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Ascent By Sir Chris Bonnington

Release date: 01st November, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: Ł18.99
Our Price: Ł13.77
You Save: Ł5.22 (27%)
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It comes as no surprise to learn that three years ago, at the age of 80, Sir Chris Bonnington conquered The Old Man of Hoy, a 449-foot sandstone sea stack off the island of Hoy in the Orkneys. He first climbed the stack with two others in 1966 and would do so again the following year for a live, 3-night BBC broadcast which attracted more than 15 million viewers.

The size of that audience says much about non-climbers’ admiration for those hardy souls who tackle the world’s most terrifying peaks and for Sir Chris Bonnington in particular. Britain’s greatest climber has done it all: he was part of the first British team to successfully conquer the north face of the Eiger; he led the inaugural ascent of the south face of Annapurna and the team that topped Everest by the south west face. He first reached the summit of Everest more than thirty years ago.

Inevitably, however, both loss and tragedy are integral parts of high-risk mountaineering. Indeed, it could be argued that the sport’s inherent danger is part of its attraction and Bonnington acknowledges this, recognising too that he has been lucky to survive, often when good friends have lost their lives, a situation which has often resulted in him having first to resolve a powerful mental conundrum before preparing for his next mountain challenge. The effect this has had upon family life has not always been positive.

None the less, descriptions of his most daring ascents make for a gripping narrative, but at its heart Ascent reveals how Sir Chris overcame fear and trepidation en route to learning how to survive in the most extreme conditions. The book’s parallel story is equally personal, also tinged with sadness and tragedy, as well as great joy.

Perhaps mountaineering is a metaphor for life; Ascent may lead you to conclude something broadly similar – it will certainly deepen your admiration for Sir Chris Bonnington.


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