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The Ascent of Rum Doodle
A classic that every climber should read.
||The Ascent of Rum Doodle
||W. E. Bowman
|| (5.00 of 5)
|The Ascent of Rum Doodle is, quite simply, brilliant.
It is narrated by Binder, the hapless leader of an expedition
commissioned to climb Rum
Doodle, which, at 39,000.5 feet, is the world''''''''s highest mountain. As all
readers of the book will
know (and here I permit myself to quote the great Totter), "To climb
Mont Blanc by the Grepon
Route is one thing, to climb Rum Doodle quite another." Some of
Binder''s companions include
a mountaineer who struggles to emerge from his sleeping bag, a doctor
who is constantly
sick, a linguist who continually offends the natives, a cameraman who
can''t take a photo, and
a pathfinder who is continually lost.
The book starts with a pre-expedition meeting in England, where we are
introduced to the major characters.
Bowman then moves swiftly on to the journey to Yogistan (home to Rum
Doodle), which occupies several
enjoyable chapters. The remainder of the book contains an account of
the expeditions exploits, which are, in a
The book operates on at least two levels. There is the superficial
humour inherent in many of
the situations in which the expedition finds itself, and then the deeper,
subtler humour found in
Bowman''''s parody of mountaineering literature (having read some
would be an advantage): for instance, the descriptions of the geography
of the Rum Doodle Massif and
the mountain itself: "The Rum Doodle Massif is the shape of a reversed
W", "North Doodle
lies West of the true summit", and ''The North Wall is a sheer face of
rock, broken only by
cracks, seracs, bergschrunds, moraines, iron maidens,...'''' [etc]
I challenge anyone to read this without having (at the very least) several
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