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Book recommendations - Bonnington, Scott, Haston

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 hugh1201 06 Jan 2021

Hi folks, 

As we are plunged into yet another lockdown, I'm hoping to use my time a little more productively this time around, not least in doing a little more reading. Hoping to read a few more books about the Bonnington-era of British climbing and expeditioning, so the characters of Scott, Haston etc. Any recommendations of must-reads?


 petegunn 06 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201:

Dougal Haston:

The Eiger and In High Places. Also worth reading is The Philosophy of Risk by Jeff Connor which traces the life of Dougal.


Too many but Ascent will cover a great deal

Another good read if you can find a copy is Reinhold Messner and The Seventh Grade!

Post edited at 12:22
 Harry Jarvis 06 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201:

You might like The Boys of Everest:


It's a bit of a compilation of the Bonington generation and their climbs. It does suffer in that there is a degree of fictionalisation in some of the accounts of climbs, which grates somewhat, but it covers a whole range of expeditions. 

You should also read the Tasker-Boardman Omnibus, which collates the published books of Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman. If you're interested in this era of Himalayan climbing, this is pretty much essential. 

 Myfyr Tomos 06 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201:

Try "Fragile Edge" by Maria Coffey, the partner of Joe Tasker. A wonderful, moving account from a different perspective.

Post edited at 13:28
 graeme jackson 06 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201:

Bonington - the obvious one would be 'I chose to climb' but I prefer his follow up 'The next horizon'.  Everest South west face is another favourite. 

 65 06 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201:

Scott and MacIntyre: The Shishapangma Expedition.

Scott: Up and About.

Bonington's I Chose to Climb is a classic.

and Tasker's Savage Arena is a must.

Post edited at 15:38
 HammondR 06 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201: in general Bennington's best books are the autobiographical ones rather than the expedition books. Sacred Summits by Peter Boardman is a fantastic read.

 Doug 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

I was going to post the same, this thread from 2006 might be of interest to anyone thinking of buying it (https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/culture_bunker/the_boys_of_everest-212824 ).

Following that thread I did buy & read the book & found the fictionalised sections rather annoying. But its a good introduction to the various characters even if there own books are more interesting (in my opinion)

In reply to hugh1201:

The Shining Mountain by Pete Boardman is excellent, part of the BT Omnibus mentioned above.

I read it as a 15 yr old and was blown away - two guys heading out to the greater ranges to attempt an unclimbed route in lightweight style was massively inspiring.  After having many climbing adventures of my own and now with kids I read it again last year.  Still found it captivating but I couldn't reconcile the risk and commitment that comes with an ascent like that, it just terrified me!     

 JB 06 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201:

I love Everest The Hard Way... amazing description of Scott and Haston snowholing just below the summit having topped out at dusk. 

 WaterMonkey 06 Jan 2021
In reply to gimmer:

Thanks for that, just downloaded it  

 Fruit 07 Jan 2021
In reply to 65:

Another vote for savage arena.

also for pleasure, try the ascent of rum doodle


no picnic on mount kenya for a story about what can be achieved in difficult times.

 keith hal 08 Jan 2021
In reply to hugh1201:

"In Balance" by Peter Gillman is a very interesting book. Really a collection of his newspaper articles and interviews...many from that era of British Climbing ( he covered the Harlin Eiger direct climb in  1966 amongst others) A lot of stuff about Bonington/Scott/ Patey/Crew etc.

Covers from 1966 up to the mid 80's

Post edited at 22:05
In reply to hugh1201:

Hi Hugh. I buy and sell books to raise funds for Community Action Nepal. I’ve got many of these recommendations for sale. The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev is excellent too. Any of Dougs books are good. As are Bonington’s. Ascent is excellent 

I quite often put some up for sale. Feel free to ask ? I’ve hardbacks/paperbacks/collectors items and signed and unsigned! I just love books! 

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