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Should I Not Return BOOK SIGNING at CARRS/Safeway in Wasilla 6/26! In Palmer 6/28!

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  • Should I Not Return BOOK SIGNING at CARRS/Safeway in Wasilla 6/26! In Palmer 6/28!

    Bill and Jeff Babcock will be signing books tomorrow, Tuesday, June 26th at the CARRS/Safeway in Wasilla, AK... and then again on Thursday June 28th at the CARRS/Safeway in Palmer, Alaska from 9:00 am to 4 pm.

    Jeff's book Should I Not Return tells the story of North American mountaineering's worst climbing tragedy, the infamous Joseph Wilcox Expedition disaster, which took place during the summer of 1967. Bill and Jeff were members of the rescue team that searched for seven missing climbers on the upper slopes of Alaska's Mt. McKinley, who remain entombed in Denali's icy Harper Glacier to this day.

    Three books have already been written about the controversial tragedy: Howard Snyder's The Hall of The Mountain King (1973), Joe Wilcox's White Winds (1981), and Jim Tabor's definitive investigative account Forever On The Mountain (2007). Jeff's book is the first account written by someone who was a member of the rescue team who discovered three of the frozen corpses of the missing seven.

    Bill and Jeff will also be doing a second book signing at the CARRS/Safeway in Palmer on Thursday, June 28th. These two opportunities will be your last chance to get a signed copy of Should I Not Return before Jeff returns to Green Valley, AZ.

    Visit Jeff's website @ <> to view a short video, read several reviews of the book, and view several of the photographs that are included in Jeff's 255-page mountaineering classic.

    Below is a recent review by mountaineering reviewer Ron Dart, which appears in British Columbia's prestigious climbing journal Cloudburst, which is now available on line:

    Jeffrey T. Babcock

    By Ron Dart, Climber and Professor – The University of Frazer Valley, Department of Philosophy & Politics, Abbotsford, B. C.

    We had the experience but missed the meaning.
    T.S. Eliot

    Canada celebrated 100 years of formal statehood in 1967, and the same year Canadians were strutting their birthday stuff, a sickening tragedy was occurring on Denali (Mt. McKinley). Should I Not Return has a rather lengthy (almost Victorian Subtitle): ‘The most controversial tragedy in the history of North American mountaineering! An incredible story of survival, danger, and heroism on the icy slopes of Alaska’s Denali.’---quite a mouthful for an inviting frontispiece introduction with a fine photo of climbers on the snow packed heights of Denali.

    Should I Not Return is masked realism penned in a fiction form. Many of the names are changed from those on the expedition yet the tale told is true to the reality of the three climbing parties on Denali the year of the seven deaths. Should I Not Return is told from the perspective of those who were climbing Denali, who partially assisted in the rescue of those who survived, then continued their ascent to the white packed tower of Denali. The book works at three levels: the tensions that existed in the Babcock group that climbed Denali (and those who descended), the coming of age of Babcock as he climbed his own mountain in maturing from an age of innocence to experience (as he realized the dysfunctional nature of his family) and the controversial nature of the Joe Wilcox party in which seven died on Denali. There has been, naturally, much debate and arrows fired to and fro about whom was responsible for the deaths on Denali, and Babcock tried to be more a mediator in this conflict, and, in many ways, vindicate Wilcox. The publication of Snyder’s The Hall of the Mountain King (1973), Wilcox’s White Winds (1981) and Tabor’s Forever on the Mountain (2007) did much to interpret why the seven deaths occurred on ‘Denali, that Great Grail Castle in the Clouds’.

    Should I Not Return is also a fine primer on the history of various attempts (successful and otherwise) on Denali, and the black-white historic photographs are real charmers and teasers---the sights seen in the photographs are a visual text in themselves that speak much about those who have dared to take to Denali. Should I Not Return is also about Babcock’s return to a primordial and soul changing experience--his life, his brother’s and newly met mountaineers hung by a thin thread for a few fragile days on Denali---those who died and those who survived are branded on the flesh of his memory. Babcock had to return to the memory of what was seen and done, and had he not probed the full meaning of the experience, the consequences could have created another tragedy of a subtler nature.

    There are 28 chapters plus a prologue and epilogue in this fast paced, vulnerable, multilayered and challenging tale of both a journey inward and outward to the summit of different types of Denali’s-- James Tabor wrote the foreward. Should I Not Return will walk the reader into the very centre and core of the meaning of mountaineering at many levels----do purchase this classic of a dramatic tale that is so well told—it will awaken much that slumbers. There is no doubt that Babcock (and friends) had the experience of climbing different types of Denali’s, and he has certainly not missed the layered meanings of such experiences.

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