Spotlight on Alaska Books: Should I Not Return by Jeffrey Babcock

of this happened when I was a young man and very naive. I really was a member
of a rescue team that searched for seven missing climbers on top of
Mt. McKinley in the summer of 1967. One man on our team nearly drowned
while crossing the frigid waters of the
McKinley River. A large grizzly charged two men who were relaying gear
up through the foothills to the base of mountain. The only woman on our team
descended with the five survivors from another group because she was coughing
up blood. One of our climbers almost died from HAPE near the summit. I was
caught out in the open below Archdeacon’s Tower and had to crawl back to our
high camp in a raging blizzard. These things happened during what is often
called the worst climbing disaster in North American Mountaineering.”

(Babcock, Jeffrey SHOULD I NOT RETURN).

20-year old Jeff Babcock travels to Alaska in 1967 to join his brother Bill to climb Denali,
otherwise known as
Mount McKinley.  It is the 53rd attempt on the great mountain, yet the
brothers do not know they are embarking upon the nightmare of their life. 
Ahead of them by 10 days is the Joseph Wilcox Expedition, a 12-man team
Denali via the standard Muldrow Glacier/Karstens Ridge approach.
At 11,000 feet Denali strikes back.  Several days of fierce winds and
blinding snowfall keeps the MCA team pinned down.  As the weather clears,
5 survivors from the Wilcox group descend to the small shelf at 12,100-foot
where they meet Bill and Jeff’s team.  A routine climb now becomes a life
and death struggle to find seven missing men.  SHOULD I NOT RETURN is a
classic coming of age story, but it is also a test of brotherly love, heroism,
and a supreme struggle against Mother Nature at her worst.  Ultimately
SINR is a testament to all climbers who have ‘not returned,’ and offers vivid
historical photographs and detailed accounts of the early climbs on
Reviewer Comments
“The deaths of 7 young climbers during the 1967 Wilcox
Mt. McKinley Expedition form the book’s crucial event, true.  But this
core tragedy is wrapped within layers of drama that raise this book far above
the ‘me-and Joe-climbed-a-mountain’ genre.”   Author, James M. Tabor
“SINR will walk the reader into the very center and core
of the meaning of mountaineering at many levels–do purchase this classic that
is so well told, it will awaken much that slumbers.”  Ron Dart, Philosophy
Univ. of Fazer Valley, Abbotsford,
“Similar to an abstract painting of a real subject, the
artist chose to blur the lines and colors to allow each observer a different
perspective through imagination.”  Wallace Orr, Boulder, CO
In 1969, Jeff graduated with a B.A. in Secondary Ed. and
taught English for a year in
.  In 1972 he returned to Alaska, and received his M.A. in Special Ed. Jeff was a SPED
resource teacher for 30 years in
Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley. During this time, he and his brother oversaw the
mountaineering program at the
University of Alaska Anchorage. They introduced countless students to the joys of
climbing, with expeditions to
Denali, and its surrounding peaks. Jeff has written articles
for the 
Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Magazine. He and his
wife Margaret raised four children, but now reside in
Green Valley, Arizona. SHOULD I NOT RETURN was published in Anchorage by Publication Consultants.  It is available in
paper back, digital, and audio formats @ and elsewhere.
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