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Kurt Diemberger Omnibus, The
Includes Summits and Secrets: The Endless Knot: Spirits of the Air

Format Book Category Narratives
Title Kurt Diemberger Omnibus, The  Pages 858 
Author Kurt Diemberger  RRP  
Publisher Mountaineers Books  Reviews
Edition (March 1999)  Ave Rating *** (2.50 of 5)


User Comments
The Kurt Diemberger Omnibus (1999)
Kurt Diemberger

The Essential Gist: Romantically-inclined Austrian with interesting climbing life of exceptional longevity, but frustratingly overblown prose style. His three famous books appear here under one cover.

60-second summary: This recent re-issue of mountaineer and documentary-filmmaker Diembergerís triumvirate of autobiographical musings (Summits & Secrets (1970), The Endless Knot (1989), Spirits of the Air (1991)) makes for an awful lot of heavy Teutonic introspection. The thing is, Diemberger has had the most extraordinary mountaineering life, both in terms of its range of experiences, and its longevity. He has been involved in countless epoch-making mountaineering moments (e.g. First ascents of Broad Peak, Dhaulagiri, epics on numerous mountains around the world including the Alps, Asia, Greenland, China, USA...). And he is a survivor, both jumping clear of the cornice collapse which took the life of his great idol Herman Buhl and battling his way down from a storm on K2ís Death Zone which killed 13 including his beloved friend and filming partner Julie Tullis. So there is certainly an awful lot to say. Furthermore, it is compelling stuff: there are sad moments, intensity and passion, thrills, spills, death, tragedy, gore etc. Unfortunately Kurt does have a tendency to go on. And on, and on....
Diemberger prefers the use of five sentences to describe an emotion when one will do, which can tax the patience of the reader. Imagine W.H. Murray writing under the influence of amphetamines and you probably get the idea - Kurt can get a bit carried away with cod-metaphysics. However, the way round this is probably to dip into Planet Diemberger on short but regular visits. Itís a long journey, but probably worth it.

Characteristic excerpt: ĎAll blue. Extraordinary traceries, their curving lines making a graceful sweep. I stand, looking up. The vertical has become a meaningless word...The great roof of ice goes winging over my head like some huge dome, jutting out fully twenty feet, then rolling gently into the depths, drawn downwards by its on weight.... (several more descriptive sentences in similar vein)...All the dayís targets are forgotten. I am the first to penetrate this shrine.í

Like this? Try these: Mountaineering in Scotland/Undiscovered Scotland, WH Murray.

Further Reading:
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