As someone who has never will never and wants never to climb even a hill without a path and ice cream shop every mile I remain somewhat perplexed by those who feel they must endure freezing cold
As someone who has never, will never, and wants never, to climb even a hill without a path and ice cream shop every mile, I remain somewhat perplexed by those who feel they must endure freezing cold, ridiculous food, tea all the time (if you’re British), and the constant risk of death. But these psychotics are great fun to read about. I’ve read several mountaineering accounts, and not just for the feats of climbing, but the internal and external personality conflicts, as well.One wonders in books like this just how much of the internal thinking reported can be relied upon. One Amazon reviewer who claims to be a moderately successful climber himself (I certainly can be no judge) echoes my concern. “...shows to be invented material on thoughts and motivations of the people about whom he writes. I am suspicious of this practice and it may well be that it says more about our Clint than it does about our Chris.” *In the aftermath of Tony’s death, one of women at the base camp notes she had begun to “fear people who didn’t know any easier way to be happy.” That certainly sums up one attitude toward these overgrown children. Willis doesn’t call them “boys” lightly. Climbing techniques were changing and Chris Bonington, a constant in Willis’ book and known as a more than competent climber and organizer, soon realized that the techniques of mountaineering had changed. The practice of large groups with multiple base camps, lots of supplies, many sherpas, fixed ropes to ease passage between base camps, was losing favor to smaller, lighter attacks on summits, more in the tradition of Alpine climbers.The larger question is whether the author gets it “right” when he discusses motivations and the ethos of climbing. I suspect he does, but have no way of knowing. Nevertheless, this book is intriguing and riveting, a real page-turner.Audiobook ably read by James Adams*Ref: http://www.amazon.com/review/R293TC13...A viral The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing's Greatest Generation Author Clint Willis is Books The Boys of Everest tells the story of a band of climbers who reinvented mountaineering during the three decades after Everest s first ascent It is a story of tremendous courage, astonishing achievement and heart breaking loss Their leader was the boyish, fanatically driven Chris Bonington His inner circle which came to be know as Bonington s Boys included a dozen wThe Boys of Everest tells the story of a band of climbers who reinvented mountaineering during the three decades after Everest s first ascent It is a story of tremendous courage, astonishing achievement and heart breaking loss Their leader was the boyish, fanatically driven Chris Bonington His inner circle which came to be know as Bonington s Boys included a dozen who became climbing s greatest generation Bonington s Boys gave birth to a new brand of climbing They took increasingly terrible risks on now legendary expeditions to the world s most fearsome peaks And they paid an enormous price for their achievements Most of Bonington s Boys died in the mountains, leaving behind the hardest question of all Was it worth it The Boys of Everest, based on interviews with surviving climbers and other individuals, as well as five decades of journals, expedition accounts, and letters, provides the closest thing to an answer that we ll ever have It offers riveting descriptions of what Bonington s Boys found in the mountains, as well as an understanding of what they lost there.. Clint Willis Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the
The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing's Greatest Generation book, this is one of the most wanted Clint Willis author readers around the world.
. The best Books The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing's Greatest Generation I recently returned from mountaineering school in the Cascades. I went in the hope of familiarizing myself with the techniques and skills to be a competent follower of a guided trip up some larger mountains, such as Rainier, Aconagua, or Denali. The mountains inspired me to know the history of mountaineering. Amazon recommended "The Boys of Everest." I'd heard of Mallory and Hilary, of course, but never of Chris Bonington and his "boys" (including Hamish McInnes, Don Whillans, Ian Clough, Joe Tasker, Peter Boardman, Doug Scott, etc.) Apparently, according to Clint Willis, they revolutionized climbing. I don't know how, because the book doesn't give a great deal of context. What it does, mainly, is give a step by step account of seemingly every climb these guys did, from the Bonatti Pillar and the Eiger's North Face to K2 and Everest. Willis gives the briefest of biographical sketches (and even briefer skethces of the women left behind), then jumps into the expeditions and the minutiae of some of the world's most famous climbs. At first, the detail is thrilling. You are there, turn by turn and step by step as the climbers cross glaciers, lay anchors, and tap in pitons. You get a sense of the sheer output of energy needed to get to the top. After 500 pages, though, it just gets repetitive. One excruciatingly difficult climb blurs into another. Throughout the climb, Willis intersperses the thoughts of his characters at certain points along the trek. The detail of the thoughts is almost novelistic, and you think, geez, these guys either left behind great memoirs, letters and diaries, or Willis scored some sweet interviews. Then, however, Willis starts relating the thoughts of dead men: what one climber felt as he fell off a cliff; what another sensed as he was buried by an avalanche. No one could know what these men felt in their last moments. They died alone and left no remembrances or witnesses. It is clear that Willis is either inferring from some other source, or making stuff up; however, he never goes to the trouble of telling the reader: "hey, I'm speculating." This is questionably ethical and calls everything else into question. The most glaring example of this is a reconstruction of Joe Tasker's and Peter Boardman's deaths near the Three Pinnacles of Everest's Northeast Ridge. Willis recounts the episode factually, as though he'd interviewed God and God told him the entire sad tale. Willis writes that Tasker gave up, Boardman tried to help him, then gave up too. The fact is, no one knows what happened to these two men. Tasker's body was never found. When I go to the mountains, everything else slips away. You are reduced to the primitive, fundamental aspects of life. You expend a great deal of energy melting snow for water; cooking food; staying dry; staying warm; keeping hydrated and covered. From dawn till dusk, you are moving with purpose, because there are always things to be done, and everything takes longer at altitude. You don't think of your life back home: the lost loves, your finances, your job, politics, sports. These things are pushed away. Indeed, you can't think of these things, because if you lose focus for even a moment, you can kick a bad step and find yourself sliding down a glacier. This is why I go to the mountains. Hilary put it best: "It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves." Willis spends a lot of time trying to explain why his characters went to the mountains over and over, leaving behind their wives and girlfriends, often leaving their friends on the mountains. It's an honorable attempt, but his rationales are too ephemeral and abstract and fall short of Hilary's assessment. Indeed, an epigram at the start of the book concisely states what Willis takes 500 pages to do: "Men who go to mountains are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion." The book could've used a lot more explanations of climbing tools and techniques. To fully enjoy it, you either need to do further reading or have a secondary source at hand. Willis never really explains what he means by pitons, prusik knots, running belays, and the like. I knew most of what he was talking about from my own limited experience, but I definitely could've used a little expansion on the foundations of my knowledge. This story is a litany of dubious triumph and real tragedy. If you've never been to a mountain top, or had that desire, you won't understand what made these men go, even as they die one by one in the pursuit. Reading this book won't solve that riddle. However, if you can understand what drives these men, before you even crack the cover, then you will be treated to a strong retelling of some famous climbs (excepting, of course, Willis's recounting of their deaths, which can only be based on assumption and speculation).
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