The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing's Greatest Generation

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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  1. 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.

827 Reply to “The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing's Greatest Generation”

  1. 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 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 Boar [...]


  2. 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 l [...]


  3. This author is a douchebag Let s focus on his picture in the back of the book Wisping long hair with flashes of professorial gray just north of a shit eating grin A smart crew neck sweater and pair of jeans just so you know he s casual cool And to top it off he s sitting, almost seductively, on a pile of logs so we all know he s an outdoorsman Who chopped that wood Clint I would ve respected him if he had been winking It s clear to me he really wants to wink And his name is Clint Strike 8.I don [...]


  4. I ve been reading climbing books for many years now and found that they can be rather variable Books on Everest will tend to crop up quite often as Everest is perceived as the big challenged kind of ignoring the many mountains that are actually harder in many ways.While this is called the Boys of Everest and does focus to a substantial degree on the highest mountain it really is a book about a climbing generation Bonington s boys This is not a clearly defined group of people but those who tended [...]


  5. Mostly in the context of how you would want to read climbing books, and the other available literature.There is a lot of train of thought and imagery in this book Which is weird, as the author was not present, and doesn t have this info from the actual climbers He is a climber, luckily, so it isn t all made up The only problem is that his descriptions are hilariously bad, to the point of becoming comical I wish I had it on hand to make some comments It s a painful, painful read Read any other cl [...]


  6. I liked this book because it gave me detail on the technical aspects of climbing than most mountaineering tales do On the other hand, it was odd that the author put thoughts and actions into the heads of dead men, trying to imagine, I guess, what they were thinking and feeling when they died climbing Of course, we d all like to know, but it takes it a bit far to actually imagine those thoughts and write them into the story as if they re part of the non fiction, supposedly narrative Also, I have [...]


  7. This book took forever to read because it never develops the characters who are real people to the point where you can actually distinguish them apart from each other and care about them Essentially, the book details several climbs, in which someone feels spurned for not being invited, tension rises among the climbers while on the climb, and then at least one person dies It s challenging to grasp the passage of time between climbs and they all start blending into one The accounts are based on in [...]


  8. My dad gave me this book last year for christmas it was just as much for him as it was for me , he loved it and I hated it This follows a revolutionary group of climbers along many trips of some of their best climbs and what happens to them along the years If you are looking to read a climbing book that is not about everest or k2 this is a very good book The Eiger in Switzerland plays and important role as well as others, but I can t say that I really enjoyed the book, although others have.


  9. Interesting subject Very comprehensive and detailed on the efforts of these adventurers However, I was frustrated by the author s constant need to wax poetic on the thoughts of dying men The presumption and creepiness of these lengthy monologues was off putting as was the nasty swallowing sound the narrator kept making.



  10. Humm.Better to live vicariously through mountaineers than to be one where mountains are sacred where risk death are constant companions the Himalayas Bernadette McDonald, Tomaz Humar


  11. After Everest was conquered in 1953, it seemed like there was nothing left to accomplish in the climbing world However, a ever changing group of young British climbers pressed even greater limits by climbing difficult mountains and taking impossible routes on mountains already summitted on easier trails A few of the climbers lived to old age, but according to this book most of them died on an 8,000 meter peak somewhere on the other side of the world.I have read and enjoyed many other books abou [...]


  12. What a disappointment I jumped into this super long rundown of Chris Bonington and his boys, a group of British friends who revolutionized mountain climbing in their time, thinking it would be a comprehensive look at several mountains and climbers The text is fairly dense and slow unfortunately After introducing Chris, the author goes into great detail about pretty much every major climb anyone in the group attempted Bonington is originally famous for climbing the Eiger and that rundown was inte [...]


  13. I like climbing mountains, but prefer those where the climbing doesn t involve sheer cliffs and frigid temperatures The technical kind of mountain climbing intrigues me, but not enough to take it up Instead, I occasionally enjoy reading about others adventures.This book is subtitled Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing s Greatest Generation Most of the book focuses on Bonington and a group of British climbers, and their adventures on quite a few different mountains in Europe and Asia duri [...]


