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In 1937, Mount Lucania was the highest unclimbed peak in North America. Located deep within the Saint Elias mountain range, which straddles the border of Alaska and the Yukon, and surrounded by glacial peaks, Lucania was all but inaccessible. The leader of one failed expedition deemed it "impregnable." But in that year, a pair of daring young climbers would attempt a first ascent, not knowing that their quest would turn into a perilous struggle for survival. Escape from Lucania is their remarkable story.

Classmates and fellow members of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, Brad Washburn and Bob Bates were two talented young men -- handsome, intelligent, and filled with a zest for exploring. Both were ambitious climbers, part of a small group whose first ascents in the great mountain ranges during the 1930s and 1940s changed the face of American mountaineering. Setting their sights on summitting Lucania in the summer of 1937, Washburn and Bates put together a team of four climbers for the expedition. But when Bates and Washburn flew to the Walsh Glacier at the foot of Lucania, they discovered that freakish weather conditions had turned the ice to slush. Their pilot was barely able to take off again alone, and there was no question of returning with the other two climbers or more supplies. Washburn and Bates found themselves marooned on the glacier, more than a hundred miles from help, in forbidding and desolate territory. Eschewing a trek out to the nearest mining town -- eighty miles away by air -- they decided to press ahead with their expedition.

Escape from Lucania recounts Washburn and Bates's determined drive toward Lucania's 17,150-foot summit under constant threat of avalanches, blinding snowstorms, and hidden crevasses. Against awesome odds they became the first to set foot on Lucania's peak, not realizing that their greatest challenge still lay beyond. Nearly a month after being stranded on the glacier and with their supplies running dangerously low, they would have to navigate their way out through uncharted Yukon territory, racing against time as the summer warmth caused rivers to swell and flood to unfordable depths. But even as their situation grew more and more desperate, they refused to give up.

Escape from Lucania tells this amazing story in thrilling and vivid detail, from the climbers' exultation at reaching the summit to their darkest moments confronting seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It is a tale of awesome adventure and harrowing danger. But above all it is the story of two men of extraordinary spirit, inspiring comradeship, and great courage.

Today Washburn and Bates, now in their nineties, are legends in climbing circles. Bates co-led 1938 and 1953 expeditions to K2, the world's second-highest mountain. Washburn, whose record of Alaskan first ascents is unmatched, became founding director of Boston's Museum of Science and is one of the premier mountain photographers in the world. Some of his remarkable images from the 1937 Lucania expedition are included in this book.
Charles Ernest Fay (1846?1931), the ?Mr. American Mountaineering? of his day, was chairman of the meeting that led to the foundation of the Appalachian Mountain Club in 1876. Thereafter he served several terms as that club?s president and was the editor of its Journal, APPALACHIA, for 40 years. In 1902 he was elected as the first president of The American Alpine Club, and reelected for a second three-year term. In 1917, he was elected president once more, thus becoming not only the Club?s first president but also its longest serving. During all this period he was Professor of Modern Languages at Tufts College in Medford, Massachusetts, where he shared offices with the junior editor ? albeit with a hiatus of 18 years between their respective occupancies.

Allen Herbert Bent (1867?1926), a native of Boston, Massachusetts, started his life of scholarly research into alpinism by dropping our of college ? anything but a promising beginning. Soon, however, he began the serious study of the history of mountaineering, ultimately writing extensively on this topic. He became the first person elected to The American Alpine Club, during its days of ?exclusivity,? under the ?or the equivalent? clause of membership prerequisites, for he was never a serious alpinist ? always contenting himself with the study of its literature.

Howard Palmer (1883?1944), a lawyer by training, inherited the management of his family?s mattress manufacturing business in New London, Connecticut. Starting in 1907, he compiled an enviable record of first ascents in the mountains of western Canada and in 1914 published the North American classic, MOUNTAINEERING AND EXPLORATION IN THE SELKIRKS. He served as editor of the Club?s first guidebook and several editions of its JOURNAL. He also furthered the organization as its secretary, a director and as its president.

James Monroe Thorington (1894?1989), of Philadelphia, was an ophthalmologist by profession, following in the footsteps of his father. After the end of World War I, Roy, as he was known to his intimates, spent most of his vacation time in the mountains of western Canada and served as editor of the Club?s guidebooks to that region for several editions. A diligent student of alpine literature, he compiled a number of scholarly researches into the history of American alpinism, served many years as a director of the Club, one term as its president, then for 10 years as editor of the AMERICAN ALPINE JOURNAL, and gave the Club some of the most valuable items in its museum. In 2000, the UIAA gave its first award for research into the history of alpinism under the name of James Monroe Thorington.

