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Author Matt Dickinson gives the "thumbs up" sign on the face of Mount Everest
Author, filmmaker recounts climb in 'The Other Side of Everest'
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Thursday, May 20, 1999 12:15:37 PM
(CNN) -- Writer and adventure filmmaker Matt Dickinson was on Mount Everest three years ago in the mountain's worst recorded weather conditions. The blizzard took the lives of a dozen climbers on the south face of the mountain. "The Other Side of Everest: Climbing the North Face Through the Killer Storm" is Dickinson's story of the 1996 climb up the world's tallest peak.
Each year in May, before the monsoon season, climbers attempt to scale Everest. May 1996 was no exception. There were 10 teams on the mountain on May 10 when an unexpected storm stranded them. The temperatures, which are normally frigid, fell to 40 degrees below zero and the climbers were in white-out conditions.
Following the storm, many of the less-accomplished climbers, including Dickinson, continued their climb on the north face, the Tibetan side, in an attempt to reach the summit. They had to step over the bodies of dead climbers on their quest.
Since the first known ascent in 1953, some 700 people have attempted to scale the north face of Everest but only 230 have made it by this colder and more difficult route.
Sponsored by the BBC, Dickinson was to film a third effort by British actor Brian Blessed, but Blessed was forced to abandon the climb because of the weather. Dickinson continued the climb -- and filming -- along with Alan Hinkes, one of Britain's foremost high-altitude mountaineers.
Although several other accounts of the May 1996 storm have been written, Dickinson's first-person narrative is the only record of a climber on the north face of Everest at the time.
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