crewmember of the `In The Footsteps of Scott' Antarctic expedition, he stood on the pack ice and watched his ship the Southern Quest sink to the bottom of the Ross Sea. He is married, and he has two daughters.

IN THE GHOST COUNTRY: A Lifetime Spent on the Edge/Peter Hillary & John E. Elder

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