Monday, February 24, 2014


After reading Annapurna, A Woman’s Place, and Into Thin Air, Touching My Father’s Soul by Jamling Tenzing Norgay changed my perception of adventure narratives. Other books we’ve read this semester have focused on the nitty-gritty mountaineering details and focused on the demanding task at hand, while keeping the armchair adventurer on the edge of their seat. In contrast, Touching My Father’s Soul concentrates on the historical, cultural, and personal elements of Everest, only quickly discussing load carrying and equipment. Throughout this semester we’ve focused on the motivations for climbing dangerous peaks: self-discovery/personal challenge, economic security (ie. Hall, Fischer, and Sherpas), or simply “because it’s there”. While Herzog’s expedition sets out to conquer the first 8,000m peak and Blum’s expedition hopes to put the first female American on top of Annapurna, Norgay’s desire to climb Everest is far different: he wants to learn about himself by learning more about his father. “I had to learn what it was that had driven my father and what he had found on the mountain” (pg 6).  Norgay’s journey allows him to explore his Buddhist faith and to rekindle the bonds with his family and heritage. In Norgay’s eyes, Everest is not simply about summiting, but an opportunity to grow spiritually and bonding with his deceased father.  

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