At age 16 Chris Kopczynski carved the words “Everest/Eiger” into the handle of his ice axe, marking his goal to climb the two mountains known as the "highest and the hardest." He accomplished that goal by the age of 33, becoming the ninth American to summit Everest and the first American to summit both the North Face of the Eiger and Mt. Everest. With the climbing addiction in his blood, he set new goals and became the twelfth in the world to climb the highest peaks on seven continents.
Chris’ lifelong odyssey to the top of the world includes the climbs, attempts and summits of every continent’s highest, hardest, and most significant mountains. He gives readers stories of perseverance and survival as he achieved his dreams on Robson in the Canadian Rockies, Chimney Rock in Idaho, the Pamirs and Elbrus in the USSR, Denali in Alaska, Makalu in Nepal, Antarctica’s Vinson, Chile’s Aconcagua, Kosciuszko in Australia, and Africa’s Kilimanjaro.
Chris Kopczynski has climbed with John Roskelley for over 55 years. From their early days bouldering around Spokane, tackling the vertical and technical big walls of the Pacific Northwest to more challenging peaks around the world, they grew to become all-around mountaineers. Roskelley calls Chris the most underrated American mountaineer. With the publication of Chris’s life story, the climbing world can recognize and applaud the accomplishments of this premier world climber.
NetGalley Review: 5 stars
Last updated on 31 Jan 2022
""Into Thin Air" hooked me on reading about big mountain climbs, and "Highest and Hardest" did not disappoint. Starting with the author's childhood, readers see how Kopczynski first explored risk, adventure, and friendship. As Kopczynski begins to climb mountain after mountain, I cheered him on through the heavy storms, bivouacs, and relentless decisions. I gasped during his climb of the Eiger North Face and held my breath during some of his nail-biting moments on Everest. But I equally enjoyed reading about his climbs in Canada, Denali, etc. that taught him the mountaineering skills he would later use on other climbs.
Told in a straightforward manner with some technical detail, I appreciated that Kopczynski did not add unnecessary fluff to such grave stories. The "lessons learned" at the end of each chapter drove home his points in a succinct way. The pictures from various climbs interspersed with the stories brought the story to life.
I'll definitely be purchasing a copy for a friend with Everest ambitions. This book is for anyone with even a mild interest in mountaineering or outdoor feats, but it would also be enjoyable for readers who don't venture into risky mountain climbs.
Thank you to Netgalley and Falcon Press Publishing for an advance e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!"—Britta Todd, reviewer at Booked Up Millenials
NetGalley review: 4 stars
Last updated on 13 Jan 2022
I have always loved the mountains. I've lived right along the Wasatch Mountain Range for almost my whole life, and enjoy spending a lot of time in them - hiking, camping, fishing. Even though I have enjoyed being in the mountains, I've never had the bug to do big climbs. I sure love reading about them though. It started with "Into Thin Air", and after that I was hooked.
This book was a pretty quick read for me. I devoured it over the course of a few days. I loved reading all the descriptions of the climbs, and trying to imagine what it was like actually being up there. Chris Kopczynski is not a climber I had heard of before, but he accomplished an impressive list of feats. While I enjoyed reading about his different climbs, I also enjoyed when he asked himself what he was doing. He had a family and a job, but all he could think about was the next climb. It made me think about what drives some people to do the things they do, especially when it seems as if that drive to do one amazing thing is ruining another.
There were parts that seemed a little repetitive - he stated after almost every climb he wrote about that the climb after the summit is the most dangerous - some of the conversations seemed a little oddly written, and anyone who doesn't have a basic understanding of climbing and the terms used may be confused as to what's going on, but overall it was a fascinating book and a definite recommend for anyone who climbs or is interested in the subject."—Kamis Gardner, consumer reviewer