2006, the deadliest season on Mount Everest since the horrible storm of 1996 that was chronicled in many books, including Into Thin Air. Dark Summit takes a look at just what could have caused so many deaths in 2006, when the weather was so great. By the end of the climbing season a lot of fingers had been pointed and the blame focused on a variety of people. Nick Heil wrote Dark Summit as a factual account of that season so that readers could understand exactly what occurred on the mountain.
A great deal of the book chronicles the history of Mount Everest. Some of this is concerning Russell Brice, one of the most controversial characters on Everest, and some are side stories that help give insight into decisions made at high altitude. Russell Brice ends up in quite a bit of Dark Summit and this makes sense because he is without doubt one of the most influential people on the mountain.
I felt that one downfall of the book was that it contained such a variety of stories and vast amount of information concerning Mount Everest. For me it made it difficult to keep track of the timeline as well as the large number of names that would come and go throughout the pages. There were several side stories that were absolutely fascinating but barely touched on, making me wish more attention had been paid to them. Often while I was reading I wondered where the story was headed and what the real point was until right towards then end. I do have to say that once it got close to the end I truly could not put the book down, but as I said, "close to the end."
Overall I felt like Dark Summit tried to cover a bit too much information or at least did not stay on focus very well. I really enjoyed several of the side stories, but quite a bit of the book was spent jumping between side stories and giving historical background on Mount Everest. Dark Summit was well written and I would recommend it to fans of mountaineering that are looking for more information on Mount Everest and those that want details on the deadly 2006 season.