Outdoors

Alpine Climbers Get Book Of Their Own

A new book has artfully documented modern successes in the classic form of mountaineering.

“Himalaya Alpine-Style,” by Stephen Venables and Andy Fanshawe (Mountaineers Books, $45) zeroes in on 16 of the world’s finest and most difficult climbs. John Roskelley of Spokane is featured among the book’s international stable of accomplished mountaineers.

This stunning and colorful large-formate book documents the mettle of climbers who have tackled the world’s highest mountains without massive support teams and yak-loads of oxygen bottles.

Written by two accomplished British climbers, the book won the grand prize at the 1996 Banff International Mountain Book Festival.

Alpine-style means going with what you can carry on your back. It is the simplest, yet the most difficult form of climbing. It calls for doing more with less, traveling light and fast, giving the mountain a sporting chance to snub your attempt.

Alpine-style climbing is considered the purest form.

Success-oriented climbers have long abandoned this style. If getting to a summit is the goal at all costs, you hire Sherpas to haul your gear and put in your route. Alpinists do it on their own.

This book concentrates on climbers who have made alpine-style their obsession.

This is a climber’s book, concentrating on the bald geology of mountains and the lines climbers use to scratch their way up them. Among the featured climbs is Roskelley’s first ascent of Uli Biaho Tower. This breathtaking climb in 1979 involved 1,100 meters of continuously steep ice and rock to reach the 6,109-meter summit of the barren rock towers.

The accounts in this book help explain why Roskelley, America’s premier mountaineer in his active climbing days, never reached the summit of Mount Everest.

Climbing the world’s highest peak is considered the ultimate achievement only by people with a casual and popularized view of mountaineering.

Roskelley, like the other climbers featured in this book, always considered style more important than popular acclaim.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo of book jacket



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