/ Holiday reading: climbing

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Greenbanks - on 12 Jul 2017
I'm currently making my way through:
Eric Jones's autobiography
Catherine Destivelle's Rock Queen and
Peter & Leni Gillman's Eiger tour de force....

All excellent in their way.

What are you reading that's climbing related during holiday/down-time?
Mark Collins - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

The Maverick Mountaineer - early 20th century era, biography about George Ingle Finch. I don't want to say too much as I'm only a quarter of the way in, enjoying it so far and moves along nicely.
In reply to Greenbanks:

I'm looking forward to reading Ed Douglas' book, The Magician's Glass, which is due to be released later this year. Other than that most of what I've been reading lately has been either science fiction (just finished the Silo Series by Hugh Howey) or what could loosely be classified as travel/history (In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin & In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare).

The Jazz Butcher on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I recently read Johnny Dawes autobiography and also Feeding the Rat about Mo Anthoine again for old times sake. Both really good reads.
The Jazz Butcher on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
What is the Silo Series like? Nearly finished reading all the Culture novels by Iain M Banks and looking for another science fiction series to get into. What is the gist of the series?

Thanks.
Post edited at 14:10
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:

I enjoyed it the first two books in particular, but - and I don't want to spoil it for you so will keep the following comments vague - I thought the end was actually a little weak. Clearly this was disappointing, but the first two were so good I would still recommend them. Very easy reading too.
jayjackson - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:
Quite enjoyed Neal Asher's Agent Cormac series, although it does get a bit of flack for being simplistic, they carry on at a good pace and are easy reading with some fun characters (the best ones are the recurring supporting cast rather than the lead)
Post edited at 14:26
The Jazz Butcher on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Thanks, that's great. I'll start looking for them in the second hand book shops.
jayjackson - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to
High endeavour - biography of Robin Smith, really worth a read.
Fatal Mountaineer - Robert Roper
Beatnik of the Alps - biography of Gary Hemming
Conquistadors of the Useless - Lionel Terray

The Jazz Butcher on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jayjackson:

They sound interesting. Sci fi with a cyberpunk element.

So many good books.

Thanks.
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:

Confession of the day: I've never read anything by Iain M Banks.

Retrospectively I should have stopped reading the Dune series over and over again (I've read them all three times) and actually ventured onto something/someone a little different.

Still, when they're so good it's hard to change!
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:

As a digression, did anyone read the Ancillary Justice Series? I read the first, liked it, but thought the second was a shocker (so dull I actually stopped reading it). Gather the third is better, but - and here's a question for the panel - is it actually worth it?!?
The Jazz Butcher on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

They are quite long and do get a bit complex at times. Some of them have an appendix of characters, species etc., in case the reader forgets along the way. Even though they follow a similar story line; The Culture Civilisation thousands of years in the future, they are independent stories and not in any particular order. That makes it easier if finding and buying them in second hand book stores.

My favourite two stories were Excession, because of the inter-dimensional concepts and Surface Detail, because of the crazy Mind (AI's) characters.

My confession; never read any of the Dune series! Will be on the list though.
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:

I've just ordered Excession, will let you know how I get on.
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zmv - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Jerry Moffat's revelations is a fantastic read.
WaterMonkey - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

7 years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
Greenbanks - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to zmv:

Ys - agreed. Earthy, and in 'my' era too. Does this make a climbing book more appealing I wonder?

Pursued by a bear - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

The last climbing book I read was The Bond, by Simon McCartney; an excellent read and one I highly recommend.

I really didn't get on with Eric Jones' biography. The man is a legend and has some truly excellent and epic tales to tell, but the book was, I thought, very badly written. I don't believe it to be truly an autobiography as it was, I think, ghostwritten; and the ghostwriter and commissioning editor both did a pretty poor job (this was discussed here about 18 months ago, so I shan't dwell further). Great shame; a book to read despite the way in which it is written as, as noted, Eric Jones is a proper old-school outdoors legend.

T.
Tony Jones - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

>

> I really didn't get on with Eric Jones' biography. The man is a legend and has some truly excellent and epic tales to tell, but the book was, I thought, very badly written.

> T.

That's a real shame as he certainly has a story to tell. We were at Tryfan Fach a month or so ago and he strolled up, soloed a couple of routes, passed the time, and sat and watched others climb.

Regarding climbing autobiographies, I would wholeheartedly recommend Gwen Moffat's 'Space Below my Feet' and Bill Peascod's 'Journey After Dawn'. I've just finished the former, and I'm already a good way through the latter having only just opened it this morning. Both very inspiring in their different ways.

Big Lee - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Finally got around to reading Freedom Climbers. Brilliant!
Greenbanks - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Tony Jones:

I have enjoyed Eric's story...I suppose the only shortcoming was the absence of much in the way of description of the Llanberis scene in the 60's and early 70's...regarding this, there is a space in the literature for a book on the quite different places that have, over the last 50-60 or so years, defined the development of the sport - Llanberis, Sheffield, the South-West scene, Lakeland movements and the Scottish centres etc
Alun - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

My 'top three' climbing books from the last decade or so would be Moffat and Fawcett's autobiographies, and Perrin's biography of Dom Whillans.

More recently, I've read:

The Bond, Simon McCartney - I'm not generally into mountaineering books, mostly because of all the death and hardship, which just depresses me. But The Bond grabbed me from the first page right til its bittersweet and poignant ending. Best mountaineering book I've read by a mile.

