These mountaineering books put peak adventures to pages
Ryan Summerlin October 26, 2012
“The Roskelley Collection” (The Mountaineers Books, 2012), by climber John Roskelley, is a compilation of works that includes two full-length books – “Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition” (1987) and “Last Days” (1991) – plus a collection of 16 essays and stories, 13 of which were published in 1993. Suspense, tragedy and humor characterize the nearly 700-page tome, which recounts numerous mountaineering adventures Roskelley undertook, starting in the 1970s, in and atop peaks around the world. The author describes climbing experiences, as well as the personalities and team interactions that occur on long mountaineering expeditions, injecting his humorous personality and experienced insights throughout. It’s a good read for anyone interested in hiking, mountaineering, mountain climbing, summiting or mountain life in general. The two full-length books and series of essays and stories make for a comprehensive and enjoyable read.
“Sleeping on the Summits” (Big Earth Publishing, 2012) is a beautiful coffee-table book about Colorado’s 14ers – those peaks that meet or exceed 14,000 feet in elevation – but with a twist. Not only did the author, mountain geographer Jon Kedrowski, scale the 58 highest peaks in Colorado, he did so during the sketchy afternoon thunderstorm time of day in order to sleep atop them and make a photographic record of the journey. Kedrowski undertook the project in the summer of 2011, accompanied by meteorologist Chris Tomer, in some cases in person and others via phone. The striking photography in the full-color book is attended by descriptions of how they pinpointed weather windows, tracked and dodged storms, identified escape routes and experienced 58 stunning sunsets and sunrises while perched at over 14,000 feet. QR codes make it possible to extend the experience by linking to Kedrowski’s video links for each summit.
Whether you aim to climb the seven continents’ highest peaks or live vicariously through the stories of those who do, “Climbing the Seven Summits,” by professional mountain guide Mike Hamill (The Mountaineers Books, 2012), is a comprehensive guide to conquering the highest peak on each of the world’s continents: Mount Everest (Asia), Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Denali (North America), Aconcagua (South America), Vinson Massif (Antarctica), Mount Elbrus (Europe), Mount Kosciuszko (Australia) and Carstensz Pyramid (Australasia). In fact, eight peaks are included in the book because there is some debate as to which of the last two constitutes the seventh. Not only is “Climbing the Seven Summits” a practical and serious planning and expedition guidebook, it’s also a fun book to page through. Features include pictures, maps and routes, climbing history, preparation and planning, itineraries, stories, tips and historical routes.