About the book (from Goodreads):
Gangkar Punsum, at 24,770 feet, is the highest peak in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. In autumn 1986 Steven Berry – at thirty-seven already a veteran of the Himalaya – led an international team of climbers, plus support trekkers, to tackle the unconquered peak. Two years of laborious preparations had led up to the attempt to get the climbers on the mountain in the limited weather window between the end of the monsoons and the onset of winter. Arrival in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, far from marking the end of the hassle, was to face Berry with the threat of an immediate tragedy. The frustrations, setbacks and near-disasters with which all such enterprises are fraught continued through the walk-in and up to the mountain herself; and the climbing was to bring moments of utter physical exhaustion and sheer terror as well as of satisfaction and almost mystical aesthetic joy. “The Thunder Dragon Kingdom” is Steven Berry’s own account of that mountaineering expedition. It is also a celebration of the mysterious Shangri-La kingdom of Bhutan, its history and its Buddhist culture, and above all of its people, with their love of company, an irrepressible sense of fun, and a natural innocent happiness as yet untainted by contacts with Western civilisation, slowly widening under the guidance of an enlightened monarch. For the climbers, beyond all this lay the mountain. On their first sight of Gangkar Punsum they had the impression that the five-million-year-old virgin was flirting with them. Would she welcome their advances?