Sharon Wood was the first woman from the Americas to summit Mount Everest—and the first woman in the world to do so via the West Ridge from Tibet and without Sherpa support. Thirty-four years later, her debut memoir, Rising, hit the shelves. On May 20th, 1986, Sharon Wood and Dwayne Congdon set foot on top of the highest mountain on earth – at sunset. Utterly spent from more than 24 hours in the death zone and two months working at mentally and physically debilitating altitudes, all the sentiment they could muster was plainly said, “Let’s tag the top and get out of here.”
After twelve hours of climbing that day, they began their descent through the dark and the fight for their lives. Rising is part gripping adventure story and part meditation on sustaining passion and purpose. Wood’s account of climbing the difficult and rarely climbed route on Mount Everest is a unique and different view of the mountain than that of today where hundreds of aspiring summiteers wait in line on the standard route for their turn to claim the trophy. In Rising, the world’s highest mountain serves as a stage and her teammates, mentors, friends, lovers and rivals are a cast of unforgettable characters.
Through storms, sleepless nights and difficult climbing, Wood reflects on the pivotal experiences and influences that led her to this remote and austere corner of the world. Her intimate perspective of navigating the hardships, relationships, risks, setbacks, rewards, and the doubts and surprises of a journey where the outcome is uncertain makes Rising a relatable story for anyone who faces challenges great or small.
Following the climb, Wood struggled with the acclaim and expectations that came with her success and recounts how she ultimately found her place in the world. Steeped in six decades of life experience, Rising is a powerful story, rich with adrenalin, passion and humility. It’s a tale that is poignantly relevant—a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome obstacles, whether mountain peaks, social expectations or self-imposed barriers.
Critical acclaim for “Rising“
Read the review here
Rocky Mountain Outlook
“More than a superb, nail-biting account of her ascent of Mt. Everest, Rising is Sharon Wood’s deeply personal reflection on loyalty, gratitude, and the unbreakable bonds formed on the mountain.”Bernadette McDonald, award-winning author of Art of Freedom
“Rising is a most welcome addition to the swaths of mountain literature about Himalayan exploration and exploits on Everest. But make no mistake, this is no conventional tale of reaching the highest point on earth. […] “Joanna Croston – Festival Director, Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival
Not Just Another Everest Book!Review by Jaime Cabesas
….Sharon’s revelations about the physical and mental challenges she and her teammates faced are both fascinating and enlightening. The group dynamics are often complicated and fast-changing. The amount of time their team spent in the “death zone” is frightening.However, this is not just another Everest book! Sharon’s success on Everest is only one of the many great challenges she has successfully managed throughout her life. This book clearly depicts Sharon’s time on Everest as a link to both her past and post-Everest future. It takes her from her “wild child” adolescent/young adult years to her career as a mountain guide and highly sought-after motivational speaker. Sharon’s accomplishments and fame did not come easy. She has constantly had to prove to herself and others that she is highly deserving of the opportunities that have allowed her to climb Everest, raise her sons and be the best she can be in all she does.
I highly recommend “Rising” for anyone interested in the story of an extraordinary woman who climbed Everest during a time when women were rarely seen anywhere near this mountain. Perhaps an even more compelling reason to read this book is that Sharon’s successes in her post-Everest life are just as important, if not more important, to her as being the first North American woman to stand on the summit of Everest on May 20, 1986.