  14. I have never climbed a mountain and probably never will climb one But I am a runner and I can understand the desire to push yourself to your limits with challenges that at first glance might seem impossible Climbing Mt Everest seems absolutely insane to most people and I can see why This mountain kills so many who attempt it, it s a dangerous and life threatening activity But just as some would say why in the world would anyone want to do something as crazy as running a marathon some would also [...]


  15. This book was so good I spent a weekend literally fighting with a house guest over who got to read it I won My house, my book.The slightly distant narrative style worked very well It provided dispassionate discussion of some very emotive events, without losing sight of the fact that the men who survived were also in danger Clearly some of the narrative has to be poetic licence, but it didn t lose the impact for any of that.Well worth the read, whether you re familiar with Bonington if you re Bri [...]


  16. I ve been reading alot of climbing books lately and this was not one of the better ones The author went very wide and not too deep and must have some ESP knowing what a few of the climbers were thinking as they were dying You could make the book a drinking game for every time they stopped and had some tea They stopped for tea drink , they didn t have fuel to make tea drink , they melted snow for tea drink , tea, tea, tea I didn t realize it was so key in climbing.There are better books out there [...]


  17. This book tells the story of British climbers who took on increasingly challenging routes after Everest was climbed At times its funny and at times it tries to describe the joy and compulsion of climbing and hiking The book is written as if the author has complete knowledge of the inner thoughts of the characters, some of which seem meticoulously researched and some just made up All in all though, the depictions of the climbs pull you in and let you share in the excitement of it Good book.


  18. This book is chock full of British mountaineering history and adventure Willis most closely Chris Bonington s career, but also includes important climbs of some of his common partners In particular, he covers the deaths of many of these famous climbers He also sheds some light on many old climbing conflicts such as older vs younger generations, equipment differences and large expeditions vs alpine style Great book for anyone interested in the 8,000 meter peaks.


  19. This book seemed a bit different from other adventure tales I have read about mountaineering In some ways that was a nice change The author was able to describe thoughts and emotions in an engaging way that felt real, but when he put himself in the minds of some of the climbers in the last moments before they died as many do , then I was a little put off by his assuming to know their last thoughts Overall an interesting but rather different adventure read.


  20. I just love these mountaineering books, all about how crazy these folks are There s such a true believer part of them that they keep going back, regardless of the cost to themselves and their family This is one of the best, giving a summary of a group of british mountaineers who did a lot of crazy stuff, and definitely paid for it in the end.


  21. Good book my only objection were the fictionalized parts no one knows what happened to Tasker and Boardman, yet their deaths were depicted in the book Also, he reflects on their internal thoughts as they headed off to never be seen again I think the book would ve been much better had it not crossed the line from fact to fiction.


  22. You know, I can t really tell you what the tragedy was that the book s title refers to The book was kind of boring and there were so many characters coming and going that I couldn t keep them straight I m guessing there was a good story in there, but it was not delivered well enough Maybe on paper it is a little better.


  23. A substantial project, eloquently written by Clint Willis, of a defining era of British mountaineering His writing is raw, honest and delicate while highlighting the climbers lives, relationships and climbs Deeply moving If you want to glimpse how challenging it is to understand why people climb mountains, this is the book Brilliant writing.


  24. A disappointing read I was bored by all the family stuff which threatened to overwhelm the narrative When I did get to the climbing it was too much of a step by step guide to footholds and grips and not enough about the emotions, fear and elation and despair.


  25. I always enjoy reading true stories about mountain climbing I ll never do it, but I totally respect those who have the drive and stamina and willingness to take life threatening risks to go out and make the effort to climb to the top.


  26. Hard to read A meandering weird book There s no new ground covered No new information You can learn from the books of Bonington,Boardman and Tasker,as well as those by Tasker s widow Maria Coffey Avoid this book.


  27. had to put this one down every chapter is the same story some epic climb, some unfortunate death set up basecamp, climb a few pitches, think about mortality yawn the stories are indeed epic, but the melodramatic descriptions of every single thing that happens are over the top.


  28. Fascinating look at the rock and roll Brits of high altitude climbing, who knocked off incredibly hard routes in the Himalayas in the 1970s and 1980s You have to be a masochist to thrive on the stuff they did and many of them paid with their lives.



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