Summit fever May is the month when climbers traditionally begin their summit bids in the Himalayas and as an armchair-only climber, I'm fascinated and mesmerized by the high drama of it all. So I listened, as will other climbers, adventurers, and wannabes, with rapt attention and unneeded adrenaline to the true accounts collected in High: Stories of Survival From Everest and K2, edited by Chris Willis and narrated by four fine readers. The contributions, all but one by the climbers themselves, stretch from the 1930s to the late '90s. The climbing conditions differ, as does the conditioning of the climbers; it's their overwhelming desire to reach the top of the world, and do it at almost any cost to themselves, that never varies. Most don't make it to the summits of these two awe-inspiring peaks. Some of their colleagues, despite the subtitle, don't ever make it back, but they all share their harsh experiences, their exhilaration, and sorrow. Adventure at its highest.

Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.Ê

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