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General Climbing Discussion

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Help educate ... and enter another discussion
9:19:34 PM

... Or offer their own perception of climbings historical moments.

10:10:04 PM
Have a look a this:

"Killing Dragons" by Fergus Fleming.

Basically covers the exploration of the Alps, and marks various turning points where climbing mountains became a recreational pursuit, rather than a dangerous and disagreeable chore.

Kicks off early on with first conquest of Mont Blanc, and winds up with the climbing of the Eiger north face. Entertaining and informative, occasionally hilarious, and points out that it was mad Poms on summer holidays (Whymper et al) that pioneered the game, while pinching all the best first ascents. Enjoy! Buy it cheap on Amazon.

10:23:46 PM
well its by no means the 'whole history of climbing', hopefully others will be along to fill in some of the holes I've left in this list! But here's a few...ish that to get you started

Mountains of the Mind: A History of Fascination- Robert Macfarlane
Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains - Jon Krakauer
Hermann Buhl: Climbing Without Compromise - Reinhold Messner
Annapurna- Maurice Herzog
Storms of Silence- Joe Simpson
Conquistadors of the Useless- Lionel Terray
The Vertical World of Yosemite- Galen Rowell
The White Spider - Heinrich Harrer
Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills
Climbing Everest: A Meditation on Mountaineering and the Spirit of Adventure- Pat Ament
John Gill: Master of Rock- Ament
Royal Robbins: A Spirit of the Age- Ament
'Basic Rockcraft', and 'Advanced Rockcraft' - Royal Robbins
Climbing Free- Lynn Hill
Deep Play- Paul Pritchard
Addicted to Danger- Jim Wickwire
Absolutely anything by Greg Child

And a couple that are still on my 'to do' list but certainly look like the goods...

When Men and Mountains Meet: the Explorers of the Western Himalaya- John Keay
Ordeal by Piton: Writings from the Golden Age of Yosemite Climbing - Steve Roper
Sherman Exposed: Slightly Censored Climbing Stories- John Sherman
The Villain: A Portrait of Don Whillans- Jim Perrin
Rock Jocks, Wall Rats, and Hang Dogs: Rock Climbing on the Edge of Reality- John Long

Also would love to find something good about Charlie Porter, anyone?

10:24:29 PM
oh, the new Arapiles book!
7:15:01 AM
Killing Dragons might mention the ascent of Mont-Aiguille in 1492. Reputedly, the king of France ordered his soldiers to climb it to check for angels on top. They didn't find angels but, amazingly, there were chamois. The guys overcame the cruxes (exposed 4a I think) with some canny aiding (ladders). Thought it'd be fun to do the route next week if time permits (ladderless I mean).

6:40:18 PM
Ti, I've got Stone Crusade (amazing history of US Bouldering) and Rock Jocks, Hang Dogs and Wall Rats (lightweight but entertaining John Long book) if you want to borrow them. PM me.

11:15:36 PM
On 10/08/2008 prb wrote:
>They didn't find angels but, amazingly, there were chamois.

Which came in handy later for giving the ladders a polish before inspection ....

The good Dr
9:14:00 AM
On 10/08/2008 prb wrote:
>Killing Dragons might mention the ascent of Mont-Aiguille in 1492. Reputedly,
>the king of France ordered his soldiers to climb it to check for angels
>on top. They didn't find angels but, amazingly, there were chamois. The
>guys overcame the cruxes (exposed 4a I think) with some canny aiding (ladders).
>Thought it'd be fun to do the route next week if time permits (ladderless
>I mean).

I would highly recommend doing one of the routes on Mont Aiguille (beware of loose rocks particularly on the tourist route-route normale and keep an eye on the weather as people regularly get zapped by thunderstorms, also be aware that some of the routes are very run-out). The view from the top is awesome. At one stage they made an advertisement for some form of diary product up there including choppering in a large number of cows. Unfortunately a number of them strolled off the edge. When you go to the summit, try to stand at the edge and look over!! Lastly, head down to the local town in the valley , go to the patisserie and buy a mont aiguille - delicious.

The good Dr
9:56:58 AM
Also check out
8:12:16 PM
Thanks for your advice The good Dr. Falling cows is one hazard I wouldn't have expected.
9:38:28 PM
Ah, no matter what the subject is, there's a website for it.
11:13:11 PM
On 9/08/2008 ti wrote:
>... Or offer their own perception of climbings historical moments.

1986 - The year I started climbing.
11:26:35 PM
1993 - the year cliffhanger came out

12:02:49 AM
On 11/08/2008 ti wrote:
>I don't know what to say, so I'll just smile and nod politely.

Don't bother!


Actually to add my 2 cents - Rock jocks, wall rats and hang dogs by John Long, is a very entertaining read about some of the history behind Yosemite climbing and professional dirtbagging! Highly recommended!
mikl law
8:28:12 AM
I find mountaineering kliterature a bit pompous, so go for the best:-
A short walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

You can only have a proper adventure with no planning or skill. Once you have those things sorted it's all a bit spoilt.
9:51:17 AM
If you want to avoid pompous then try The Ascent of Rum Doodle

10:22:07 AM
On 12/08/2008 WM wrote:
>If you want to avoid pompous then try The Ascent of Rum Doodle

I think that W.E. Bowman's "The Ascent of Rum Doodle" is the more enjoyable for having first read a couple of the mainstream expedition accounts of the period (1950's).
Bowman's work benefits from this wider perspective.
4:24:52 PM
This Game of Ghosts, Joe Simpson. Little by way of education but its a rollicking good read.
4:33:41 PM
Mont Aiguille mini TR: no guidebook, heard it was a bit of a laugh, headed on up accompanied by the fog, 1 or 2 nuts and a few clips for gear, couldn't see where we were going, got off route, enjoyed a mini-epic amongst the choss, finally found the path to enlightenment after several hours (about 10 metres away the whole time), just as we topped out the fog cleared, rapped off with choucas all round. A fabulous outing.
10:53:52 AM

Just a shot of my latest secret crag in the Adelaide Hills...only kidding, here's another Mont-Aiguille
mini TR.

There was a break in the weather and we needed to head back to Provence so we left the Mattertal
early and got to the village below Mont-Aiguille about 2pm. Hadn't realized that, from there, it was a
1000m of up to the top of the Mont. No guidebook but I thought the normal route started near the col
on the NW side and we were at the start by 4.15. Polished holds and a giant ring-bolt thing suggested
we were on track. After a couple of pitches we spotted the cable so it was hard to get lost after that.

The top chimney was cruxy, perhaps several grade 12 moves, and we summited about 7pm. It was
quite a buzz for Richard (pictured) who now lives in France and only climbs when I'm over there. I think
we sometimes forget that what we do as climbers can seem pretty amazing to non-climbers.

We were down by 9 and back to the car by 11, facing a tortuous drive to Avignon. Is it known if the
normal route is more-or-less the 1492 route? I guess route descriptions weren't always recorded back
then, but the King's men must have gone up in the same general area.

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