Reviews and Endorsements for Alpine Rising

Alpine Rising is a fascinating history of the crucial and frequently tragic role of local Nepalis, Tibetans, and Pakistanis on mountaineering expeditions to the world’s highest peaks. Bernadette McDonald sheds new light on the Himalayan and Karakoram villagers exploited for decades by Western climbers, who often seemed to regard them as little more than expendable servants and laborers. This important, engaging book explains how men and women from these underappreciated communities have recently won worldwide respect and admiration as cutting-edge alpinists, heroic climbing guides, successful entrepreneurs, and masters of their own destinies.

Jon Krakauer

The history of local climbers in Pakistan and Nepal is so robust and nuanced that rarely has anyone endeavored to tell it. Alpine Rising shares these often-overlooked stories of high-altitude workers with direct interviews, historical context, and modern perspective. It should be essential reading for anyone who has wondered how these mountains are climbed and, as importantly, why.

Melissa Arnot Reid, mountain guide and co-founder, The Juniper Fund

It’s taken far too long, but at last the local guides and porters who have contributed so much to Himalayan climbing for more than a century are having their achievements acknowledged more fully, along with the terrible human cost they suffered along the way. Bernadette McDonald tells this extraordinary story with great energy and understanding, making space not just for the famous Sherpas but other ethnic groups who are also overlooked.

Ed Douglas, Author of Himalaya: A Human History

We Pakistani climbers are grateful for this important book about us, the unsung heroes of Pakistan. We are the new generation, and we are ready for new challenges and our rightful place in climbing history. Alpine Rising shares our story

Sajid Sadpara, Balti Mountain Guide

This book is a fascinating and important account of what could very well be the last generation of Sherpa guides in Nepal

Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, First Female IFMGA-certified Mountain Guide from Nepal

Alpine Rising is a wonderfully written account of the truly unsung heroes of Himalayan climbing. The Indigenous Sherpa, Balti, and others of the region have for many years shouldered the brunt of burden and broken trail, often with little recognition, which led to the success of Western-based expeditions. Their tenacity and drive have allowed them to finally step out from the shadows, take the lead, and come to the forefront of alpine ascents and guiding across the globe. I’m honored to have worked with some of these climbers as teammates.

Ed Viesturs, Author of No Shortcuts to the Top

Giving voice to local climbers from Tibet, Pakistan, Nepal, and India who have long enabled Westerners to tackle the world’s highest peaks, Bernadette McDonald shares their histories, perspectives, and present-day realities—including the high rate of attrition and the suffering of those left behind. Gripping, thought-provoking, and often shocking, Alpine Rising is an important addition to the canon of mountain literature.

Maria Coffey, Author of “Where the Mountain Casts it’s Shadow”

Timely and important, Alpine Rising is an authoritative and nuanced addition to mountaineering history. It evokes precious personal memories of time spent in the hills with Pertemba, Ang Phu, Little Karim, and so many others whose contributions are finally being fully acknowledged and celebrated.

Sir Chris Bonington, Author and Mountaineer

Bernadette McDonald has shown once again that she is the best equipped mountaineering author to give these irreplaceable people the credit they so fully deserve. Alpine Rising is a brilliant read and fills an important gap in the rich history of mountaineering literature.

Bob A. Schelfhout Aubertijn, Mountaineering HIstorian

In this courageous book, McDonald documents how significant contributions by local climbers in the Greater Ranges have been consistently underappreciated, and underreported, throughout mountaineering history. She skillfully shows how relationships and dynamics between local and foreign climbers have evolved, creating a compelling, impactful, and long overdue story.

Steve Swenson, Author of “Karakoram”