After graduating from Harvard in 1942, Andrew John Kauffman (b. 1921) the son of two distinguished American literary figures, spent his entire working career in various diplomatic capacities. Between State Department assignments in Washington, Paris, Managua and Calcutta, he spent weekends and holidays in the Alps and the mountains of Peru, Colombia, Alaska, Canada, and finally in the Karakoram, where he demonstrated a high level of acromania by becoming one of the only two Americans to make the first ascent of an 8000 meter peak. He also served the Club as a counselor and as vice-president and was elected to Honorary Membership.

William Lowell Putnam (b. 1924) has been an official of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, the Appalachian Mountain Club, then The American Alpine Club and finally the International Association of Alpine Societies (UIAA), and has been honored by several other mountaineering societies. His major employment was in television broadcasting, but his heart remains in the mountains of western Canada. At this writing he is the sole trustee of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. While many have wished for the opportunity, people have not yet read his obituary.

* Reflections and humorous pieces, plus insights into some of mountaineering's more controversial events
* Revealing portraits of other Himalayan climbers

Peeling back the layers to reveal the gritty truth about the elite climbing world is Greg Child's specialty. With clever wit, sharp observations, and insightful reflections, Child's writing covers the full spectrum of the mountaineering experience.

Entertaining even to those who have never been above sea level, Child's stories reveal climbing's other face. His description of the daily habits of mountaineers on expedition (who don't bathe for months) is both disgusting and horrifyingly funny. A post-climb fiasco in the offices of petty Pakistani bureaucrats proves that not all epics take place on high mountain faces. Falling of a rock climb in front of his mother is an exercise in humility.

Child takes up climbing controversy with the same keen insight. His investigation of Tomo Cesen's claimed first ascent of Lhotse's south wall is considered the definitive report on this controversial event. A hard look at the media frenzy around the death of Alison Hargreaves on K2 evolves into a brilliant, impassioned defense of a friend. He also speaks out on the money- and media-driven expeditions that now crowd Everest.

But Child never preaches. Whether contrasting his clumsy performance with Lynn Hill's elegant moves on a climb in the remote mountains of Kyrgyzstan or reflecting upon artifacts (from crucifixes to pink flamingos) that decorate the world's highest peaks, he writes it as he sees it, with a dose of wit. A true insider, Greg Child draws us deep into the world of climbing but never denies its dark side.
2019 Banff Mountain Book Competition Category Finalist in Mountain Literature On May 20, 1986, high on Mount Everest, Sharon Wood was ready to give up. Snow plumes swirled off the summit ridge and spilled down the North Face, engulfing her. A four-hundred-foot high rock wall, the crux of the Hornbein Couloir, loomed above—impossible. Then Wood’s partner, Dwayne Congdon, handed her the end of the rope and said, “your lead.” Hours later, at the far too late hour of 9:00 p.m., Wood became the first North American woman to reach the summit, and the first woman in the world to do so via the difficult West Ridge. Their ascent of the West Ridge by a new variation, without Sherpa assistance, is an accomplishment that has never been repeated.

In Rising, Wood reflects on the seventy days she spent on the mountain and on the pivotal experiences and influences that brought her to that staggeringly beautiful and austere corner of the world. Beyond the physical hardships, she faced personal challenges as an outlier in the male bastion of Himalayan climbing. These were compounded by the vexing presence of her past mentor and lover with his new girlfriend on the American team climbing on the same side of the mountain. It didn’t help that the media pitched the two women as rivals, both vying to become the first North American woman to reach the summit of the highest mountain in the world. Wood rose to all these challenges, finding camaraderie and inspiration among her teammates, particularly in the expedition cook, a strong woman whose perspectives were essential to the team’s remarkable esprit de corps, as well as with “the other woman,” her so-called American rival.

