Hugo Award 1980, Nebula Award 1979.
It is the year 2142 A.D., and the brilliant, visionary engineer Vannevar Morgan has evolved a method of building a gigantic 'Space Elevator' for transporting men and materials to a point outside the earth's atmosphere, thus marking the true beginning of Man's interplanetary civilization. But before this awe-inspiring conception can become reality a major obstacle has to be faced. For there is only one point on earth suitable for the launching site – the peak of a sacred mountain which is jealously guarded by the monks who have inhabited it since time immemorial.
How their resistance is overcome, and what happens when Morgan's Elevator begins to tower into the sky, forms the basis of a dramatic tale in which scientific knowledge and soaring imagination both play their part.