Although Within Reach
is targeted at young adults and written in a young man's voice, the writing (by coauthor Galvin) is engaging, and the story is rewarding enough to interest any mountaineer.
Pfetzer, 18 at the time of publication, describes his summits of a number of peaks worthy of a climber twice his age, including Huascarán, Aconcagua, Ama Dablam, Kilimanjaro, and Cho Oyu. He tells at length of his two expeditions to Everest, where he reached 25,000 feet from Tibet and 26,000 feet from Nepal. Purists may sneer, as all these climbs were commercial, guided expeditions--but heck, the kid was only 14 or 15; how else would he get there? And, though a paying client, he was unusually well prepared: a karate black belt (at age 11), courses in NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and high-angle rescue, full EMT (emergency medical technician) training (even though he was too young to be licensed), in addition to being in top physical condition, which he rigorously maintained.
Pfetzer has regularly sought out older, more experienced mountaineers as mentors--somewhat rare for a teenager--and thanks them publicly for their teaching and wisdom. His love of climbing and determination to succeed are inspirational for all ages. --Donna DeShazo
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