Rising is both a gripping, adrenalin-filled mountain story and a reflective memoir that reaches beyond the summit to explore a life lived in Everest’s long shadow: unexpected acclaim, outrageous expectations, and personal struggles. As Wood tells her story today, her perspective is steeped in six decades of life experience rich with adventure, change, growth, and humility. It is a tale that feels poignantly relevant—a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome all obstacles, whether mountain peaks, social expectations, or self-imposed barriers.
No Place to Fall is Victor Saunder's follow up to his Boardman Tasker Prize winning debut book Elusive Summits. Covering three expeditions to familiar and unfamiliar ranges in Nepal, the Karakoram and the Kumaon, each shares the exhilaration of attempting new alpine-style routes on terrifyingly committing mountains. In 1989 Victor Saunders and Steve Sustad completed a difficult route on the West Face of Makalu II, only to be brought to a storm-bound halt above 7000 metres while descending. Without food or bivouac gear, they endured a tortuous descent after a night in the open. Two years later the pair were with a small team in the Hunza valley exploring elusive access to a giant hidden pillar on the unvisited South-East Face of Ultar, one of the highest and most shapely of the world's unclimbed peaks. Climbing at night to avoid being caught out by the torture of sun on ice, they were a few pitches from the summit ridge on soft snow and rotten ice before equipment failure committed them to a dire descent. In 1992 Victor Saunders was part of a joint Indian-British team climbing various peaks in the Panch Chuli range and exploring its approaches from the west. A happy and successful expedition narrowly avoided ending in tragedy when Stephen Venables broke both legs in a fall on the descent from Panch Chuli V and Chris Bonington survived another fall going to his aid. The dramatic evacuation of Venables, in which the author took a major part, forms an exciting climax to a book which describes at first hand what it is like on the cutting edge of contemporary alpine-style climbing in the world's highest mountains. As well as exciting climbing action, No Place to Fall offers enviable mountain exploration, enriched by sharing the lives of the mountain peoples along the way. Victor Saunders also casts a perceptive, if bemused, eye over his fellow climbers and reflects on the calculation of risk that drives them back year after year to chance their lives in high places.
“Take the woman whose usual occupation is a sedentary one,” proclaimed Mary Crawford in 1909, “whose daily life is one of routine and who is constantly giving out to others her nervous energy. Put her on the train and send her to the mountains. She is going to know herself as never before—physically, mentally, emotionally. . . .”

Women have known the challenges and triumphs of mountaineering for nearly two centuries, and for nearly as long they have been writing about their accomplishments, creating a fascinating, often thrilling literature of adventure and daring. As with other aspects of women’s history, however, the literature of mountaineering women has been scattered and largely forgotten. Their stories—sometimes published under the name of a male relative, sometimes under anonymous bylines such as “a Lady”—are here recovered and collected for the first time.

The women who speak to us in this book climbed on the world’s highest peaks and most difficult rock faces, from the English Lake District to the Alps to the Andes and Himalaya. Some were politically motivated, like the American Annie Smith Peck, who considered her spectacular ascents a strategy for advancing the liberation of her sex. Others were staunchly conservative about all matters save their personal right to climb mountains, a right that could rarely be taken for granted and sometimes proved as difficult to win as the summit itself.

These stories are as much about people as about mountains. They tell of conflict and cooperation, of women struggling not only to reach a summit but also to negotiate their freedom in a society that preferred they simply stay at home. The editor’s introduction provides an overview of the two hundred-year history of women’s climbing and places it in the context of that struggle.

Mountaineering Women shows how highly skilled, courageous, and determined women have revised and transformed a traditionally masculine activity, while at the same time transforming themselves—each arriving, as Mary Crawford put it, “at last upon the summit to gaze out upon a new world. Surely not the same old earth she has seen all her life? Yes—but looked at from on top—a point of view which now makes upon her mind its indelible impression.”
In 1938 Anderl Heckmair made the first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, a monumental climb that cemented his place in history. In My Life he tells the story of how he turned from a fragile child wrapped, 'quite literally, in cotton bindings,' into one of the most important mountaineers in the world. Leaving school in 1920, Heckmair dedicated himself to climbing, becoming a full-time 'mountain vagabond'. Penniless, he lived in Alpine huts and cycled from climb to climb, even riding from Germany to the High Atlas mountains of Morocco. He rapidly developed as a mountaineer, making an ascent of the Walker Spur in awful weather, and a solo ascent of the Matterhorn in walking shoes, a feat that nobody believed. But his crowning achievement, climbed in full media glare, would always be his Eiger ascent. Events did not always run smoothly - arrested after a quarrel with a farmer, he escaped through a window ('never imprison mountain climbers in towers'). When arrested again, his ice axes mistaken for deadly weapons while he slept on a park bench, Heckmair chose to stay put, preferring the cell bunk to his bench. At times, the book ventures into darker territory. As one of the great German climbers of the 1930s, Heckmair inevitably attracted the attention of the Nazi party, he found his Eiger triumph twisted to suit their ends, and he himself seated next to Hitler at a party. But at its heart My Life is a celebration of adventure. Told in joyful, engaging and relaxed style, it is as full of life and passion for the mountains as Anderl Heckmair himself.
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