Read This Book!

Alaska Expedition is the mountain epic story of the decade. It is Touching the Void, but set in Alaska, where the characters are locals we know. It is Doug Scott crawling down the Ogre with two broken legs, but the ordeal goes on for eight days. It has the raw emotions of Mark Twight, but written with more beauty.

During five years of work, Jim Sweeney has produced the polished adventure story we search for. But be warned. You will forgo a sunny Saturday to lie prone on the couch and read this book. Thanks for writing thisamazing book Jim.

In spring 1989 Jim fell 100 feet while attempting the Elevator Shaft on Mount Johnson in the Ruth Gorge with Dave Nyman. Jim broke his femur and dislocated his hip. Without food and water they were pummelled by avalanches for a week. In this photo, the Elevator Shaft climbs to the notch on the right shoulder of the right peak.

Alaska Expedition is available from Jim's website: The subtitle Marine Life Solidarity, was their expedition name in the weeks after Exxon Valdez ran into Bligh Reef. 

"Avalanches crack, shatter, roar, and slam us. It sounds like we're lying under a jet revving it's engines."

"My girlfriend Robin cares, but she's 250 miles away down in Homer, lying in bed watching Seinfeld with her dog and cat. She doesn't think I could get hurt. I've kept her in the dark about how dangerous climbing is. After Seinfeld, she lets her dog, Gypsy, out. She looks out over the twilight on the bay. The sky and the water are the same blue. The glaciers and mountains beyond are pink. She's very spiritual, so she wraps me in a white protective light. She calls for the dog, puts another log in the wood stove, and goes to bed." 

Legends of Alaska at one of Jim's readings in downtown Anchorage. Jim is on the far left. 

Jim interviewed by Steve Heimel

Review by Seth Kantner