Postcards from the Ledge: Collected Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child

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9780898867534: Postcards from the Ledge: Collected Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child



* Reflections and humorous pieces, plus insights into some of mountaineering's more controversial events

* Revealing portraits of other Himalayan climbers
Peeling back the layers to reveal the gritty truth about the elite climbing world is Greg Child's specialty. With clever wit, sharp observations, and insightful reflections, Child's writing covers the full spectrum of the mountaineering experience.
Entertaining even to those who have never been above sea level, Child's stories reveal climbing's other face. His description of the daily habits of mountaineers on expedition (who don't bathe for months) is both disgusting and horrifyingly funny. A post-climb fiasco in the offices of petty Pakistani bureaucrats proves that not all epics take place on high mountain faces. Falling of a rock climb in front of his mother is an exercise in humility.
Child takes up climbing controversy with the same keen insight. His investigation of Tomo Cesen's claimed first ascent of Lhotse's south wall is considered the definitive report on this controversial event. A hard look at the media frenzy around the death of Alison Hargreaves on K2 evolves into a brilliant, impassioned defense of a friend. He also speaks out on the money- and media-driven expeditions that now crowd Everest.
But Child never preaches. Whether contrasting his clumsy performance with Lynn Hill's elegant moves on a climb in the remote mountains of Kyrgyzstan or reflecting upon artifacts (from crucifixes to pink flamingos) that decorate the world's highest peaks, he writes it as he sees it, with a dose of wit. A true insider, Greg Child draws us deep into the world of climbing but never denies its dark side.

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About the Author:

Greg Child is a world-class rock climber, mountaineer, author, and filmmaker. He is a writer for Outside magazine and has authored several books. In 1987, Child was honored with the American Alpine Club's Literary Award for his prolific and insightful mountaineering literature. In 2011, Greg was president of the jury for mountaineering's coveted Piolet d'Or. award. he live in Castle Valley, Utah.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A solid collection of the authors mountain-climbing journalism, for which he is widely known. Australian climber/writer Child is a man without fear, as these pages reveal, and without much regard for the normal niceties. He writes at length, and with obvious pleasure, about getting sick in snowbanks and on mongrel Tibetan dogs, of various bodily functions at various altitudes. All for good reason, he suggests: Mountains turn mountaineers into Neanderthals. Table manners do not exist on expeditions. Talk is a patois of crude grunts, deranged utterances, and schoolboyish sexual innuendo. Readers with delicate sensibilities will want to shy away from this book, for Child is a faithful reporter of these climbing realities. In more somber and sober moments, however, he writes affectingly of the thrill of climbing the worlds great peaks. Along the way, he looks at several of his colleagues in the business of scaling mountains, and his profiles of todays leading alpinists are uniformly well wrought. Some of those climbers, he writes, are ethically and socially challenged; others are so overwhelmingly fixated on their chosen sport that they cannot function without pitons in hand. And many others, Child writes, are now dead, the victims of some misjudgment or another. He supplies his readers with helpful hints on how to avoid such miscalculations themselves. Usefully, for instance, he observes that ``sitting on cold ledges gives you hemorrhoids. It is not widely known, but many climbers have failed to reach summits due to this undignified condition'' (to avoid falling victim to it, he adds, you should bring along a foam sleeping pad). Veteran readers of Climbing magazine, from which most of these pieces are taken, will be glad to have Childs occasional journalism in book form. (25 b&w photos) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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