Toine Heijmans


What mountains do to people, and what people do to mountains

The day that Walter Welzenbach climbs his first mountain marks the rest of his life: he never wants to do anything else. Now he is at his final peak, a dizzying 8188 meters high, looking down at his loneliness.

Oxygen Debt is the breath-taking novel about the two friends, Lenny and Walter, who chase their dreams in the alps and Himalayans, and seal their fate in doing so. They carry along the stories of the great alpinists that have done the tours before them, and together they search for a way to write a new chapter of mountaineering history. But in the thin air different rules apply.

Ten years after the publication if his renowned bestseller At Sea, Toine Heijmans once again takes the reader along to an unrelenting world, with a novel about freedom and friendship, storms and avalanches, and the consequences of radical choices.

  • Boekhandelsprijs 2022

The ice axe of Heijmans’ sincerity cuts through the clichés and false heroism. On top of that, the scenes in the high mountains are also enormously gripping.


A terrific novel about friendship, loneliness, freedom and mountains.

de Volkskrant


Toine Heijmans

Toine Heijmans (1969) is journalist bij de Volkskrant. Hij heeft drie kinderen en zeilt in zijn vrije tijd. Hij publiceerde eerder een non-fictieboek La Vie Vinex. Op Zee werd bejubeld door recensenten en boekhandelaren. Binnen twee weken was er een herdruk. De vertaalrechten voor deze debuutroman…

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Zuurstofschuld (2021). Fictie, 336 pagina's.
Oplage: 15.000

Sample translation available



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