Statement, Ben Moon - Ben Moon was a hero of mine when I was a kid (and, I suppose, he still is!). I was rather disappointed by his book though. While it has interesting details on his ascents (amazingly, he kept pretty comprehensive training diaries during that period), it lacks the zip and verve of Jerry's Revelations. It gets rather more interesting towards the end where he talks about S7 and Moon, but then it just finishes. Not bad, but not great.

Alone on the Wall, Alex Honnold - It's a reasonably interesting insight into the mind of the man, and I have to take my hat off to him for being so honest, because frankly my opinion of him is lower than it was before reading. The book paints him as an obsessed, arrogant, emotionally insensitive youth, who sees life solely through the prism of rock climbing, and seems incapable of enjoying anything else. Hopefully he'll mellow with age. The book is just about worth reading, but only if you're desperate.

Punk in the Gym, Andy Pollitt - sorry Andy, but I got half way through and I just couldn't finish. Interesting stories but the book needs very heavy editing (but, should it get that, it might not be very long?).


The book I'm really looking forward to reading over this summer is Tommy Caldwell's autobiography, which has been getting rave reviews. Also, judging by his recent article on UKC, Nick Bullock's new book might be a good read too, though I'm not sure when it's out.
Goucho on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> I'm currently making my way through:

> Eric Jones's autobiography

> Catherine Destivelle's Rock Queen and

> Peter & Leni Gillman's Eiger tour de force....

> All excellent in their way.

> What are you reading that's climbing related during holiday/down-time?

Just finished re-reading the Robin Smith biography, High Endeavours, and have just started re-reading Ken Wilson's Games Climbers Play.

I think I might also be revisiting Al Alverez's superb Feeding The Rat, afterwards.
Greenbanks - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Re. High Endeavours - I struggled with it. I think it was mainly because it presented a pretty uncompromising account of Smith's personality, which was (to me) not all that endearing. Of course, that's not to compromise his massive achievements...
Goucho on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
> Re. High Endeavours - I struggled with it. I think it was mainly because it presented a pretty uncompromising account of Smith's personality, which was (to me) not all that endearing. Of course, that's not to compromise his massive achievements...

It certainly doesn't have the fluidity and extra layering that someone like Perrin might have provided.

But in some respects, the rather terse and almost detached style of writing, is possibly a true reflection of the hard and uncompromising nature of the subject matter.

I found Haston's In High Places, similarly terse and detached - maybe it's a Scottish climber thing
Post edited at 10:46
Tony Jones - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I really enjoyed High Endeavours. It's of a time and place and the writing reflects this I think.
alasdair19 on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Games climbers play and mirrors in the cliffs are 2 classic anthologies not to be missed
keith-ratcliffe on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
Tommy Caldwell's The Push is a very good read. Games.... & Mirrors... are superb for dipping into, I must have read some of the stories at least 20 times. I really liked 'Punk in the Gym' for being so different.
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alasdair19 on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

The biography of john Cunningham creag due climber is an excellent book about the Scottish post war scene. Well worth seeking out.
veteye on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I'm slowly reading my way through a sort of potted history of mountain climbing which is "Summits of Adventure" by John Scott Douglas(1955) which was a Christmas present. It's a bit pedestrian, but I like this sort of old fashioned title.
I'm also reading bits of the SMC Cuillin guide by Mr Lates, in the hope that sometime I may get some time off to go away. (Likewise I'm looking at the edition 1 Garry Latter guides).

I often read the old coffee table guides, again and again, such as Classic Rock and Hard Rock, but have probably read the 100 Mont Blanc routes book the most(Rebuffat)
Pkrynicki1984 - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

The bond is up there with the best climbing books I have read.

Savage Arena
Space below my feet
In some lost place
Annapurna Herzog

No climbing I really liked Mr Nice , Grapes of wrath...Chicken hawk Robert Mason been a real gem.
paul mitchell - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to Pkrynicki1984:

Anything by or about Hermann Buhl and Walter Bonatti. Awesome dudes.
Greenbanks - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

...and on a related note, I left behind (with 2 chapters still to read) the Alex McIntyre bio on an Easyjet flight from Berlin...still not read the whole thing

But a really good book
woppo - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Into the silence by wade davies, early Everest expeds beginning with the Somme.
In reply to alasdair19:

Article about the Creagh Dhu coming up, with an insight from John Cullen who climbed with Cunningham and others. Just finished that book and it was very good!
steveriley - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

If you cast the net a bit wider to 'hills', I've just finished Steve Chilton's The Round - pretty good history of the Bob Graham, if not quite as immersive as Feet in the Clouds.
Greenbanks - on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Back from hols...
Got a prized George Abraham's 'British Mountain Climbs' (6th Edition, 1947) and Kretschmer's 'Lliwedd' from1939.

Another prized possession is John Sumner's Central Wales (West Col) from 1973.

Darron - on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

No way down is an excellent book about the K2 disaster in 2008. Pretty harrowing and a real page turner. At one point a climber finds the remains of another and picks up a "blue eyeball". As I say, harrowing.
Dai Horribly - on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

The Bonatti compilation 'Mountains of my Life' again - saw him speak at the mountaineering literature festival in Leeds in 1999 / 2000.

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