Blind Corners Adventures on Seven Continents
 
Geoff Tabin stands atop Mount Everest in 1988.
 
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It's not often that a memoir about mountaineering kicks off with a story about a man who has "excellent third-world jail experience," but that is exactly what Geoff Tabin did with his 1993 tome "Blind Corners: Adventures on Seven Continents."

The man in question isn't Tabin, but it is indicative of Tabin's mentality toward ice and rock climbing and mountaineering. He doesn't take it as a joke, but loves it so much that he can't help but enjoy himself.

Tabin is an opthamalic surgeon and professor in Utah. He was only the fourth person ever to climb the seven summits -- the highest mountain on each continent -- and Blind Corners recounts those adventures.

From a jungle full of cannibalistic natives to the highest places on earth, Tabin has never led a dull life. While attending Yale, Oxford and Harvard, Tabin took time out to travel and adventure in remote locales all over the world.

After recounting his early climbing adventures, Tabin devotes several chapters to Everest, where he summited the mountain on his third attempt in 1988. He tells of the confusion and mismanagement of the first expedition to Everest, where his hero Sir Edmund Hillary was injured in base camp.

Two years later, a much more organized group completed the first ascent of the difficult east face of Everest, but Tabin wasn't in the group that made the summit.

It is clear through his writing that Tabin is not exactly an adrenaline junky. He is thoughtful and frank, funny and philosophical. He talks about the realities of living the kind of life that entails routinely putting yourself in danger, where getting off the mountain is more important that getting to the summit.

Tabin recounts climbs on every continent, where he has helped injured partners out of remote areas and lived with the joy of climbing balanced with the sadness of losing friends to those same mountains.

Since he completed the seven summits, Dr. Tabin has remained an active climber, but has also helped hundreds of thousands of people in Asia and Africa by providing eye care and cataract surgeries. There is more information on Dr. Tabin's work at cureblindness.org.