1996 Mount Everest Tragedy
One Survivor’s Story
10 May 1996 is the date of the most historic tragedy in Mount Everest history. Eight climbers died. Lou Kasischke was there. He lived that story.
The setting is mountain climbing. The climbing events and the forces of nature were at the extreme, especially when things went wrong. The drama near the summit was high.
But the crux of the story has much in common with everyday life. This was Lou’s struggle with himself 400 feet from the summit, when he faced a tough decision and conflicting internal voices about what to do. The story is an example of how and where to go for the guidance and strength needed in such moments.
Lou tells the story about what happened and what went wrong. But Lou’s personal story is more than about being there. It’s also about his long aftermath journey to understand his experience, to find meaning in it, and to find guidance from it for his future goals and challenges.
The story is both sad and triumphant.
About the Author
Lou Kasischke has lived his entire life in Michigan, but his enduring love of the mountains and alpine endurance sports have taken him to many remote parts of the world, on all seven continents. Lou’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and a Juris doctor degree in law from Michigan State University. Risk management was the major focus of his business degree from MSU. Already as a student, Lou was fascinated by risk, risk evaluation, and the concepts of taking and managing risk. For a career centered in finance analysis and law, he also became a certified public accountant and earned an advanced Master of Laws degree. Lou’s work career experiences were multi-dimensional. In law, this included 35 years with Dykema Gossett, a national law firm, as a specialist in corporate and tax law and in representing venture capital businesses. He authored a leading book on corporate law and was selected by his colleagues for all editions of The Best Lawyers in America, which represents about one percent of the nation’s lawyers. In business, Lou was a chief executive officer and a director and advisor to several major corporations on business and legal matters. His professional career, especially as a lawyer and a venture capital advisor, often focused on taking high-stakes business risks, managing risk, and making decisions with far-reaching consequences. This part of Lou’s life made his several decades as a serious mountain climber a natural extension. And it also explains his perspective and the important purpose that led him to closely examine, analyze, and explain what went wrong on Everest and his experience of being there, based on the facts that matter and not on the sensational and irrelevant. Lou is retired from law and business and lives on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. He remains active with alpine sports and other endurance challenges in the great outdoors.
"A vivid, intimate memoir that with great clarity and attention to detail, tells an unforgettable survival story." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"After The Wind is a thoughtful, well written love story of Kasischke's dedication to his wife and anchor Sandy and his passion for climbing." -- BlueInk Reviews (starred review)
"A through analysis of the 1996 Everest disaster... and the best preparation for my Everest assent." -- Jean Pavillard, IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide
"Kasischke's account provides an eye-opening look at the perils and extreme conditions on Everest. Evocative illustrations by Jane Cardinal further enhance the text, and includes maps and time lines." -- Publishers Weekly
"Kasischke chronicles the events not only to recover some truth from the sensationalism surrounding that fateful day, but also to share a deeply personal story of the enduring power of love. ... Kasischke attributes his survival to the promises he made to 'live a story he can tell,' and 'come back home' .... After The Wind is decidedly genuine in the construction ... and Kasischke presents his story humbly as one man's experience of a horrific day" -- New Orleans Review
"This riveting book examines what went wrong before and during the expedition ... including a series of ill-advised decisions just below the summit .... Kasischke also examines what holds true when all else fails, when survival is no longer likely. He offers a fascinatingly personal look at what he believes saved him. Ultimately, this is a survival story about love --of mountaineering, of God, and of the deep and abiding bond between a husband and wife." -- The US Review of Books