Summiting Mount Everest has always been renowned as a remarkable challenge. “Deliverance From 27,000 Feet” by John Branch tells the story of a group of four climbers and their Sherpas on their trek. The difficulties they faced financially, emotionally, and physically are unimaginable. Not to mention the pain and suffering that their families endured as well. Branch’s storytelling technique takes the reader on their journey up the highest peak in the world.
His opening paragraph draws the reader in, since most readers are probably unaware that a “Sherpa” is a guide and the immediate mentioning of a corpse makes the reader wonder. Similar to how the Sherpas were picking away ice from a corpse, more and more details are exposed to the reader to set the scene for what will unfold in the rest of the article. The introduction builds suspense and mystery surrounding the alluring Mount Everest and the people who dare to climb it.
Throughout the course of the article, the background story of Goutam Ghosh unfolds. As a reader, I would compare the beginning of his story as reaching Base Camp on Mount Everest. It’s the start of the journey and gives the reader personable details about him that make you feel connected. Branch alternates between sharing Ghosh’s background and the timeline of the trek, which also contributes to the reader feeling like they’re climbing with them and learning more about the hikers along the way. The detailed descriptions of the hardships they faced on the hike, coupled with the hardships that their families are going through, made me want to keep reading.
One of the most significant aspects of this article is the interactive multimedia components. The integrated photos of the climbers and the mountain truly place the reader in the barren environment. The photos automatically start playing their interactive components when the reader scrolls to that part of the page. I thought it was very impressive how the article included videos and photos from another hiker that Ghosh encountered, Paul Pottinger, videos from Ghosh’s personal camera that was recovered with his body, and portraits of his family and hometown.
My favorite multimedia video was “Leaving Everest,” which shows the Sherpas pulling Ghosh’s body across the barren landscape. It was taken by Dawa Finjhok Sherpa and it gives an accurate depiction of how difficult it was to retrieve the body that Ghosh’s family desperately needed for closure. It not only emphasizes the challenges Sherpas face in the retrieval process that occurs too often, but also the great lengths that Ghosh’s family went to in order to have a proper funeral service.
As a whole, “Deliverance From 27,000 Feet” paints a vivid picture for the reader through words, but is also accompanied by impressive multimedia photos and videos. Branch’s storytelling technique of bouncing back and forth between the action of the trek and the hiker’s background stories keeps the reader engulfed in the action. The rising action leading up to the discovery of Ghosh’s body brings the reader to the near summit, which is followed by the trip back down the mountain and the conclusion of freeing Ghosh’s spirit for the afterlife.