The White Death

In 1969, five young men from Montana set out to accomplish what no one had before: to scale the sheer north face of Mt. Cleveland, Glacier National Park’s tallest mountain, in winter. Two days later tragedy struck: they were buried in an avalanche so deep that their bodies would not be discovered until the following June. The White Death is the riveting account of that fated climb and of the breathtakingly heroic rescue attempt that ensued.

In the spirit of Peter Matthiessen and John McPhee, McKay Jenkins interweaves a harrowing narrative with an astonishing expanse of relevant knowledge ranging from the history of mountain climbing to the science of snow.

Evocative and moving, this fascinating book is a humbling account of man at his most intrepid and nature at its most indomitable.

Purchase “The White Death”



Random House


Barnes and Noble


“[E]loquently written…. Snow has rarely been so menacing as in this book.”–The Washington Post Book World

“In the style of Norman Maclean’s best-selling exploration of a notorious Montana forest fire in “Young Men and Fire,” Jenkins combines the best of a study of history and causes for avalanche disasters with a gripping story.” — The Seattle Times

“A riveting book that uses the deaths of five climbers…as a mans to explore avalanches, personal responsibility, the science of snow and the ethics of extreme sports.” — The Oregonian

“A scary…passionate look at what motivates human beings to confront the natural world in its most hostile aspect.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A gripping, not-soon-to-be-forgotten collection of tales of catastrophe.
— Men’s Journal

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