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A Life in the Vertical
A biography of Wolfgang Gullich

Format Book Category Non-Fiction
Title A Life in the Vertical  Pages 144 
Author Tilmann Hepp  RRP $60.00 AUD 
Publisher Boulder Ed  Reviews
Edition 1994 English Edition  Ave Rating **** (4.00 of 5)


User Comments

This big format hardcover book covers the all-too-short climbing life of the now legendary Wolfgang Gullich. Although rather crudely translated into English the text manages to give a pretty good insight into what made Wolfgang tick. If you are looking for a book about how to climb really, really hard then this isn't it - this is however, a book with some amazing and inspiring photos of a man going through the process of systematically smashing the standards of the time and re-defining 'hard'. We follow Wolfgang through his sickening free solo fall from Master's edge, the ground breaking ascents of Punks in the Gym, Wall Street, Action Directe and a free solo of A Separate Reality. A small section is dedicated to his trip to Australia in 1985 where he climbed "Punks in the Gym" - interestingly there is a photo of him climbing at Arapiles which has the mis-caption "Let's Have Feelings Too" (sic). This book is now pretty hard to find and I think now only available in some stores or via mail order from Germany. 
I find this to be the most inspirational book on climbing I've read.

Fortunately Tilmann Hepp has refused to indulge in canonising Wolfgang's achievements or even peronsality - his portayal of a very likeable but at times insecure man is endearing. The fact that he'd just managed to sort his life out prior to his death makes the whole thing all the sadder. The translation though is more than acceptable.

The previous reviewer claimed a "mis-caption" from his Arapiles stay. Not true ! "Lat's Have Feelings Too" is indeed the route he is pictured on - it's a grade 28 Carrigan route that traverses left and up from Common Knowledge on Tjuringa Wall. Carrigan is belaying in the background - obviously keen to see how Wolfy would go on his new route.

The 2 pictures of Wolfgang on and just above the crux of Punks add fuel to the "birdbath hold" fire. The hold was clearly worse then than it is now, although it appears that there is something just above the birdbath that is no longer used. We'll never know.

Moffat's words at the funeral are poignant, but spare a thought for Wolfgang's parents - his brother died in a climbing accident when he was 15. He had no other siblings.

If anyone wants a copy, then get in contact with me - they can borrow mine. 
I did not read the book, I am trying to BUY it. This is a remark on fatboy's posting. Writers often spend over a year writing a book for us to enjoy and barely make a dollar or two per copy sold. They need to be highly educated to have the minimum vocabulary required by editors to even bother looking at their work" They live poorly. Unlike performing artists who can make up for copied cd's when they perform live, writers can only live off of the sale of their books.So you see, most writers invest much more energy than they get bach from book sale. I am not trying to give a guilt trip, buy the book simply to be nice and considerate towards the author...not the editor 
Hey, the misses gave me a copy in english readily available from Chessler books, I think it was US$30 plus 10 for postage. You've got to read it and Lynn Hill's "Climbing Free", she doesn't mind telling it as she saw it! Try 

Further Reading:
Amazon - Details, etc.


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