Last Breath: The Limits of Adventure
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“Forget the edge of your seat. Last Breath takes you to the edge of your life, for a pulse-pounding glimpse into the Great Beyond. There are many ways to risk your life in the out-of-doors, and Stark has captured them in exquisite and harrowing detail.”
Author of A Symphony in the Brain
An enthralling blend of adventure and science, Last Breath re-creates in heart-stopping detail what happens to our bodies and our minds in the perilous last moments of life when an extreme adventure goes awry.
Combining the adrenaline high of extreme sports with the startling facts of physiological reality, veteran travel and outdoor sports writer Peter Stark narrates a series of adventure stories in which thrill can cross the line to mortal peril. Each death or brush with death is at once a suspense story, a cautionary tale, and a medical thriller. Will they survive, or will they succumb? Readers will shiver with a man lost in the snowy woods, suffering from hypothermia and tearsing off his clothes as he’s burning up from the cold; they will hallucinate with a young woman stranded at the top of Annapurna as she experiences a cerebral edema; and while a kayaker tumbles helplessly underwater for two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes, readers, too, will gasp for their last breath.
article. You sling the gerba over your shoulder by its leather strap; it and the notebook are the twin safeholds of your future. The high half-moon illuminates the sands around you like wide, silvery swells. In the moonlight, the camel tracks radiate outward from your lone acacia tree in dark lines like the threads of a spider’s web. Each set of tracks seems to mark where one of the eight nomads and the two or three camels he lead headed in a different direction. You’ve been pondering this
is still able to drink when he or she is found, the desire is to pour water down the throat without stopping until vomiting occurs. The women now fetch goatskins of water and a robe. The men squat around his naked form and would have stripped away any clothing had he still worn it. The victim is semiconscious, stirring vaguely, mouth moving as if trying to talk. They very carefully pour drops of water onto certain areas of his skin—into the hollows formed atop the shoulder by the clavicle, the
Tibetan Book of the Dead. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. Herzog, Maurice. Annapurna. New York: Lyons Press, 1997. (Originally published: New York: Dutton, 1952.) Houston, Charles S., M.D. Going High: The Story of Man and Altitude. Burlington, VT: Charles S. Houston, M.D., and American Alpine Club, 1980. Hultgren, Herbert N., M.D. High Altitude Medicine. Stanford, CA: Hultgren Publications, 1997. Iserson, Kenneth V., M.D. Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies? Tucson, AZ: Galen
sitting position. Using her headlamp, Becca carefully gave the injection in Adrian’s buttock. Everyone now knew there was nothing to be done except wait for first light. After about an hour in the cave, eating and drinking and situating themselves, Gayle, of the first team, spoke up. “We should blow out the candle.” “Why should we blow out the candle?” Linda replied testily. “The light’s doing Adrian good.” “Because we might need it later.” “I think we need it more now,” Linda said. “Who
European that their derailleurs almost scrape the pavement. Their passing whoosh stirs the bushes that line the road, the cooling breeze rushing over their sweaty bodies. They don’t notice her lying sprawled off in the bushes. The only hope for her now would be immediate and dramatic cooling. Usually this is done with ice packs, immersion in cold water, or, best of all, a cool mist of water blown over the skin. Military heatstroke victims have been treated successfully in the field with the