Helga Hengge’s mountaineering career began in 1996 when she climbed Aconcagua, 22,841 ft. (6.962 m), in Argentina. Following her entrance into the world of high-altitude climbing and the successful ascent of many peaks above 20.000 ft. (6.000 m), the New York based fashion journalist fulfilled her dream of climbing to the summit of the highest mountain in the world -Mount Everest -in the spring of 1999. On her return she publishes her experiences on the mountain in a fascinating account. Straight forward and without frills she tells her story of climbing to the top of Mount Everest. The reader is swept away by her quiet, yet thoroughly gripping narrative style and takes part in all the strains and fears as well as the happy moments on the mountain. Reading her account, it becomes evident that reaching the summit was never a ‘fight against the mountain’ for the young climber but ‘only’ a dream, not worth risking her life and that of others around her. Thanks to favorable weather conditions and an outstanding physical condition, Helga successfully reaches the summit of Mount Everest, the closest place to heaven. A fascinating book by an interesting woman, highly recommended to all. Let yourself be inspired by this Everest account! Katja Klenk
“I loved this book! "Only the Sky Above" is a fantastic story of Helga's journey through her incredible life. Her eloquent and descriptive way of telling a story made me feel like I was right by her side for the adventures of a lifetime. The book allowed me to experience what Helga went through physically, professionally, emotionally and spiritually. I really admire her sense of adventure and sense of humor as they both kept me engaged while reading this great tale.”
“What fascinated me deeply is the way you brought your impressions, feelings and your success to paper and into words. Great that you let me take part in your adventure.”
“With great enthusiasm I finished reading your book yesterday and I had the urge to let you know how much I liked it. I laughed with all my heart, I suffered with you and climbed with you in feverish anticipation and read through your book in two days —and I am definitely not a bookworm!”
5 Stars — Magnificent
“Mount Everest is a gigantic mountain and ‘Only the sky above’ by Helga Hengge is a magnificent book. Women are not only great mountaineers but above all great writers. A must-read!”
5 Stars — Fascinating
“Upfront I have to admit that I am not particularly interested in mountaineering. Until a short while ago it seemed to me the most pointless hobby of human kind, a bit like ‘the silly pranks of the rich’. Reading Helga Hengge’s book has thoroughly changed my mind. Here writes a human being, who fulfilled her dream. Helga Hengge describes this adventure in an honest, open, vulnerable, admiringly self-critical and infectiously enthusiastic way. What had me really impressed was her respect for the risks and dangers on the mountain. I do believe that she would have rather turned around than risk her life and that of the others around her. Why Reinhold Messner should have greater rights to climb this mountain than a mountaineer like Helga Hengge, only the wind knows. This book is a fascinating read!”
5 Stars — Inspired — highly recommended!
“In the past months I have read almost everything that has been written about the ascent of Mount Everest and I would like to recommend this book highly. It is very entertainingly written and furthermore the author shows normal human feelings and reactions —which I couldn’t say about the authors of many other books on this subject —any self-adulation is alien to Helga Hengge. She writes about her ascent with a real voice and without heroic bawling. That alone makes this book a true exception, as most accounts on this subject — focus foremost on describing the author’s ego and heroism, which from their perspective seems to accompany the ascent of this mountain. Not so Helga Hengge. A truly inspiring book on this subject.”
5 Stars — Helga Hengge is addictiVE!
“Reports of people who have realized their dreams are quite exciting per se. For that I am grateful to my mountaineering friend who recommended that I read this book. Coincidentally I had just finished reading Heinrich Harrer’s ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ when I started on Helga Hengge’s book and for that alone it was great because there are a lot of references to Harrer’s report. Unfortunately it also becomes evident how much cultural destruction has been done since Harrer’s time in Tibet. The way Helga Hengge describes her journey and the preparation for it enables the reader to dream along with her. The richness of her language, injected with short legends from Tibet, will win over any newcomer delving into mountaineering literature for this sort of adventure. We should let Helga Hengge infect us with her enthusiasm and feel encouraged to let our dreams come true.”
5 Stars — Great
“Exciting and sensitive —that is how Helga Hengge describes her ascent to the summit of her dreams. Fascinated I followed her on her path to the limits of what is possible, into a world where one stops living and starts being. I truly enjoyed every page.”
5 Stars — Humanity versus delusions of grandeur
“A book only a woman could write. Different from her male colleagues, Helga Hengge describes her journey to the summit not as a constant war against the mountain, which she eventually ‘conquers’, but she ‘flies’ up. Through her positive attitude towards life the ascent of Mount Everest becomes what it should be, a surmounting of one’s ego. She doesn’t shy away from describing her fears and emotions. She does not always have to be strong and because of that she experiences the mountain in all its beauty like a gentle giant. Interesting to know, in her team she feels more drawn to the Sherpas than to her ‘tough’ co-mountaineers. A remarkable book, which I could not put down!!”
5 Stars — Absolutely thrilling!!!!!
“This book is finally an account about climbing Mount Everest that shows the humanity of mountaineers and does not portray them in the shining light of super heroes. Despite the icy cold of the mountain this book is warm and colorful and picturesquely written and not dry and harsh with never-ending emphasis of the death-zone. It is a very diverse account that does not only describe the ascent of the mountain but also gives insight into the country and life of its inhabitants, the Sherpas. I believe that everybody can find himself in this book, and it is an incentive for all that is possible as soon as we start listening to our inner voice and dare to trust it. The most professional ascent of the highest mountain in the world is surely that which leaves overt ambition and summit mania at home. I could not put this book down.”
5 Stars — Sensuality and summit push
“It was captivating although it started almost quiet and romantic with descriptions of vastness and freedom that one experiences as a mountaineer. Helga Hengge writes straight forward and without frills about her personal adventure on Mount Everest. It is a fascinating account, which combines the enjoyment of mountaineering step by step with the cruelty and sometimes even the absurdity of such an adventure. It was great to take part in it.”